We find beekeeping to be a hoot! More and more people are entering the exciting hobby of beekeeping. Some become beekeepers to sell honey, others keep bees to help pollinate their gardens and orchards Others keep bees simply to stop the decline in honey bees. Without honey bees we will suffer a loss in fruits and vegetables we so enjoy. One out of three bites of food is attributed to the pollination of a honey bee. We need more beekeepers.
There are additional benefits in keeping bees. Keeping bees can be educational, relaxing and financially rewarding. Almost daily someone will call us and tell us they are interested in keeping bees. Sometimes, these are people who want to be an urban beekeeper and keep bees on their balcony or in their backyard. Others have bought more land or a farm and are seeking to be more self-sufficient and want to use a more natural sweetener while increasing the pollination of their raised beds or gardens.
Hello, we are David and Sheri Burns and thanks for stopping by our blog. We are beekeepers and we operate our family business called Long Lane Honey Bee Farms. We live in central Illinois down a long lane scattered with bee hives. We manufacture beekeeping equipment, sell bees and queens, teach beekeeping classes, remove hives from homes and buildings and more. We do everything associated with bees. It’s out hope that we can encourage you to consider becoming a beekeeper, or if you are a beekeeper we hope we can help guide you to become more successful. We appreciate your business and we know you have lots of choices where to purchase your beekeeping supplies. We appreciate you choosing our hard working family to meet your beekeeping needs. Thank you in advance.
We have openings in our March 9th and our March 23rd Beginning Beekeeping Classes. Click here for more information These classes are filling up quickly, so register soon to ensure you reserve your spot.
In today’s lesson, let’s examine exactly how the bees make honey. It’s probably different than you thought. But before we begin today’s lesson, I want to bring you up to date on what’s going on with our business and family.
Sheri and I just had our 6th granddaughter! My oldest son David and his wife Nikki gave birth to healthy Avery. My son David was instrumental in helping start our business. In those humble beginning days, David and I did everything ourselves. It was a much smaller business, but it was amazing how we invented processes and designed equipment most of which we are still using today, with improvements and expansions of course. Congratulations David and Nikki.
Our middle son Seth became a Marine back in October and last week he graduated from the School of Infantry at Camp Pendleton. He’s now at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California…the Mojave desert. Sheri and I flew out to his recent graduation and enjoyed trading an Illinois winter for the wonderful weather of southern California.
Our visit with Seth was brief but Sheri and I enjoyed soaking up some vitamin D. Sheri and I are big into motorcycling, so we rented a Harley Electra Glide and road up into the mountains until we got too cold and had to come down. The San Diego area can be pretty congested for us rural Illinoisans, so I gave Sheri a ride of her life flying through 7 lanes of rush hour traffic. In California, it is legal for motorcyclists to ride between cars.
Sheri came up with a great hive kit special while we were out in California. I’m calling it Sheri’s Valentine Special. It’s a completely assembled and painted hive, a package of bees with a queen, and an equipment kit that includes a smoker, hive tool, hat and veil. That’s not all. It also includes a 4 hour beekeeping class. Click here for more information on Sheri’s Valentine Special.
NOTICE: We are almost sold out of individual packages of bees. If you are still hoping to buy a package for pickup, you’ll need to call us this week. We are saving packages that are included with our hive kits. 217-427-2678.
There is a big emphasis on purchasing local nucs. A nuc is when you take out the heart of a hive, usually 4 or 5 frames of bees, honey and pollen, brood in various stages and the queen. We have just a few left so if you want to purchase a nuc, click here. Pickup only, of course. Many people prefer a nuc because there is less chance the hive will abscond when being installed in a hive (frames being transferred) and the queen is already accepted and has been laying for some time. Here is a picture of a nuc with the top removed so you can see the bees. You transport your nuc home, and then transfer your 4 frames over to your new hive. Click here to order now. Only a few left.
BLOGGER READERS SPECIAL
On Wednesday February 6th we are offering free shipping on our completely assembled and painted hive. However you must call in to receive free shipping and use COUPON CODE Z478C. This is our way of thanking your for being one of our blogger followers. Just give us a call this Wednesday 8:30am – 4:30pm central time. This offer only applies toward the purchase of one completely assemble hive, item #1 Click Here To Review Hive
LESSON 131: HOW DO BEES MAKE HONEY?What is honey? We know that honey comes from a honey bee hive. But exactly what is involved in making that delicious sweetener from the hive? Honey is largely nectar gathered from flowers and carried into the hive. However, there is much more that goes into making honey. It takes ten pounds of nectar to make one pound of honey. Similar to the way maple syrup is made, the moisture must be evaporated from nectar so that it can become honey. It isn't called honey until the bees reduce the moisture content to around 18% and add some enzymes to it. To better help you understand the whole process, let’s start with a drop of nectar on a flower and let’s follow a bee as she gathers the nectar. Around the age of 23 days old, a honey bee is old enough to begin flying out of the hive to gather nectar, pollen, water and propolis. Prior to day 23 she has been restricted by age to in house hive duties. First, she takes orientation flights around the hive so she can remember how to find her way back from a long flight out. We refer to bees that fly and gather resources as foragers. Now that she knows her hive location, she works her way to the dance floor where an experienced forager is passing out samples of nectar that she has just gathered from a flower. And she is doing the waggle dance, a figure eight dance that directs other foragers to the location of the nectar source. For more information on the waggle dance (video) click here. The waggle dance reveals the distance to the flower, a sample of the nectar and the direction of flight. Once our new forager has her flight path laid in, away she goes with one mission, to find the location, fill her honey stomach with nectar and when full, return to the hive. While she is gathering nectar, the flower awards her with pollen which she will store on her back legs for the flight home. Both pollen and nectar are the colony’s main food source. She will fly back to her hive fully loaded with 80% of her body weight in pollen and honey. That’s the equivalent of a 200 pound man carrying 160 pounds, for miles! Once our forager arrives back at her hive, she must unload her surplus. She is met by a house bee on transport duty. The forager will deflate her honey stomach just enough to dispense a droplet at a time through her tongue, giving the house bee a droplet of nectar. The house bee begins to work the droplet in her mouth pieces for about 20 minutes which helps in the drying process. She also will add enzymes to the nectar which helps break down the complex sugars into simple sugars as well as protecting it from bacteria. The transport house bee will carry the droplet of nectar up to the honey comb that is currently being filled by other transport bees. The droplet is then placed in an opened cell. Other house bees fan their wings at 11,400 times per minute to help evaporate the moisture from the nectar. Once the nectar reaches a moisture content of around 18%, more house bees will seal over the comb with wax. The reason honey is sealed with wax is the same reason we can our food. It will preserve the honey, keeping additional moisture from being absorbed into the honey. Honey Gathering Bullet Facts:
- Drones (male bees) and queens do not gather nectar. Only the mature, female worker bees forage for resources.
- All raw honey will eventually crystallize.
- Crystallized honey is very good to eat, but it can be re-liquefied when heated to 104 (f) degrees. Heating over 104 (f) degrees can damage the taste and reduce healthy enzymes.
- Honey will crystallize fastest between 55 (f) – 63 (f) degrees.
- Honey is not likely to crystallize if it is kept below 40 (f) or above 104 (f) as this is the temperature in which the crystals melt.
Thank you in advance.
David and Sheri Burns
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms