Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Harvesting Honey Is Right Around The Corner


Hello everyone! We are David and Sheri Burns at Long Lane Honey Bee Farms also known as www.honeybeesonline.com

WINTER-BEE-KINDS are now available online! Orders are pouring in. You In order to get ahead of the game, we have placed our Winter-Bee-Kinds online. PLEASE NOTE, orders will be shipped out starting November 1, in the order they are received. In other words, if you order your WBK this week, yours will ship the first week in November. However, if you order yours on September 1st, there will be hundreds of orders ahead of yours so you may not get your order until  . We do our best to stay caught up but the popularity of our WBKs is overwhelming.  Thank you. To order online go to: http://www.honeybeesonline.com/feeders/

Rain, rain, rain has been the story here in Illinois. Just when it starts to dry out and the bees start back up gathering nectar, we get more rain. However, bees are doing pretty good around the country, even here with all the rain. Honey supers are getting filled up. Clover is everywhere. There is so much clover, I just can’t bring myself to mow it!  Bees are all over it. One day my bees were enjoying a heavy nectar flow. The front of the hive was very hectic. But I just had to mow the area around the hives because it looked so unkept.  As soon as I finished mowing foraging was greatly reduced. Bees were really working the clover in my yard.

In this lesson, I want to provide some good information on harvesting honey. For some of you who are new beekeepers, you’ve never harvested honey, so we hope this information will be helpful.

Before we start the lesson, let me continue to speak about something that none of us want to talk about…WINTER. You only have less than 90 days to prepare your colonies. Bees rarely die in the spring, summer or fall. All beekeepers are happy campers watching their bees in these warm seasons. However, our disposition changes in the winter. We dread the cold weather our bees will have to endure. If you’ve kept bees for very long, you have suffered losses during the winter. Sign up for our Winter Class by clicking here or going to: http://www.honeybeesonline.com/beekeeping-classes/

DANGER: If you wait until October to try to prepare your bees for winter, you’ve waited too late. Many beekeepers don’t think about whether their bees are ready for winter until after the first cold snap or hard frost. Then, they may learn the colony is queenless, or the hive has no stores of honey or pollen for winter. Worse, the beekeeper may not know that their colony is infested with varroa destructor, spreading viruses that will kill their hive in the late winter months.

winterbeekindclick If your hives are healthy but lack resources, consider overwintering your hives with our Winter-Bee-Kinds. They fit on the top of your brood nest area just under the top cover. They contain carbohydrates and protein for the bees, as well as an insulation barrier to reduce upper condensation that often develops just above the bees then drops down on them during the winter. The WBK also has an upper entrance/vent and we have found the bees often use this upper entrance to take winter cleansing flights when they would usually not go down and out the lower entrance. The come in either 8 Frame or 10 Frames sizes. Click here for more information.

Harvest Honey

1. Make sure the frames are 90%+ capped over or sealed. Anything less can result in a higher moisture content in the honey and can cause your honey to ferment and taste bad.

2. You can use several methods to clear the bees out of the frame in your supers. Fume boards, bee escapes placed in inner covers under a super, brushing bees off or blowing them can be effective.

3. Prepare your area. Have a clean extractor, knife, buckets and strainers ready.

4. Most of us use the wood on the frame as a guide for cutting the comb, allowing us not to cut too deeply into the comb as we slice open the wax cappings on the frames.

5. Spin out the honey in your extractor. If you are using all wax foundation (not plastic inserts) be careful not to spin to fast until much of the honey is out. Otherwise it will “blow out” the combs.

6. For small jobs, place a 5 gallon food grade bucket under your extractor gate (valve) and place a strainer on the inside top of your bucket. We use a 400 micron strainer.

7. Make sure your bucket also has a gate on the bottom because you want to let your honey sit a few days before bottling. Bubbles rise to the top of honey, making the lower part very clean and clear.

To assist you further, watch my video below for more detailed information and detailed visualization of the process.

Also, we have several past lessons that talk about different aspects of honey harvest. Here’s a list:

Using A Refractor To Test Moisture Content In Honey

How To Extract Honey From A Hive

How To Make Comb Honey

Thanks for joining us today!
Give us a call for all your beekeeping needs.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Video Lessons: Adding Wax, Eating Royal Jelly, Finding A Bumble Bee In The Hive, And A Bee In The Mouth


Hello from Long Lane Honey Bee Farms. I made another cool beekeeping video. I intended to make a video on inspecting a hive that looked like it was getting ready to swarm. But while I was making the video, I found a queen cup that was torn open and a bumble bee in lower deep that the bees were attacking. So the video turned out to have some cool findings along the way. I even do my popular bee in the mouth trick. I posted the video on our front page of our website for you to watch and enjoy. These video lessons are designed to help beekeepers learn the art of inspecting colonies, what to look for and what actions to take. They are a lot of work, but I enjoy investing the time to help others in beekeeping. Our main website is: www.honeybeesonline.com

2nd Institute We had a great time with our last Beekeeping Institute of the year. We had beekeepers from Indiana, Missouri, Illinois, and Wisconsin. We ran them through various beekeeping scenarios. They learned how to identify a failing hive and what course of action to take. They also learned all about various diseases and pests. At the Beekeeping Institute, we drill down deeper into common beekeeping facts, plus we explore and talk about more complex aspects of beekeeping that we cannot discuss in beginner classes.

