Welcome to Long Lane Honey Bee Farms, we are David & Sheri Burns with a passion to help others become beekeepers, and a compassion toward honey bees.
WE WANT TO HELP YOU KEEP HONEY BEES!!
In today’s lesson, I’ll take a look at honey bees festooning. To me it is almost as much fun to watch bees festoon as it is to say the word, festoon. But before we get into today’s lesson, we’ve had lots going on around the apiary!
FoxNews was here for a whole day on Thursday doing a story about the rapid increase in honey prices. It was really fun for us to hang out with the news team. They brought a large satellite truck from Chicago and several others, like reporters and producers and a sound tech.
Their goal was to produce some “teasers” live, and then to have 3 live segments on beekeeping. The rain held off and the bees were very cooperative.
They installed a small camera in one of our Top Bar Hives and they called it the honey cam. They ran large cables and set up a couple of satellite dishes and wireless antennas for camera and mics…our farm has never seen such technology!
The fellow setting up the honey cam never wore a hat or veil and never got stung. In fact, the only person that was stung was the camera woman. That’s pretty common because those large cameras are black with a huge black fuzzy bear like mic cover and cameras usually give off a vibration which the bees can detect. She took a sting on the arm, but took it like a beekeeping pro.
The interviewer was Jeff Flock, a well-known reporter who actually worked and help start CNN. Jeff was amazed that he could touch bees and not get stung.
They were reporting on the rapidly rising price of honey, showing that it’s gone up about 11% and may continue to climb due to the stresses placed on producing honey.
I always welcome the opportunity to promote beekeeping nationally. I was on FoxNews a couple of years ago with Nel Cavuto talking about bees, so this was another fun time at Long Lane Honey Bee Farms! There are two archives of the live broadcasts:
Click here for the first broadcast Click here for the second broadcast
And, we were featured in Country Woman Magazine in their August/September edition which is due out any day, so watch magazine stands and get a copy of this 4 page article on how we raise queens! Look for the cover to the left for the magazine that we are in.
This was another great opportunity to promote beekeeping in a national magazine as this magazine has a annual circulation of over 3 million!
Many people have asked us where they can find Country Woman Magazine, and it’s available in bookstores, farm stores and most places that sell magazines.
But if you can’t find the magazine, you can read a condensed version of the article online. The article is called "Bow To The Queens (Illinois bee farmers raise royalty for hives nationwide.)"
LESSON 106: Festooning Of The Honey Bee
The word festoon usually relates to flowers or fabric that is loosely linked together with ribbon and is extended between two points. So when we say that bees are festooning, we mean that they are linked together by hanging on to each other’s legs forming a long line or bee web, sometimes extending the full size of a frame.
To teach a lesson on this, I researched why bees festoon. I found several speculations, but more serious research reveals that the reason for festooning is somewhat unknown. Some claim that bees festoon in order to build new comb or to pass along wax scales, certainly that is true. Some research found that bees build as much comb and produce as much wax without having to festoon.
Worker honey bees are able to build wax combs because of their wax glands on the underside of their abdomen. Bees between 12-18 days old secret wax scales from these glands. The last four visible sections of the abdomen secret these wax scales, two on each side, making a total of 8 small oval wax chips. But here’s the catcher! In order for bees to build comb they have to produce lots of wax scales AND in order to produce lots of wax scales they must consume large amounts of honey or nectar. Bees must eat about 8 ounces of honey to then be able to produce 1 ounce of wax.
Due to a cold and rainy spring and a late start to summer, our bees are far behind on wax building because they have not been able to fly and gather as much nectar. The less incoming nectar, the less wax can be made and the less wax, the less combs are drawn out. The less nectar, and wax, the less the queen is fed, and the less she will lay. The entire colony’s progress is stunted. And to really build comb nicely, it must be hot, not cool outside. So hot, dry days with lots of flowers to forage on makes a healthy, growing hive of honey bees. Anything short of that and the colony will suffer.
The entire process for a bee to remove 1 scale from it’s abdomen and manipulate it and attaching it to the comb takes 4 minutes.
Normally, bees do not need fed after sufficient natural nectar sources are available. However, during poor weather, feeding bees 1:1 sugar water can help compensate for a lack of nectar or rainy, cool days when bees cannot fly and gather nectar.
Thanks for joining us for another popular lesson on beekeeping from Long Lane Honey Bee Farms. Visit us online at: www.honeybeesonline.com or call us during our regular business hours.
Gotta run now and deal with a bunch of swarm cells. See you next time!