Monday, January 23, 2017

The Greatest Chance Of Your Bees Dying Is The Next 90 Days

Hey everyone! We are David and Sheri Burns and we've been teaching beekeeping classes and online lessons for a decade now! I started this blog in 2006 way back before blogs were cool. I turned 57 last week! I don't know what happened. I was just enjoying life and doing my thing when all at once I turned 57! I started keeping bees in my early 30s which really just seems like yesterday. Our passion has always been, and still is, to help the typical new beginner beekeeper get started the right way.

A very common and wrong approach to beekeeping goes something like this: A well intended individual looking for a new hobby decides to try beekeeping. They watch a few YouTube videos and run out to their local farm store and grab some equipment and bees, dump them into a hive hoping for everything to go well. If their bees do not die by fall, they die during the first winter.  If not the first winter, the second winter due to mismanagement by the new beekeeper. The sad thing is they don't know what they did wrong which means they will repeat their same mistakes next season.

This scenario is very common but very sad because many of the colonies that perish during the winter die under the "care" of the untrained beekeeper. You're probably thinking, "How does he know who I am?" It's because for over 10 years I have watched this happen to beekeepers over and over again. There are two ways to improve your beekeeping results: 1) Take a class and 2) Do what is taught in class. I'm not just trying to get you to fill up our classes. Our classes always max out. I'm trying to motivate you to take a class so you can learn to be a successful beekeeper and enjoy a lifetime of learning. Can't take a class? Let me be your personal mentor. Click here for more mentorship information.

Getting frustrated or feeling depressed or sad is a normal and understandable response when you discover your bees are dead. I remember losing my first hive. I couldn't believe that my bees would die...Read more

The bee season has began with a phenomenal start. We sold out of individual packages again in 17 days. We still have packages available which come in kits. So if you are new to beekeeping, you can always purchase a hive kit with bees and come join us for a class.

The Greatest Chance Of Your Bees Dying Is In The Next 90 Days

The greatest chance of your bees dying is the next 90 days. Even if it warms up and stays warms your bees are at risk.

Here in Illinois we've had a weird winter so far. We've had some very cold weather followed by warm weather followed by cold weather and the cycle goes on. My poor bees must be totally confused.

The ideal outside temperature for bees in the winter is around 40 degrees (f). Why? Because they are consuming very little food to produce energy to stay warm at this temperature. At colder temperatures the colony must consume more honey and pollen to operate their muscles to generate heat. On warmer days, like we had here on Saturday, bees become very active and take flight. This requires an enormous amount of food consumption for bees to break cluster and fly outside the hive. Now it is cold again. But on the warmer days the bees consumed more of their winter stores than if it had stayed cold. So now I'm having to monitor my Winter-Bee-Kinds on my hives more closely, about once a week.

It can be detrimental to feed your bees at the start of winter, but not follow through for the remainder of winter. Keep feeding your bees all winter. Make sure there is an ample amount of candy in your boards above the cluster. Refill your Winter-Bee-Kinds when needed with the recipe we provided or purchase a new one by clicking here.

Each day we gain a small amount of daylight. This too causes the queen to slowly begin laying more brood which requires more food. We've received several inches of rain this winter, not snow. This means that on those foggy and rainy days moisture in the hive likely increased as well which is never a good thing in the winter for bees. These factors combined means that the next 90 days are very critical, and that bees must be well fed with both sugar and pollen.

I checked on the bees here at our training center and they are all doing exceptionally well. Each one has one of our Winter-Bee-Kinds, providing protein and carbohydrates as well as providing insulation/ventilation to prevent excess moisture build up in the hive.

Watch my video I made a few days ago, January 21, 2017 as I checked on my bees in the middle of the winter. Click on the video image to play.

PLEASE DO NOT open up your hives in the winter to move frames around if the temperature is below 60-65 degrees (f). It's fine to open the lid quickly and change a Winter-Bee-Kind in any temperature because it takes less than 30 seconds and you are not moving frames. But I no longer open up and move frames around until winter is over no matter how warm it is. If you have prepared your bees properly for winter they should not require any frame manipulation during the winter months. Be patient for spring.

This Freedom Kit is our most popular kit. Can be purchased with or without bees. To view all of our kits, 

INDIVIDUAL PACKAGE BEES are sold out. We still have packages available with our hive kits such as the Freedom Kit above.

Are You Ready For Spring? Do You Know What To Do With Your Hives To Prevent Swarming Or To Make Splits?

We are offering two spring management classes and they are close to being sold out. Will you make the mistake of rotating your two deeps at the wrong time? Should you treat for mites in the spring? How soon should you try and capture the spring honey flow? Is your hive strong enough to make a split or will both the split and your hive collapse?  What is the best time and way to split hives? How soon should you worry about mites?

Here are the dates and times:

David and Sheri Burns
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Discovery: New Bacterium May Be Killing Bees In The Winter

3 Pound Packages are available online for purchase, but only around 50 left. Click here to order now. Don't wait too long to order or we may be sold out.

Hello, we are David and Sheri Burns at Long Lane Honey Bee Farms/

Serratia marcescens strain sicaria: Killing Bees In Winter?

I worked hard to become an EAS Certified Master Beekeeper so that I can better equip beekeepers on how to do it right. A good master beekeeper is constantly studying new discoveries and reports on honey bees.

Beekeeping is no longer hands-off. You cannot just throw bees in a hive and wait a few months and harvest gallons of honey. 

Beekeeping is more challenging now than it ever has bee. A new bacterium called, 
Serratia marcescens strain sicaria, more simply named sicaria, which means assassin, and Ss1 for short. This bacterium has been found in bees that die in the winter, and in varroa mites. The dying bees seem to drift away from the winter cluster before dying. It still deserves much more research. This should emphasis how important it is to take a beekeeping class. It sounds like keeping mite levels low all year could reduce this bacterium during the winter. Learning how to keep mite levels below 3% all year is essential for the well being of bees.

List of a few of our 2017 beekeeping classes:

Beekeeping For Beginners Feb 18th 1pm-6pm (Only a couple of spots still open)
Beekeeping For Beginners Feb 25th 1pm-6pm
Spring Management March 4th 9am-1pm
A Day In The Apiary With David May 27th 8:30am-11am

See additional classes we are offering for 2017 by clicking here.


Our Freedom Kit has been a top choice for new beginners. Starting with 2 hives is always a better idea. You can share resources between hives and observe difference between hives. Many years ago when we first started beekeeping (24 years now) we called a beekeeping supply company and admitted on the phone that we didn't know what to buy.  The response we got was, well, less than stellar:  "when you figure it out, call us back".  We decided that when we started our company, our customers would never be left to "figure it out".    

After seeing what's out there on the market, our customers come here looking for quality, well constructed, made in America Hives....made right here in Illinois. 

Our hive kits are assembled and painted.  Made by master craftsmen.  These workhorses will outlast your lifetime. Our boxes are rabbet joints to expose LESS wood to the elements, which eliminates cracks and buckles caused by finger joints. Our telescoping top covers are covered with painted aluminum --which will never rust and will stay looking nice for a long time. We do not cut corners with our inner covers either, these will NOT fall apart on you after the first year as some others do. 

Hive boxes come complete with all the frames and foundations so you don't need to spend time trying to figure out which frames go with what foundations and what sizes you need. Complete kits, come with FREE entrance feeder! Allow 2 - 3 weeks for delivery. Pick up available, just call! 217-427-2678 or see all of our hive kits at

Test Your Beekeeping Skills

Take our beekeeping test and see how well you do. Answers are available by clicking here. Jot down your answers on a piece of paper then click the above link to compare and see how well you did.
1. What is the main cause of viruses in a colony?
2. How often should you inspect your hive to verify your queen is laying?
3. List three ways to reduce varroa mites without the use of chemicals or
4. List two ways to combat small hive beetles.
5. What does one queen cell on the upper section of comb represent?
1. Small hive beetles can not fly, only crawl.
2. Small hive beetles cannot survive a winter inside a clustered colony of    honey bees.
3. Oxalic acid does not kill varroa mites below the capped cell.
4. The universal queen color for 2017 is blue.
5. Honey bees are not on the endangered species list.
6. When a colony swarms they always leave with a new queen and the old
    mother queen remains behind with the original colony. 

Do You Know What This is?
One of the great things about being a beekeeper is that we can continue to learn and become better at what we do. I read that more pilots crash after they have 300 hours of flight time because their confidence exceeds their experience. It's the same for most beekeepers. Keeping bees for a couple of years causes many beekeepers to believe they know every thing there is to know.

One of our subscribers recently sent this photo to me wondering what it means to the overall health of her hive. Wouldn't it be nice to have a certified master beekeeper you can get answers from right away?

Are you sure you know what you are doing? Once you start beekeeping you will have a ton of questions. Every time you inspect your colony you will have twenty question marks floating above your hat and veil. Is the queen laying enough? Why aren't they building up faster? What does that queen cup mean? What is that worm? When do I put my queen excluder on? Why are they clustered under the hive? Yikes, no eggs!

I have expanded my mentorship program to include twenty more subscribers. When you subscribe you become part of our BeeTeam6 mentorship program. Here's what you get for less than $5 a week:

    - Access to my personal cell phone to call me when you just don't know
      what's going on or you don't know what to do next.
    - Access to my personal email to send me photos, videos or questions.

    - Access to my cell phone to text question.

    - My weekly instructional video.

    - A weekly tip, two pages full of new discoveries, best management practices
      and more. Example:
With spring approaching gain the spring management tips you need to keep your hives healthy. Sign up now for one of these twenty openings before they are taken. Click here now for more information. 

Sheri and I want to thank you for the opportunity to help you with all your beekeeping needs. Thank you for supporting a small, family business.

We are located in east-central Illinois, about 40 miles East of Champaign/Urbana, Illinois

217-427-2678  or visit us online at:


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Watch Bees Eating In The Winter

Happy New Year! It's 2017. Hello from David and Sheri Burns and 

Here at Long Lane Honey Bee Farms we are gearing up for the 2017 beekeeping season and we hope you are as optimistic and excited as we are. Some of you are brand new to the idea of beekeeping. Good for you. Our ecosystem could stand a boost in honey bees. We need our honey bees to pollinate all the food that is good for us, like fruits and vegetables. We know you have lots of options when ordering hives and bees. We hope you'll choose us. Choosing a small, family business is important. It's not always about saving shipping cost or buying sale items. It's about purchasing hives made here in America, right here in Illinois by hard working family. We hope you'll honor our business. Thank you.

PACKAGE BEES are available online now. They always sell out fast so CLICK HERE to order now.

Your Hives Are Hungry Even In The Winter: We are just barely into winter and your bees are hungry. With several more months of bitter winter left, colonies need a lot of protein (pollen) and carbohydrates (honey) in the winter. We hear so many horror stories of how hives did not have adequate food stored up for winter back in September. Some hives are beginning to perish now from starvation.
Feed your bees in the winter. Watch our video below showing one of our Winter-Bee-Kind boards at work, reducing excess moisture in the hive, feeding bees and allowing an upper entrance.

Winter Bee Kind At Work
Winter Bee Kind At Work

Click here to order your Winter-Bee-Kind now. These will only be available a couple more weeks.
Without Taking A Class You Are Taking A Big Risk
It's never too late to learn something new. Beekeeping is more challenging now than ever before. Arm yourself with the knowledge and education you need to give your bees the best chance of making it. Take one of our classes, taught by EAS Certified Master Beekeeper, David Burns.

Beekeeping For Beginners Feb 18th 1pm-6pm
Beekeeping For Beginners Feb 25th 1pm-6pm
Spring Management March 4th 9am-1pm
A Day In The Apiary With David May 27th 8:30am-11am

2017 Beekeeping Institute
The Bee Institute is taught over two days covering in depth teachings on honey bee anatomy, understanding the colony, specialized beekeeping equipment, package bees verses nucs, how and when to feed bees, pests and diseases, best seasonal management practices for each season, how to raise and sell queens, swarm prevention, making splits, field work, mite tests, how bees communicate via pheromones, bee stings and reactions and more. You'll learn how to find your queen, how to mark her, and how to perform a thorough hive inspection, how and when to best add supers for maximum honey production, understanding the waggle dance, catching swarms and removing bees from structures, hive placement, how to work bees with minimal protection, how to move a hive to a new location, robbing and how to prevent it, reversing hive bodies in the spring, what to do about laying workers, royal jelly, characteristics of the different types of honey bees, how to keep bees in the city and much, much more. Sign up now. It fills up fast. 
Order Your Bee Hives And Other Equipment From Us
Several customers dropped in last week and purchased our Freedom Kit. Before you run out to a big box store, why not purchase your beekeeping equipment from us? We are experts in the field. Get started on the right foot. Thank you for supporting our family business for all your beekeeping needs. We do it all. We will educate you through a class, provide the bees and yearly queens and supply you with the hives and equipment you need to be successful.  Here's our most popular Hive Kits:
Our Freedom Kit has been a top choice for new beginners. Painted and assembled our hives are made here in Illinois under David's watchful eye. Starting with 2 hives is always a better idea. You can purchase it with or without bees. And comes with the equipment you need to keep bees. 

2 Hives gives you the advantage to move resources around to keep both hives going strong. Lose a queen? Just move a frame of eggs from the other hive. In a good year you can harvest twice the honey! For more info on our Freedom Kit follow these links:

Freedom Kit With Bees (Bees Are Picked Up Here In Spring)

Have a great day!
David and Sheri Burns
Tu-Thu 10-4pm