2nd instituteb We did mite counts, marked bees, grafted queens, swarm prevention, and a little of everything bee related. We also trained them on how to get bees through the winter. 

We heard very positive feedback from students of both institutes and look forward to offering these again in 2016. These Institutes fill up very fast so be watching in 2016 when they become available so you can come join us.


Two new classes we've added this year are "A Day In The Bee Yard".

The first one on July 17 filled up fast. So I've added a second one on Sunday afternoon July 19th from 2-6. We only have around 4 spots left, so REGISTER TODAY.

I'll walk you through a variety of ways to work bees and manage colonies. Imagine spending 4 hours in hives with a certified master beekeeper teaching you how to split hives, prevent swarms, find queens, manipulate frames, mark queens, how to use a Cloake board, feeders, patties, mite tests, and much more.

Christians AlienWe had a very enjoyable 4th of July Holiday weekend and we hope you did too! We watched a parade and Christian had fun catching candy thrown off floats and loud fire trucks. Then Christian tried his hand at some fun activities and he was really good at shooting and won this gigantic alien for shooting down three cups in a row. And of course we ended the day watching fireworks.

Believe it or not, while we are enjoying summer, we are also using this time to prepare for fall and winter beekeeping activities. We are cleaning up shops and offices, organizing things that can’t be dealt with during the busy bee season. For us, everything gets hectic starting August 1st. Many customers are calling wanting to order our Winter-Bee-Kind candy/insulation and ventilation boards for winter. 

We will begin taking orders for our WBKs August 1st. But REMEMBER, these do not ship until November 1. We wait until November 1st for cooler shipping weather.

winterbkind PLEASE NOTE, orders will be shipped out in the order they are received. In other words, if you order your WBK on August 1st, yours will ship the first week in November. However, if you order yours on September 1st, there will be hundreds of orders ahead of yours so you may not get your order until December. We do our best to stay caught up but the popularity of our WBKs is overwhelming. We will inform our customers via our website and these newsletters when our WBKs go live online. Thank you.


I’ve made several videos showing how beneficial it is to add extra wax to frames to help the bees draw the foundation out faster. It really does make a difference and can prove this in my videos. If you are a first year beekeeper and you do not have extra wax, you can buy wax online, even organic wax too. We sell it at our store. It really doesn’t take alot to brush on your plastic foundation. It is something I strongly suggest.

In the video I posted on our website, I ate some royal jelly. I’ve eaten it before. That’s why I look so youthful :). I should say I’ve only tasted it. It is like nothing I’ve ever tasted before. It is very unique. I have spoken at conferences on the content of royal jelly and it is amazing. It is an enzyme which 6-12 day old bees secrete from their mandibular glands. An ample amount is fed to a larva when they want to raise a queen instead of a regular worker bee. Royal jelly can only be found in queen cells. You can see my reaction in the video when I ate some.

Also in the video, while I was inspecting the hive I found a bumble bee in the bottom deep. In the video you’ll see me spot a cluster of bees and upon further investigation I found a black and yellow bumble bee being attacked and killed by the bees.

Finally in the video you’ll see me do my famous bee in the mouth trick. The trick is that it is NOT a worker bee, but a drone bee. Drones do not have stingers. So I just place the drone on my tongue and close my mouth. In a few seconds I open my mouth and he flies safely away, being thankful he was not swallowed. Me too! But before you try this yourself BE SURE you know the difference between a drone without a stinger and a worker bee with a stinger! ( I recommend you do not ever place any kind of insect in your mouth because it can cause severe injury or death).

The hive we inspected in the video was a hive that had several swarm cells that were almost sealed. At the time I noticed the cells I manipulated the frames and added a honey super on top. 10 days later is when I filmed this video. I found one supercedure cell that had been recently torn open and one emergency swarm cup on a lower frame. I did not see the original swarm cell cups I saw 10 days earlier. I also spotted the old queen with the green dot, so I knew they had not left because they always leave with the old queen.

Cedar Cedar Hives-The beauty of cedar is an eye catcher. Our cedar hives are cut from cedar boards and assembled right here at our facilities.

We keep to the traditional Langstroth measurements and we designed our own cedar peaked top with a strip of copper to dress it up. Each hive comes with 2 deeps and 2 medium supers, and a screen bottom board.

Our special peaked top is an INSULATED top. Also includes wooden frames and beeswax coated foundation for all deeps and super boxes. Shipping is included!

CLICK HERE for more information on our Cedar Hives or go to: http://www.honeybeesonline.com/cedar-langstroth-hive-assembled-with-frames/

Super Honey Supers - We have several weeks for bees to continue foraging for that precious liquid gold--HONEY!  Do you have enough supers? It's time now to put honey supers on and let your bees fill 'em up. Click here to order your supers. We are shipping them out in 3 business days after orders are placed. Our supers are assembled and painted and come with 10 assembled wooden frames with beeswax coated foundation. Take them out of the box and place them on your hive.

Thanks for joining us again for more beekeeping tips.

David and Sheri Burns
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms