Tuesday, February 2, 2016

How Does A Warm Winter Effect Honey Bees?

Hello from Long Lane Honey Bee Farms. We are David and Sheri Burns and we operate www.honeybeesonline.com

I've been sending this blog out for nearly 10 years. It's been my humble effort to help beekeepers keep bees better. People from around the world have told us how much this blog has helped them so I feel like it is doing some good!

The weather has been very nice for winter. Here in Illinois it has been very warm and I have not ran my snow plow once. It's hard to believe because now we are in to February and I haven't had to turn on my big house furnace.  Wow!

So how does a warm winter effect honey bees? It's not good. But before I explain this in more detail, let me share some other cool stuff.

Are you losing your colonies every winter to mites? Varroa destructor is the leading cause of why bees die in the winter. They carry various viruses that can spread quickly through a hive during winter months. Watch my recent video on how you can use Green Drone Comb to help control mites. We teach this in greater detail in our beginner classes.
Over the years we have worked hard to educate and encourage more and more people to become beekeepers. I spend a great deal of time speaking at various groups like 4-H, FFA, home schools groups, Lions and Rotary clubs, Park Districts, bee clubs and school groups. Any opportunity I get to encourage the younger generations to keep bees is exciting to me. Anyway, as a result I see more and more people becoming interested in beekeeping.

Now, almost anywhere you go you see something about beekeeping. It wasn't always that way. In fact, in the early 90s I'd say beekeeping was practically on its way out.  But now, it is "cool" to keep bees.

For those of you who are currently keeping bees you too play a huge role in helping others get into beekeeping.  You can introduce a neighbor or a friend into beekeeping. Maybe you can encourage a grandchild or relative to start keeping bees. It's only February so there is plenty of time to help more and more people jump in and enjoy keeping bees. We have a website dedicated to "How To Start Beekeeping."

Those square, white boxes gracing the countryside is a beautiful sight and has been featured in many picturesque photos and paintings. It's a peaceful scene depicting the balance of nature. Bees are pollinating flowers and plants ensuring that we will have our next meal.

Those white bee hives were once much more common than they are now, although they are making a come back. Years ago I remember seeing those white bee hives and wondering how in the world I could ever keep bees. Maybe you've wondered that too.

Now it is practically a prestigious thing to own hives. A common mistake many beekeepers make is that they never have enough empty hives to catch their own swarms or the swarm calls that will come their way in just a couple of months. All beekeepers need to have a few empty hives on hand to help rescue swarms. The faster we can rescue swarms the better image honey bees and beekeepers have among the non-beekeepers of our communities.

One of our most popular kits is our Freedom Kit. Starting with 2 hives is always better than starting with one. There is an old saying, " One is none and two is one." It means that if you have one and lose it, you have none. But if you have two and lose one, you still have one.

I have an entire article answering the question of how many hives to start with.

Our Freedom Kit is fully assembled with frames and foundation, and it comes with 2 hives and 2 packages of bees. This kit also comes with a hat and veil, hive tool, book, queen excluders, a smoker and smoker fuel. Click here to view our Freedom Kit

I believe this has become a very popular kit because it removes much of the guess work out of beekeeping. What do I buy? How many? If I buy my hives at XYZ place, then where do I find bees to go in to my new hives? The Freedom Kit solves these problems.

Classes are very popular today. Not just beekeeping classes, but classes on just about any subject. My wife recently flew out to San Francisco to take a class on becoming a Chocolatier. Taking classes is enjoyable because as we get older we realize we need to keep expanding our horizons. We need to keep our minds sharp and it's enjoyable learning something new.

I cannot imagine starting beekeeping without taking a class. Be sure and visit www.honeybeesonline.com for our class schedule. We put so much effort into our classes and we'd love to meet you. Our classes are filling up so fast this year. Every spring people are disappointed that all classes are full. So sign up and take a class before the spring rush.  Review all of our upcoming classes.

Our next Basic Beekeeping Class still has a couple of spots available. It's on a Friday from 8am - 1pm. Take off work on Friday and come join us! Click here for more details. 

We have 3 spots available in our spill over, new class on how to manage your hive in the springs. People are always wondering about making splits and how to prevent swarms. This class is on March 26th (Saturday) 9am-1pm. Click here for more details.

Now, is this warm weather good or bad for honey bees? Normally we would think it would be good for bees because they are flying. There are some good benefits to a few warm days each month in the winter. Bees are able to break cluster, move closer to stored food in their hive and take a potty break. However, a prolonged warm spell means that bees are moving around much more, laying more eggs, raising more brood and consuming food at a faster rate. A prolonged warm spell could cause the bees to starve because even though it is warmer and they are flying, there is nothing to go and gather. The more they fly and move around the greater the food requirement is. Most of us would love to see the temperature stay in the 30s all winter. This is the optimal temperature for bees to coast through winter.

One way to calm your concerns during these unusual warm spells is to make sure your bees have plenty of food for the next two months. Most colonies starve in February and March.  Keep a fresh Winter-Bee-Kind on top of your clustered colony all winter long to ensure they have the protein and carbohydrates they need. Colonies are consuming an unusual amount of food this winter because our customers are ordering more Winter-Bee-Kinds and bringing an unusual amount back to be refilled. Stay alert and meet the nutritional needs of your hives.

Finally, we provide many entertaining ways for you to stay current on beekeeping trends.

Like our Facebook page.
Watch our Videos.
Read our Beekeeping Lessons.
Listen to our Beekeeping Podcasts.

Stop in and see us soon.
David and Sheri Burns
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms

Monday 9am- 6pm
Tues - Thur 9am-4pm

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Crazy Surge In Beekeeping www.honeybeesonline.com 217-427-2678

Hello from Long Lane Honey Bee Farms we are David and Sheri Burns. You can run out to the farm store and buy a hive, order a book on beekeeping, and get a package of bees from Billy Bob’s truck whenever he comes through town. But is that really what  you want to do? Why not start with one of our brand new, clean hives, fully assembled, American made right here in Illinois, painted and sturdy, built by beekeepers! We provide a fresh 3 lbs package with a mated queen that you pick up only a couple of days after it is packaged. And take a class by a certified master beekeeper when you pick up your hives . We are here for you.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Some of our customers desire to purchase equipment online but want to avoid shipping cost by picking items up here locally. Many of our online items have fixed shipping. It is best to call us to place a pick up order. 217-427-2678 With gas prices so low, consider coming over and picking up your hives. Thank you!

This year has started out as a phenomenal year with interest in beekeeping. I have never seen such a huge interest in beekeeping. It is very exciting. Not only are we seeing this surge in people buying hives and bees from us, but our classes are filling up like crazy! Our first two beginner classes in February and March are sold out. If you are thinking about taking a class I would suggest you secure your spot quickly.

Our next beginner classes with spots available are:
Mar. 18  Basic Beginners Class  Friday 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. (Only 4 spots left)
Apr.   2  Basic Beginners Class  Saturday 8 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Apr.   3  Basic Beginners Class  Sunday 1 p.m. - 6 p.m.

New to our class menu is: Spring Management. We scheduled this class for March 19th and it quickly sold out. So we added another one last week for March 26th and it is now over half filled. If you’d like to learn what to do with your hive in the spring such as making splits, swarm control and more, sign up now  Spring: Splits, Swarms, Supering and Survival (Spots Still Available).


People from around the US have taken our classes and even a few from other countries. If you live out of the area, we are only a couple hours from O'Hare International airport in Chicago and only an hour and fifteen minutes from the Indianapolis International airport.

There is a beautiful winery less than a mile from our farm where you can stay. Some of our students have stayed there and it is new, and can sleep 5-10 people, and has a full kitchen etc.
This is a great place to stay for those attending our Beekeeping Institute. June 10-12 Beekeeping Institute 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. each day

Check it out: Sleepy Creek. But there are also name brand hotels near by. If you live far away, make it into a working vacation and come take a class.

If you are still undecided about taking a class consider breaking up the monotony of winter. The winter doldrums can really get us down. This is a great time to take classes, socialize with other beekeepers and just see something different than your frozen yard.

By taking a class you WILL avoid making many mistakes. Some mistakes your bees may not recover from and you will regret losing your bees to your mistakes. A state inspector informed me that the best hives that she inspected were from my students. The right information is powerful.

To view all of our 2016 classes click here, but remember they are filling up so fast! http://www.honeybeesonline.com/bee-classes/

Thanks for all the birthday wishes everyone! My bday was Jan. 20th and you loaded up our Facebook page with so many kind comments. Thank you.


We are having a blast making daily Vlogs. Usually they have something to do with bees, but not always. And we are back to producing more beekeeping podcasts as well. We are hoping to have 50,000 subscribers to our video channel on YouTube by the end of the year. We just cracked 5,060 so spread the word and subscribe and get your friends and family to subscribe. Follow this link to subscribe or to watch our popular beekeeping videos.

Here’s a few ways you can help make this a huge success in promoting beekeeping:

1. Send us your questions, or submit your questions at the bottom of each video. I’ll try and answer them as quickly as possible.
2. Leave your positive comments below our videos.
3. Subscribe to our YouTube channel.
4. Feel free to stop in and visit us during business hours and with your permission we’ll add your visit to our vlogs.
5. Tell others. Word of mouth is powerful.

Five words to learn are:

Precocious- When bees develop certain abilities at an earlier age than normal, usually out of necessity.
Trophallaxis- The exchange of food from one bee to another.
Polyethism-  Describes a division of labor within a colony carried out at different ages.
Thelytoky- A type of parthenogenesis in which females are produced from unfertilized eggs. More common among cape honey bees but it is possible among apis mellifera (Our European Honey Bees)
Parthenogenesis- With honey bees, it is when a drone develops from an unfertilized egg.

Now you can really show off at the next association meeting.

In the next few months colonies in the north will slowly start raising more and more brood for spring, thus increasing the demand for more food and heat. In other words, February and March are when most colonies crash because they simply starve out. And the number of bees are lower resulting in less heat in the hive. Keep Winter-Bee-Kinds on your hives during these critical months. Once it warms up and bees fly, you can switch to our Burns Bees Feeding System and feed 1:1 Sugar water for spring build up.

We are still selling lots of Winter-Bee-Kinds. It’s never too late to add one to your hive as long as it is cold outside. As soon as your bees finish one be sure to refill it with the recipe we provide or purchase another one. Do not think that one is enough if they eat it all early in the winter. Keep feeding your bees for maximum spring build up. Visit our Winter Feeding Solutions now.

We sold out of individual packages of bees in less than 20 days. A new record. Because of the surge of new beginners taking classes and seeking equipment, we have reserved packages of bees only with our hive kits. So if you are looking for a complete kit with packages of bees (pick up only), then click here. If you are looking for just individual packages without hives, we do NOT know of a source we would recommend at this time.

We have expanded our hours to help meet the needs of those who cannot call during work hours.
Mon 9am-6pm Central Time
Tues-Thur 9am-4pm Central Time

We work so hard that we are closed to the public on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  217-427-2678

Before you visit us, please be sure we are open and if you are coming to buy certain equipment please call first to be sure we have what you want in stock.

Now, since we serve the entire US, please remember we are in the central time zone. So check out what time it is here if you live outside the central time zone or you may be calling outside of our hours.

Four days a week we have beekeeping experts available to answer your questions. Recently I saw a big box store bragging that they had a beekeeping expert one day a year. To be successful, you need more than one talk. You can call us Mon-Thur and we are dedicated to help our customers. In fact, our customers prefer to purchase their bees, hives and equipment from us and pick it all up when they take a class. Daily we have prospective beekeepers who call us, not knowing anything about beekeeping, and we are able to walk them through the entire process. There is no reason to stumble around not knowing what to do next.

Stop by and visit our Facebook page. Almost daily we share cool photos, videos and important beekeeping tips, discoveries and important facts. Be sure to check us out.

Thank you for making Long Lane Honey Bee Farms a fun, family business!
David and Sheri Burns

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Hello from Long Lane Honey Bee Farms. We are David and Sheri Burns and along with most of our family we have been helping beekeepers for a decade. We are located in central Illinois and we are a small, American, family business.

We’ve dedicated our lives promoting beekeeping and doing our part to ensure honey bees have a bright future. We are winding down another successful year thanks to our fabulous customers. We are more excited about 2016 than ever before. In 2006 we thought  the interest in beekeeping had reached its peak. Boy were we wrong. Every year thousands join the clan of people that want to do their part to save our major pollinators and improve our precious fruits and vegetables by becoming beekeepers. We are stoked about dreaming what 2016 will be like for beekeeping.

We have already planned a great 2016 classroom roster of beekeeping classes. Click on any class below for more information:
Beginner Classes – Our First Beginners Class is February 20th 8am-1pm. Several spots are still available.
A New Spring Management Class
Our 4th Beekeeping Institute
Queen Rearing
Advanced Beekeeping

A Day In The Bee Yard With David :

June 18  A Day In The Bee Yard  Saturday 8:30-11:30 a.m.
June 24  A Day In The Bee Yard Friday 8:30-11:30 a.m.
July 9  A Day In The Bee Yard Saturday 8:30-11:30 a.m.

Getting Your Bees Through The Winter

Aug   6  Getting Your Bees Through The Winter Saturday 8:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Aug 20  Getting Your Bees Through The Winter Saturday 8:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Sept 9  Getting Your Bees Through The Winter Saturday 8:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Today, I want to encourage you to pursue your dreams whether your dream is to start keeping bees, become a doctor, take up a musical instrument, or to retire. Before I do, let me share some things going on around here.

I’ll be speaking at the American Beekeeping Federation at the Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa in Ponte Vedra Beach (Jacksonville), Florida January 5-9. Leave winter behind and come get some sun and learn more about beekeeping.

I’m a Christmas junkie. I love Christmas music and start playing it on Thanksgiving Day. Sheri loves it too, but she is not as fanatic about it as I am. I catch her toning down my Christmas music. I love Christmas because my mom and dad always made it a special time to remember the birth of Christ and to be with family. My mom would cook all sorts of foods and candy and my dad always hung lights and decorations. My apologies to the few of you who can’t understand my obsession. To be honest, Sheri is the one who hangs most of the decorations and certainly the only one who cooks all the candy and food. Yep, might as well call me the drone bee.

We hosted our annual Christmas luncheon for our workers last week. We handed out some gifts and thanked them for all their hard work. Haley Watts made a cool Christmas tree out of cake pops. Haley has been helping us ship your items and sometimes answer the phones. The top pop is yellow like a star. Our 8 year old son, Christian, said he wanted to eat that one. He grabbed it but handed it to his nephew JD. I thought that was sweet.

We all worked extra hard to get caught up on all Winter-Bee-Kind orders and we did it. More orders are coming in, but being caught up now means we can ship them out within several business days after the order is placed once we get back to work after the holidays.

I made a commitment not to put WBKs on my hives until I took care of all customer’s orders first. We were aiming for the day before Thanksgiving but we missed that deadline so my next goal was the Tuesday before Christmas and we made that happen. Thank you for all your orders and it is definitely not too late to purchase a Winter-Bee-Kind. I’ll be putting mine on in a few weeks. If you have not ordered one for your hive yet, try it out this year. Click here for more information on our Winter-Bee-Kinds.

This year Sheri and I enjoyed hanging out a day in Indianapolis where we enjoyed a Christmas dinner theater with another couple. We rode around Indy on a horse pulled carriage. It was beautiful! Sheri also surprised me with tickets for us to see Mannheim Steamroller. They are known for their Christmas music and decades of Christmas tours. Their website boasts, “Mannheim Steamroller is the #1 Christmas music artist of all times, selling over 27 million albums. The second highest Christmas artist is Elvis Presley.” They were awesome. We did not get anything free or reduced for mentioning them here. It was just fun.

Package Bees Soon Going Online

Packages of bees will go online late on December 31st, this coming Thursday. I don’t want to stay up late and put them online at 12 midnight, so that’s why it will be late on the 31st. We’ve already sold a bunch of packages of bees with our hive kits and we always reserve lots for first time beekeepers who attend our classes so what we put online is limited. Just watch from our main website: www.honeybeesonline.com and you’ll see a link from our  main page on the 31st. Please send us your business. We know you can get your hives and equipment at other places, but we need your continued support. While buying bees, why not buy the kit with bees. Thank you.


Starting January 1st I’ll be producing a daily vlog. A vlog is a video blog. These will be posted every day on YouTube. So I want to let you know what to expect and what not to expect. This daily vlog will vary in length. It might be 4 minutes one day and 30 minutes another day. Some might be nicely edited and others simply raw video.

Now about content. The content may sometimes have something to do with bees and at other times nothing about bees. Some days may have themes and some days you will just be hanging out with me. This is a huge commitment to produce 365 of these, and I’ll do my best. There are several ways you can make the vlog much more enjoyable and entertaining:

1. Send us questions we can answer on the vlog. Questions can be related to beekeeping or something else if you want. You can also send us pictures. Lots of beekeepers will write to us and include cool photos of their hives. Send them to Long Lane Honey Bee Farms, 14556 N 1020 E. Rd, Fairmount, IL 61841  

2. Leave positive comments at the bottom of each new vlog.

3. Subscribe to our YouTube channel. By subscribing you’ll have easier access to the daily videos and you’ll help boost our efforts. Feel free to subscribe in advance of our first vlog episode. After you follow our link, you’ll see a picture of Sheri and me and to the right of us is a red subscribe button as shown in the picture to the left. Here’s the link:  click here to subscribe to our daily video blog (vlog). We are at 4,947 subscribers now and our goal is to reach 50,000 subscribers by the end of 2016 with your help.

4. Feel free to stop in and visit us during business hours and with your permission we’ll add your visit to our vlog.

5. Tell others. Spread the word and encourage others to come along with us in 2016.

The Pursuit of Life’s Dreams

Cat posters always have catchy phrases promoting positive living and the pursuit of dreams. Most children dream of being a famous athlete or actor. When we are young we have high hopes and aspirations. As we get older our dreams are usually met with unanticipated challenges, obstacles and road blocks. I’ve been a dreamer ever since I can remember. I’ve had a ton of dreams dashed against the rocks. Early on it was easy to let people hold me back, you know the folks that say you are crazy for trying something so outlandish.

Beekeeping at one time was a dream. When I wanted to start, I was my worst enemy. I was worried I couldn’t do it and was uncertain about it all. Then, a friend helped me jump in with both feet. Years later I had a dream of making a living from beekeeping. I first pursued trying to have enough hives to make a  living from honey, back when honey was a dollar a pound. That was challenging. But I held to my dream and simply changed my approach. In the early years I lost and wasted lots of money. But I continued to hold to my dream of making a living in beekeeping. I love beekeeping so much that I was determined to make a living beekeeping. That dream was slowly realized over the last decade but I had to do many things I did not know about. Had I known about all of those challenges I think I would have thrown in the towel.

I took baby steps. First I dreamed of making my own hives. I did and they looked nice so I sold a few on EBay 10 years ago. Then around 2005-2006 I started sharing on my blog what I was learning about honey bees. The following of interested people grew very fast.

Then my dream was to sell more hives we built on EBay and I quickly became a power seller. Then I used my web skills and designed my own website. Then I wanted to teach others about beekeeping but I felt I needed to know more, so I studied long and hard and went to conferences and classes. Even then I felt like I didn’t know enough so I knew that if I pursued becoming a certified master beekeeper it would force me to learn in areas I was weak in. So I spent 2 years reading and studying more and more. Finally in 2010 I passed all my certifications. That was a huge accomplishment for me, and another dream fulfilled.

In 2010 the pursuit of becoming a certified MB was taking its toll. I was low on money and time. I had convinced myself that if I couldn’t get certified in 2010 I’d forfeit trying. But I passed all four modules. So you see where I’m going with this, right? A dream costs so much. But if it is really what you want to do, why not spend a decade of hard work and make it happen.

Slowly over the years Sheri and I continued to be loyal to our customers and class students and they appreciated our sincerity and stuck with us and new customers and students continue to support us and our dream is being fulfilled. It is very rewarding.

Look at my dream to have 50,000 subscribers on my YouTube vlog. I have no clue if that is outlandish or possible. But I’m going to work hard at it all year and see. If I don’t reach that dream at the end of this year, I’ll just adjust my end date further out. But never give up on a dream. Maybe I’ll reach 100,000 by the end of the year, that’s the way dreams work. Sometimes you reach them fast, and sometimes you spend a life time. One thing I have learned is that the pursuit of a dream is probably more rewarding than finally reaching it.

What is your dream?  I’ve learned a bunch about pursuing dreams from the honey bee. I know it may sound silly, but sometimes if we overcome one area in our lives, like finally becoming a beekeeper, it builds our confidence to pursue other dreams. 2016 is around the corner. Don’t give up on that dream of yours no matter what it is. Stick to it. You’ll have plenty of people who will be jealous, and try to pull you down but don’t give up. When you hit an obstacle, climb over it. Be encouraged!
Happy New Year!
David and Sheri Burns
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Basic Beekeeping Skills Trumps Gizmos And Gadgets www.honeybeesonline.com 217-427-2678


Hello from David and Sheri Burns at Long Lane Honey Bee Farms located in central Illinois. Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Here’s our youngest son, Christian, taking the first slice on our Thanksgiving turkey. I’m sitting in the middle watching and Sheri’s dad is next to me. We are thankful for our honey bees that made our Thanksgiving meal taste so good. Think of which foods we would not have had without honey bees. Most fruits and vegetables and certainly that wonderful pumpkin pie we owe to the honey bees.

Nov20151 We had a local Girl Scout troop tour our farm. I have a set of frames that have close up photos in the frames instead of foundation. This way I can teach inside my building without opening a hive. This is a very good teaching tool for younger audiences. I enjoy speaking to groups because honey bees always fascinate people.  Their parents asked many questions too and showed an interest in getting started in beekeeping. Passing out some free honey straws is always a winner too.

We have been shipping out our Winter-Bee-Kinds as fast as lightning! Thank you for your patience.

I’ll be speaking December 5th at the University of Illinois Extension workshop entitled, “Getting the Most out of Small Acreage.” 9 AM–2 PM at the 4-H Memorial Camp located at 499 Old Timber Road, Monticello, Illinois. You have to register by November 30th by calling (217) 877-6042 or register online at: http://go.illinois.edu/SmallAcres_Monticello

I’ll be speaking at the American Beekeeping Federation at the Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa in Ponte Vedra Beach (Jacksonville), Florida January 5-9. Leave winter behind and come get some sun and learn more about beekeeping.

I’ll also be teaching at the short course at the Eastern Apicultural Society Conference held this year July 25-29, 2016 at Stockton University, Galloway, NJ, just minutes west of Atlantic City, NJ. This short course is taught by four certified master beekeepers. If you are new to beekeeping or experienced and want to improve your skills mark your calendar.

These are a few things to start putting on your calendar. While you are planning the year, be FOREWARNED that our classes are filling up fast, especially our Beekeeping Institute and our Spring Management class. Every year people are disappointed that our Beekeeping Institute fills up so fast, so don’t delay if you are planning on attending. Check out all of our classes at: http://www.honeybeesonline.com/bee-classes/

Our first Basic Beekeeping Class is Saturday February 20th from 8am-1pm.

Maybe you stood in long lines and battled crowded parking lots on black Friday looking for a few bargains. Maybe you lucked out and single handedly carried that 92” TV out on your shoulder for half price. But maybe there are still gifts to buy for a few hard to buy for folks in your life. Beekeeping is an awesome Christmas gift. Imagine getting your special someone a hive or two, beekeeping equipment and a package of bees. It is the present that will intrigue them for months, maybe years. We have three kits available now that includes bees. Hives and equipment are shipped now in time for Christmas and bees are picked up here in the spring. Here are a few examples. Every year we sell many kits as Christmas presents. Please let us know, so that we can keep it a secret. Some people have us ship them to an friend’s house so the spouse doesn’t look inside when UPS delivers a huge box.  Click on the images below for more information.

Freedom Kit 2016a Liberty Kit 2016a Independence Kit 2016a

We also carry  T-Shirts, Jewelry and Skin Care for women at our sister site. These make cool gifts!

1994First HiveThis photo of me appeared in a newspaper article when we lived in Ohio. I have so many fond memories of starting as a new beekeeper. Look at that flume of smoke. I was scared to death! This was probably my first time to open a hive. ‘94 was before YouTube, the Internet, beekeeping classes and there were very few books on beekeeping. I’m standing right in front of the hive, a rookie mistake. I made many more mistakes that year. Obviously I’ve learned so much more in two decades.

To be a successful beekeeper requires learning and implementing skills and techniques that can only be gained by years of keeping bees. Is there a fast and easy way to keep bees? A button to push? A ton of gizmos and gadgets have come and gone since I started in 1994. Tools, devices, different styles of hives, battery powered stuff, solar powered things, not to mention a host of natural oils and potions leave beekeepers wondering which is best. Some of these probably have helped. But the truth is you can never replace solid beekeeping skills and experience with new gizmos and gadgets.

This spring a surge of new beekeepers will enter the playing field. This is mainly due to the increase interest in beekeeping but partly due to major stores now carrying beehives. These prospective beekeepers are now racing to buy the coveted package of bees to shake in their new hives. Unless these new beekeepers complete a thorough beekeeping course we are likely to see one of the largest die outs of honey bees ever. When bees are mismanaged they usually die.

When you go to a large box store and buy your beekeeping equipment it is unlikely that the clerk can answer your beekeeping questions from years of experience. You may not have any idea where to buy your bees. Or you may be an experienced beekeeper and have friends that will be starting soon. Please lead them to credible classes where they can learn about controlling varroa destructor, seasonal management and when and how to feed bees.

While beekeeping is fun and enjoyable it also requires a certain amount of responsibility as in caring for any animal. The more we are armed with knowledge and skills the more we will enjoy beekeeping.

Here are several suggestions for the new year for both new and experienced beekeepers.

1. Don’t immediately fall for the newest trend or fad. New ideas and discoveries can certainly improve how we keep bees but these should never replace the hard and fast proven principles of beekeeping.

2. Find a credible source, an expert beekeeper, who can evaluate new information and discoveries. People are constantly calling me and asking my opinions on new discoveries because they know I am cautiously optimistic. Most of us are gullible and fall for fancy advertisements that promise easy success. But slow and steady wins the race.

3.  You can read all the beekeeping books in the world but you’ll never gain as much experience and skill as you will when you open up a hive and have an expert beekeeper walk you through it and answer your questions.

4.  Do not put all your hope in the package bee or queen producer. In other words don’t think that if you buy so and so’s bees or queen that your bees will make it through the winter. Bees are bees. The differences between types of bees are so marginally in comparison to the huge challenges that pests, diseases and winter present.

5. Put in the time necessary to keep bees. Every two weeks take a look and see how your hives are doing. Not knowing the health of your queen and colony usually results in a hive dying in the fall or winter. Be taught how to properly inspect your hives and what actions to take to keep your bees healthy.

6. Be careful not to make wrong choices in the spring. You will be elated in the spring if your bees survive. But one or two spring mistakes may cause your overwintered hive to crash and die in the spring. For example, if you divide or split your hive too early, both hives may die. If you feed them liquid too soon nosema can spread. This year we are offering a class specifically for Spring Management: Spring: Splits, Swarms, Supering and Survival

7. Have the right equipment on hand before you need it. You need extra equipment to catch that swarm, a nuc box to keep a spare queen in, a queen cage to carry that queen to the queenless hive etc. Be prepared for anything and everything.

Thanks for letting us share these thoughts with you today. Be sure and check out our following beekeeping media tools:

Videos, Podcasts, Lessons

Happy Holidays!

David and Sheri Burns

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Questions Your Bees Are Dying You Will Ask www.honeybeesonline.com 217-427-2678

2016 Cal Trip

Hello from Long Lane Honey Bee Farms!  We made it back from our trip to California. We went through 9 states and we posted flyers and promoting our business at various places along the way.

I took this picture from high atop Mount San Jacinto looking out over Palm Springs, California. We enjoyed riding the Tram to the top and back. We had fun observing bees on flowers that we do not have here in the Midwest,

While I was in California I spent a day near Piru, California. Not too far from where I was I saw a few hundred hives pollinating the beautiful crops in that area. You know me, I wanted to get out and inspect the hives, but a NO TRESSPASSING sign kept me out. We ate supper in Gallup, New Mexico where we got  a taste of true New Mexico culinary. They showed us how to tear some fried bread open and fill it with honey. It was real honey too! It was a fun trip but there’s no place like home. Karee and Haley kept things running for us back home.

David Holding Luke Nov 2016 Our daughter, Jennifer, who answers the phones and works in the office, had her baby. Say hello to Luke, our 10th grandchild and our 3rd grandson. Everyone is doing fine and we are excited to see our family growing.

Today we will answer some of the more common questions beekeepers ask us from around the country.

When Should I Feed And Stop Feeding My Bees?

It's never a bad idea to feed bees especially when installing a new package of bees. As long as bees need to draw out new foundation 1:1 sugar water is always a good idea.

Stop feeding bees when their consumption of sugar water is greatly reduced. This means they are relying on natural floral sources for food.

Bees ALWAYS need fed in late summer and fall. Do not use an entrance feeder at this time or it may cause other hives to rob your hive. Feed from inside the hive from the top during late summer and fall. Check out our suggested feeders.

Always use a candy board during the winter to ensure your bees do not run out of food.

Do not feed bees when they are filling honey supers because you want real honey from flowers, not sugar honey.

When Do Your Packages Go On Sale?

We are excited to offer 3 lb packages of bees for 2016. We've been doing this for 7 years so we know a thing or two about packages of bees. Many people have called us and are concerned that due to the new surge in beekeeping, packages will be more difficult to come by this year. It's possible. We are now selling packages with our hive kits today! See our complete line of available hive kits with and without bees by clicking here or by going to:www.honeybeesonline.com/bee-hive-kits/

Our hive kits make awesome Christmas gifts. They will never guess what that huge box is under the tree. And, sign them up for a class in the winter and they’ll be pumped up for spring beekeeping.  Check out our package bees kits today.

Freedom Kit With Bees

Liberty Kit With Bees

Independence Kit With Bees

Does Beekeeping Take Much Time?

Caring for bees does not take as much time as caring for other animals such as chickens, dogs or horses. Bees are insects and are able to get their own food and water. There are key times of the year when bees may need fed. Most beekeepers enjoy spending time caring for their bees because they enjoy the activity.

Why Is Taking A Beekeeping Class So Important?

Books, YouTube videos and other beekeepers may be a big help. However, learning the craft of beekeeping hands on from a certified master beekeeper can make it much more understandable. This week I spoke to several beekeepers whose hives are failing due to a lack knowledge and understanding as to how to inspect hives and what to do. Their hives could have been saved had they paid closer attention to their queen’s productivity and varroa mites. Taking a class can really make the difference. We now have our 2016 classes online. Registrations fills up fast so reserve your class spots today!

Feb. 20th  Saturday 8am-1pm  Basic Beekeeping Class

Addition Basic Classes are also offered on Saturday March 12th, Friday March 18th, Saturday April 2nd, Sunday April 3rd, Thursday June 1 and Saturday October 15th. For full details on all our classes visit: http://www.honeybeesonline.com/beekeeping-classes/

Swarm on ladder Spring: Splits, Swarms, Supering, & Survival Saturday March 19th 9am-1pm Once your bees survive the winter, knowing what to do next is crucial. When to split? How to prevent swarming? When to add supers? Join us for this exciting new spring class. There are many decision that must be made in the spring for the health and well being of your hives. We’ve listened to our customer’s suggestions and finally a class specifically directed at answering spring issues.

Bee Institute June 10, 11, 12th

The Bee Institute is one of our more popular courses we teach. It fills up very fast. It is taught over three 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.

Should I be Scared?

Some people are scared of bugs and especially ones that can sting. While honey bees can sting, you'll soon realize that honey bees are not like hornets and wasps. Bees are easy to work provided you take the necessary precautions and learn how to work your bees to minimize stings. I have leaned to work my bees without gloves or a suit. Take a class with me so I can teach you.

Is It Safe To Use Old Equipment?

used equipment Used beekeeping equipment is empty because the bees that once were in there died. Why? It is anyone's guess. But, since you don't know if they died of a disease it is best not to take the chance unless you know for certain that no disease was ever present in the used equipment. No matter how much you try and clean used equipment, spores of some diseases cannot be destroy with bleach or freezing.


When Should I Put On My Winter-Bee-Kind?

As the weather begins to cool down across the US we begin to ship the Winter-Bee-Kinds. We ship in the order in which the orders were placed. There is really no need to place them on a hive as long as your bees can fly. If it is warm enough for bees to fly, usually above 50 degrees (f), you should consider feeding your bees sugar water. Once it turns so cold that bees will not fly again for the winter, then the Winter-Bee-Kinds can be placed on the hive.

If you call first, you can stop in and pick up winter-bee-kinds. Some days we may ship everything we have made so do call first.

When Do I Add My Next Hive Box?

Always start with only one deep hive body with a new package. When the bees draw out or add wax to 5 or 6 frames it is time to add the next hive body box. Use the same principle for each box. When 5 or 6 frames are drawn out add the next box. Use this same principle when adding supers. If you give the bees all the boxes at once, they may "chimney" up the middle rather than pulling out frames from side to side.

When To Add The Next Box

New eBook On Getting Your Bees Through The Winter

"Getting Your Bees Through The Winter." Available on Amazon or from our website.

Don't Be Fooled. Your Bees Need Fed This Fall

Use Our Fall Feeding System

Burns Bees Feeding System

Feeding Your Bees In The Fall

Feeding Your Bees In The Fall

66% of new beekeepers are women! So come browse, shop and read awhile. Besides quality beekeeping equipment, you'll see a complete line of jewelry, shirts, bags and skin care. Be sure and check out Sheri's new website geared more for women beekeepers.


Check Out More Questions And Answers

Our website is full of additional answers to all your questions...Learn More

217-427-2678  |  www.honeybeesonline.com

Like us on Facebook View our videos on YouTube

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Bottom Board Openings 3/4” or 3/8”?? www.honeybeesonline.com 217-427-2678

Fall Thanks for joining us here at www.honeybeesonline.com for some more beekeeping insights. Every time we make a beekeeping post they rapidly circulate through the beekeeping community. We find our materials and insights published in books, articles and on other beekeepers’ websites. There is a famous quote that says, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” We enjoy posting these lessons because we know it will help beekeepers become more successful.

Our first beekeeping blog was posted September 6, 2007. We’ve been sending out vital beekeeping information now for over 8 years. It requires a great deal of research, writing, testing and experience to be able to publish each of these blogs/lessons/articles. Thank you for joining us and keeping track of us through this blog. And a big thank you for those who support us through making us your main source for all of your beekeeping needs. We make our living from you buying our hives and beekeeping equipment and we appreciate it.

pumpkins Here in Illinois we are having a very typical fall. Most asters are drying out, grass is slowing down, and the nights are getting cooler. While our bees are preparing for winter, so are we. We are looking for any cracks around windows and door that need caulked to keep cold air from getting in. I told a friend that up north, our homes are similar to bee hives. While bees need about 70 pounds of stored honey to make it through the winter,  we have to provide about 1,000 gallons of propane to our house to make it through the winter. I have to replace a couple of windows, place some snow plow markers around, and the list goes on.

We are also having our last beekeeping class for 2015 coming up this Saturday. We still have two spots open, so sign up today if you are thinking about taking a basic beekeeping class for beginners. Click here for more info. Our 2016 class schedule is being arranged now and will be posted within the next month. Our first round of classes usually is not offered until February 2016, so this is your last chance for a class this year.

Christian corn maze 2015 If you can not think about winter coming then fall can be a very fun time of the year. We enjoy fall because it is a time to celebrate the bounty of summer. Harvest time means that everything went pretty well during the summer. Harvesting honey means that the bees did well all year. We enjoy pumpkins, the beauty of mums and the fun of going through corn mazes. Here in Illinois, there are places that will make huge corn mazes. This one was shaped like an eagle and was made in honor of our service men and women. I took this picture of Christian standing next to the marine marker.

Fall is baseball at its best with playoffs and the World Series! My oldest son is a big Cardinal fan and this year he forced me and Christian to go to a few games with him in St. Louis. It was Christian’s first time to go to a major league baseball game so we were teaching him the traditions such as the unique claps, corn dogs, overpriced cokes and the words to “Take Me Out To The Ball Game.” 

Christain Home run ball My oldest son David and my middle son Seth do nothing but think about the Cardinals. They never get an autograph, never catch a fly ball, never get close to the players but boy, would they love that. If any of you have connections, hook ‘em up. Anyway, on Christian’s second game a Cincinnati Reds’ player hit the longest left-handed home run in the new Stadium’s history. Well the ball bounced around in the stands and fell back on the field. An out fielder threw it over toward the guy sitting along the foul line and he stood up and tossed it right to Christian and he caught it! They were jealous.

Speaking of our marine son, Seth, he’s made it safely through his second deployment in the middle east and will be getting home soon. We are looking forward to seeing him again soon.

While fall is a fun time it does make us evaluate our hives and decide whether they are ready for winter. Have you noticed how different bees behave in the fall after the nectar flow ends? They are desperately scouring your property looking for anything sweet. I spilt a little bit of sugar in the back of my truck and I had a hundred bees on it. This is the season when hives rob smaller hives which has caused me to consider the bottom board. Let’s talk about this for a minute.

Okay beekeepers, here are two tips for you.

Yellow Jacket Know the difference between a yellow jacket and a honey bee. People will be calling you asking you to remove honey bees from their compost piles and homes, but when you arrive you will quickly see the difference. Bees have NO yellow on them at all. I always ask the homeowner to send me a picture. Here’s a picture I took of a yellow jacket eating with honey bees. See the difference? The yellow jacket has clear yellow and black markings and look at how long the yellow jacket antennae are.Entrance2

The second tip is to be sure to place your entrance reducers on your hives now. Mice are  starting to find a warm home now that the nights are cooler.

BBFS Once again we are hard at work making our Burns Bees Feeding Systems which are a great way to feed your bees in the fall.  It comes with 2 holes for jars and one hole for patties. I like to feed my bees one jar of 2:1 and the other jar with 1:1. The first is for storage of honey and the 1:1 is to help build up fall brood for healthy spring and summer bees. These systems are screened so that you can change your jars and patties without bees bothering you.Maximize your effort to feed your bees prior to winter.

