Monday, January 5, 2015

Beekeepers’ Resolutions For 2015 217-427-2678

Happy New Years from all of us at Long Lane Honey Bee Farms. It is 2015 and in just 3-4 months the bee season will be in full swing.  The Bible says, “You will still be eating last year’s harvest when you will have to move it out to make room for the new.” (Leviticus 26:10)  I hope this is true for you and we hope that all of our bees will still be alive in the spring and we’ll have to make room for more hives!

We had so much fun being with family and eating everyone’s best food and desserts. Some of you have followed this blog/lesson for several years before you finally dove into beekeeping. Some of you enjoy following this blog because over the years you have gotten to know us through this blog and you enjoy hearing how we are doing. Others read the blog only for vital beekeeping information only.  Whatever the reason, thanks or joining us today.

This is the time of year that we “re-tool” everything for the upcoming year. The weather is cold, snowy and we don’t like to work outside unless we have to. Those of you who live in the north know what cabin fever is all about. Once the holidays are over it’s a long haul until spring. We work hard all winter to be ready for spring.  In the winter our land is either frozen or muddy and messy. Since we are in the country, we have to sweep the snow off our satellite receivers to keep our internet working.

Route663 We spend a lot of time on the phone working with new beekeepers placing orders and helping them figure out what they need. My wife, Sheri, is so good on the phone.  She is personable, extremely knowledgeable about beekeeping, and is so good about keeping track of orders and the special needs of our customers. She’s manning the phones today until 4:00 p.m. central time if you need something.

Sometimes when all lines are busy I answer the phones to help out, but Sheri is your girl to talk to. If you cannot get through, just know that we are answer all lines and cannot get to your call. Just call back if you can’t get through. We want to talk with you. 217-427-2678


IMG_1161 When we are not working, we fall back and enjoy our hobbies. Sheri has taken up playing the violin so maybe I can talk her into playing something at the next beekeeping class.  I seem to have only summer hobbies, like riding my Harley. In the winter, I usually stay busy fixing up our 1876 farm house. There’s always another window to replace, or something that needs fixed or repaired. I have three drywall spots to keep mudding and sanding from some changes we made. I usually do all the work myself unless I get too busy.

The Bible says, “You will still be eating last year’s harvest when you will have to move it out to make room for the new.” (Leviticus 26:10)  I hope this is true for you and we hope that all of our bees will still be alive in the spring and we’ll have to make room for more hives!

71013 From iPhone 065Over the last month, there has been a surge in beekeeping interest. We’ve sold an unbelievable amount of  FREEDOM KITS (2 Hives) for this time of the year, to NEW BEEKEEPERS!! This excites us to see more and more people jumping into beekeeping.  And our beekeeping classes are filling up so fast too. Our Beekeeping Institute is over half full 5 months out. Speaking of selling out, we have sold out of packages of bees. However, we have reserved packages of bees to be sold with our hive kits and for students who take our beekeeping classes.

Over the last few years I’ve learned so much more about honey bees and beekeeping. That’s the neat thing about being a beekeeper, you just keep on learning year to year. My interaction with customers has truly taught me a lot too. Every time I talk with a customer, I hear what they have been trying and how well it has been working. Beekeeping is about educational growth.

class3 A common phone call is someone who has kept bees a few years but continues not to be successful. They call to sign up for a class because they know they need to be a better beekeeper. There are many challenges today facing honey bees and continued education gives us an edge to face these challenges more successfully. This might mean that  you need to now take what you’ve learned and make some resolutions for 2015 to be a better beekeeper.

I’ve thought of a few resolutions that would benefit most beekeepers.

1. Resolve To Plan Ahead. During the fall and winter, beekeepers ask me if it is too late to do anything about varroa mites. Sadly, I have to inform them it is too late. Once the temperature is below 60 degrees (f), we can no longer lift frames out of a hive in fear it will kill brood (developing pupae). This year, decide how you will aggressively keep your mites levels low. In our classes we give you a four part non-chemical approach. The longer you wait to purchase your bees, take a class or buy hives you risk having to wait or totally missing the boat.

BBFS1 Plan ahead in using the Burns Bees Feeding System. We sold a lot of these in the fall, but they cannot be used in the winter. So plan now to purchase these because you’ll want to start using them in Feb (for southern states) and March or April in the north. You can purchase them now and avoid back logged orders in the spring. We now make these from a higher quality wood which we are also using for our inner covers too. Click here to order now in planning ahead for spring feeding. Give your bees a boost in the spring. Works great on new packages, overwintered colonies or nucs.

2.  Resolve To Know As Much As You Can. Take all the classes you can. Attend seminars and conferences. Read books and magazines. For example, many of you watched my video on how to add additional wax to foundation to speed up the bees drawing out new foundation. This is something you can implement with your new hives this spring. Had you not read my lesson or watched my video you would not know to do this. So resolve to know as much as you can.

beepoop 3.  Monitor Your Hives Throughout The Winter. Keep Winter-Bee-Kind candy boards on your hives. Last year some beekeepers failed to replace empty WBKs on the hive and the bees starved out. So many hives were low on food going into winter. Resolve to monitor their winter stores of food. Keep mice out. Make sure your entrances are not allowing mice to enter. Mice can destroy your hives.  Provide a wind break. Keep something heavy on the top so winter winds do not blow the top off.

4. Resolve To Inspect Your Bees More Often In The Spring And Summer.  We recommend inspecting your hive briefly every two weeks in the spring and summer. This inspection is to take a quick look to be sure your queen is laying good. You do not have to find the queen, but just make sure you have plenty of brood of all stages, eggs, larvae and pupae. You can do a more thorough inspection every 6 weeks for pests and diseases.

L1538 5. Resolve To Deal With Issues. If  your queen is slacking off, replace her quickly. Prevent swarming. Trap small hive beetles. Keep your bees in their hives during pesticide applications nearby.

6. Resolve To Support Other Beekeepers. Often beekeepers can become territorial and threatened by other beekeepers. Resolve to encourage and support other beekeepers. Speak positively about associations, clubs and what other beekeepers are doing. Offer to help a struggling beekeeper. If a beekeeper suffers a loss, offer to take over a nuc to help them back into the game. We need to work together.

Class33 7. Resolve To Introduce More People Into Beekeeping. Are you coming to one of our beginner classes? If so, why not think of a friend nearby that you can inspire to become a beekeeper and join you for class too. It’s always fun tackling a new hobby with a buddy or a girlfriend. The more people start beekeeper, the closer we are to restoring the population of our much needed pollinator, the honey bee. Have them visit a special page we have just for beginners:

Thanks for joining us today. Check out some cool trivia we have on our main page at:


See you next time,
David and Sheri Burns
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms

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