I recommend using these and feed your bees liquid as long as they can fly. I just posted a new video online so you can see how to place these on your hive. If the video doesn’t play, here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OdpqHnKXuMM

When the temperature dips below 50 degrees (f) in the day, bees will stop foraging and that’s when I recommend feeding them with our Winter-Bee-Kind candy board all winter.


Let’s talk about the opening of the bottom board spacing without a reducer. Years ago the bottom board was referred to as a reversible bottom board. This meant that if you flip it over on one side the entrance opening would be 3/4 of an inch. Flip it over on the other side and the entrance opening would be 3/8 of an inch. We’ve always made our bottom boards this way, only we do not place a back piece on the 3/8 side because hardly anyone flips the bottom boards any longer.

BB Let’s talk about why they used to flip the bottom boards. The reversing of the bottom board was a practice where you would actually flip it to the 3/8” (smallest opening) during the summer and the larger 3/4” opening in the winter. The thought was that during the winter, the larger spacing of 3/4 of an inch allowed an area inside on the bottom board for dead winter bees to fall and collect away from the winter cluster. And the smaller opening of 3/8” in the summer was believed to reduce robber bees.

Over the last 20 years most people have forgotten the reversible idea and strictly run a 3/4” opening when making bottom boards. After all, it does take a great deal of work to take the hive apart down to the bottom board in order to reverse it. And let’s be practical. First, a healthy colony is very good at removing dead bees from their hive on the first warm winter day. Secondly, a strong colony can defend itself against other colonies attempting to rob its honey stores. But there’s another part of this idea that is starting to intrigue me.

A friend of mine observed that bees land on the bottom board, go to the nearest wall and walk up and then cross over. This is why we see most foragers land toward one side of a bottom board. They are attempting to grain faster access to their wall so they can gain faster access to going up into their hive and then walking across. That’s a slew of walking. It’s not impossible for bees to enter a wall or tree and walk to where their comb is located. However, to be able to enter a colony and immediately gain access to comb does seem more practical to me. This can be achieved by reversing the bottom board to the smaller 3/8” opening because it drops the bottom of the deep hive body frame down closer to the screen bottom board. A foraging bee can land, walk it and simply raise up onto the comb and walk up on any frame rather than having to go to the wall.

EntranceForager bees usually enter a colony and hand off their payload to house bees who walk it up into the honey super. So I really do not know where this transfer takes place. On the wall? Or does the forager have to walk into the comb where house bees are waiting? By my observation, it appears it does not take place on the wall but within the comb which makes sense. If this is the case, then it makes sense that bees would rather enter and choose which comb to gain access to from the bottom rather than having to walk up above the first deep and then back down or up from there.

I observed this activity for some time and I did not see one single bee fly up from the bottom board onto frames. Bees cannot jump, so they were indeed heading to the side wall to go up.

Before you jump to conclusions and form a rigid opinion, wait!  I am NOT saying that 3/4” openings reduces a colonies healthy or ability to store resources.  Nor am I saying that a smaller opening will improve a colony’s honey production. At the most I am simply suggesting it may reduce the distance bees have to walk to get to where they are going. Whether or not that changes things, I simply do not know.

But, if you want to try it why not. You can see if it makes any difference. We are now adding the extra back piece to all our bottom boards we sell simple to give customers that option if they so choose.

Now, my own person perspective. I like the idea of the smaller opening year round for several reasons. First, reducing the walk time of foragers. Secondly, the smaller opening should reduce robbing in the fall, and mice in the winter. I said “reduce,” not eliminate. Mice are very hard to keep out of hives. In their natural habitat bees always choose smaller openings and will even add propolis to reduce entrances. However, there are less pieces of equipment that support the 3/8” spacing. Most feeders, pollen traps, etc., are made to fit the standard 3/4”. Again, this is something that you can make up your own mind about.

66% of new beekeepers are women! So come browse, shop and read awhile. Besides quality beekeeping equipment, you’ll see a complete line of jewelry, shirts, bags and skin care. Be sure and check out Sheri’s new website geared more for women beekeepers. www.beekeepingchicks.com


Check out our complete line of beekeeping supplies at www.honeybeesonline.com and call or come by and see us. 217-427-2678
David and Sheri Burns

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Fall Is The Most Dangerous And Challenging Season For Honey Bees 217-427-2678 www.honeybeesonline.com


Hello from David and Sheri Burns. Can you believe it will be fall on Wednesday. I believe fall is the most challenging and dangerous season for honey bees. In this lesson I’ll share what those dangers and challenges are and what you can do to better prepare your hives for fall.

Before we begin, let me remind you that our last “Getting Your Bees Through The Winter” class is this coming Saturday and we still have two spots opened. Register online, or call us between 10am-3pm central time and get those two spots. 217-427-2678

If you cannot attend our final class, be sure and get this class via our new ebook available on Amazon or from our website.

2014Class Fall is a great time to take a Beginners Beekeeping class and we have one coming up Saturday October 10th. This class is almost full but some spots are still available. If you are thinking about becoming a beekeeper or you are keeping bees but have never taken a formal class, this class is for you. Register online or call us. Taking a fall Beginners class will give you the tools you need to be better prepared and ahead of the game in the spring.

Recently someone asked me what are the 3 most important hive components to have as a beekeeper, besides the obvious smoker, hive tool and protective gear. That’s a good question, but I didn’t have to think twice.  1. A complete hive for when your hive has a growth explosion and needs to be split. Or to have a home to put the swarm in that you captured. 2.  A 5 frame nuc hive. It’s a 5 frame (deep size) box with a screen bottom board for ventilation, 5 frames and foundation and a top cover. These are great baby hives to have a stand-by queen available in case of an emergency queen event. They are also useful to support observation hives or to pull frames out to support weak colonies. It takes very little effort to have 4 or 5 nucs running to support your hives.  3. Medium supers.  This year I have seen so many beekeepers fail to place enough supers on their hives to capture the maximum amount of honey for the year. The hives here at our training center actually filled up 4 supers each. If I had only placed one or two on, I would have missed the chance to harvest more honey.

We continue to make improvements to our website. We work hard to provide our customers with an easy to navigate and very secure website. Shopping online is fun, easy and convenient. I love to do it. Security issues are at the forefront of our work. You’ll see a new image at the bottom of our website that says,  GeoTrust QuickSSL. Our site has always been secure but GeoTrust SSL certificate lets our customers know that our site provides the highest level of encryption and security possible.  This means you can rest assured that communications between your browser and our website is private and secure. We’ve got the certification to prove it.

Drones1 Every morning I walk around my hives and just see how the bees are flying. This morning, from a distance I noticed dead bees on the bottom board entrance. Sometimes you see this the day after you inspect a hive, but I did not open them this week due to the heavy nectar flow. As I approached the hive, my fears were relieved when I saw that those were drones. They are killing the drones! This is what a colony does this time of the year, in the fall in preparation for winter. Drones are useful during the spring and summer to mate with virgin queens. But now, queen rearing is over. It’s too late in the year to raise new queens so they are getting ride of their male population. Occasionally a few drones may overwinter, but usually a colony doesn’t overwinter with drones because drones are not workers and are heavy consumers of precious winter stores of food. A colony must be very protective of their winter pollen and honey or they might starve in March or sooner.

Drone3 You’ll start seeing dead bees around your entrance but don’t panic. Just double check to be sure they are drones. A drone has a larger body and their eyes are larger and touch in the middle.  Also, you may notice worker bees will pull out drone pupae. Before the drone can even mature, the house bees open up the cells and drag them out, making more room to store resources or for the queen to lay eggs for winter bees. Winter bees can live 6-9 months. A summer worker bee only lives about 40 days.


Pollen1 Again, we are getting a lot of phone calls about funny smells from the hive. This is the smell of aster honey being cured by the bees. Again, stay calm and enjoy this fall odor from the hive. Can you harvest golden rod honey? Yes, at first the taste may be noticeably different than clover, but as the honey sits in buckets or is mixed with clover the taste and smells is minimized.

If you are worried about harvesting funny tasting fall honey simply open up the hive, and poke your finger in a frame of sealed honey and evaluate the taste. If you can’t stand it, leave it for the bees. They’ll enjoy it. If you like it, make sure you leave 80 pounds of honey on the hive if you live in north and harvest the rest.

Now, can fall really be a dangerous and challenging time for your hives? Yes, here’s 6 reasons why:

1. Accidently killing the queen when harvesting honey frames.

In the fall, beekeepers are harvesting honey. The risk of killing the queen or accidently removing her in a super of honey is greatly increased. Before I harvest my supers, I find my queen and temporarily cage her so that I can work my hives fast in the fall to prevent robbing. Then I release her back into her hive after I’m finished working my hive. Remember, the drones are dead. So if you kill your queen they cannot raise a replacement queen because she cannot mate with drones. If you see a queen cell, it just means you’ll get stuck with a virgin queen all winter. She will never mate if she does not mate after she is 21 days old. She will not mate in the spring if she failed to take a mating flight late in the year.

2. Failure to keep mice out of the hive.

Mouse2 Mice are licking their chops, and their mouths are watering wanting to consume your bees. As soon as nights turn cold mice move in. We are already having nights in the mid 40s. Mice are looking for warm places and your hive is a perfect place. The warmth produced by the bees, fresh pollen and honey and bees to munch on is perfect for mice.  NOW IS THE TIME to take action. This week!! Don’t delay. Reduce your entrances. Our hives come complete with entrance reducers. Set it to the smallest opening.

3. Harvesting too much honey.  It’s so tempting to keep taking more and more honey off the hive. It looks so nice in your bottles with your fancy label. Your customers are throwing tens and twenties at you for that precious gold. But if you harvest too much,  your bees will not have enough to tied them over through late winter and early spring. I try and leave one full super on each hive for winter.

winterbkind But I also place extra insurance on my hive by placing our Winter-Bee-Kinds on my hives all winter. This ensures me that they will not run out of food. We will begin shipping these in November in the order that orders were placed.

You need to leave 60-80 pounds of honey on the hive for winter. Don’t be too greedy.



While golden rod keeps bees all covered with pollen, pollen baskets packed and honey stomachs full, it will soon stop.

4. Fall starvation. This is different than taking too much honey. Some falls have been proceeded by a long dearth. Bees eat through their winter stores during fall and have nothing in the winter. That’s why I feed my bees in the fall. Once I see that the nectar flow has ended I start feeding my bees sugar water and pollen patties. They will for sure need fed after the first frost kills all the flowers. I run our Burns Bees Feeding System that has two jar holes and one pollen patty hole. All holes are protected with screen so you can change your jars and patty without bees getting out. I place 2:1 in one jar to help the bees cure it into “honey.” The other jar has 1:1 so the bees can consume it and use it for brood stimulation to help me build up my brood of spring bees. Feed! Feed! Feed!

5. Mites are shifting from drones to workers and increasing in number, spreading viruses in your colony. If you think you do not have varroa mites, you are wrong. All colonies have mites. In our winter classes we actually teach you how to test for mites and calculate your hive’s percentage of infestation. Do not think you do not have mites simply because you do not see any. You have them! Get rid of them. Mites prefer drones, but now that drones are being killed, mites are now parasitizing your worker brood. And when mites have viruses, they spread them to worker bees which shortens the life of that winter bee from 6-9 months to 3-4.5 months. That means a bee born in October would have lived until May or June will now only live to January or February. Sound familiar? Do nothing to get rid of mites and your hive will probably not make it to see March or April.

6. Improper inspection can cause the hive to be robbed out. You go out to inspect your hive or remove honey supers. There’s no nectar flow. You separate your boxes stacking them around your hive. Pretty soon you seem engulfed by robber bees swarming around you hive. Those desperate fall bees have gotten a sniff of honey from your opened hive and they have plotted a course to rob it out.

I plan to make a video on how to make these inspections in the fall. The trick is to keep all boxes covered that are separate from the colony. Use extra top covers to encase open boxes while you inspect. Don’t keep your hive open in the fall, during a dearth for more than 10 minutes. Do NOT leave your queen excluder on for winter. Place your entrance reducer on the hive before you start your inspection.

Final fall tips:

Never use entrance feeders at the front of the hive in the fall. It will cause robbing.
If you break the top propolis seal after it turns cold use a heavy rock or brick to prevent the top from blowing off.
Prepare some sort of wind break for winter.
Combine weak hives with large ones. Kill the queen in the weak hive and place newspaper between the different combined boxes. The bees will eat through the paper and by that time they will get along.

Thank you for ordering from us here at Long Lane Honey Bee Farms. We know you can go to the big box stores but we’d like to thank you for ordering from a small, family business.

Sheri has created a great sister website for women beekeepers called www.beekeepingchicks.com  She has colorful beekeeping suits, jewelry and more. Check it out.

David and Sheri Burns