Friday, July 18, 2014

Lesson 158: When Can You Take A Honey Super Off Or When Should You Leave It For The Bees? www.honeybeesonline.com 217-427-2678

Giant City Lodge

Hey, I got beat at a game of checkers!  Hello from Long Lane Honey Bee Farms. We are David and Sheri Burns here to help you enjoy being a beekeeper. And if you are thinking about becoming a beekeeper you are at the perfect place. Today I will give some pointers in determining when to take the honey super off and when to leave it. But before our lesson…

Christian is our youngest. He’ll be 7 in September. I spoke at the Heartland Apicultural Society Beekeeping Conference at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale,, Illinois last week. I rode my motorcycle down on Wednesday and Christian and Sheri joined me on Thursday. We stayed at the Giant City State Park in one of their cabins. This has been a vacation spot for our family since the 80’s.  Here’s a picture of Christian playing a game of checkers with me at the Giant City Lodge.

On Thursday morning I started up my Harley, loaded up my thumb drive with my workshop’s presentations and rode through the beautiful Shawnee National Forest. It was awesome. Winding roads, giant cliffs, unique specialty shops soothed my soul. Bees are equally soothing to me. Bees have always had that effect on me, depleting me of stress and helping me keep life in proper perspective.

 Christian Bees I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Life if very complex, mixed with happiness (new hive is doing great) and sadness (favorite hive died). Life is mixed with pain (ouch a bee stung me) and comfort (the taste of honey on warm, buttered bread). How we view the world is made up of what we believe to be true. What we believe is our daily driving force. How we respond to events and circumstances is determined by how we view the world. Some people are negative and always feel like the victim. While others, in worse situations, are generally positive and seek to encourage others. My world view is based on my belief in Christ. I desire to fulfill the Golden Rule found in the Gospel of Matthew 7:1, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." Pastor Langstroth invented the hive used in beekeeping today. He found comfort in his bees. When you read his books, you get the feel that Rev Langstroth was gifted, bringing something into beekeeping that was beyond himself…Bee Space, and a hive where frames could be taken out, inspected and placed back without damage to the comb or death to the bees. I’m a junkie of his writings.

Honey bees show up in our science, art, music, marriage (honeymoon), and even in our language. We use terms like: bee line, mind your own beeswax, she has a bee in her bonnet. Bees put the fun in biology, botany, math and more. I digress….

Beekeeping swing You get the idea, right? Sheri and I love bees and beekeeping. We are passionate about it. It’s fun, enjoyable and brings a lot of peace into our lives. We have an old swing that hangs from the oldest tree on our farm. It’s an old maple tree that we tap and enjoy making our own maple syrup. Sheri and I enjoy this dear swing almost every evening. From our swing we can see and hear some of our hives. We’ve had swarms land in this tree. I’m not sure who this strikes a chord with, but could bees be just what you need? I enjoy watching my bees work hard all day, pollinating my garden and my neighbors’ gardens and fruit trees. Here they come bringing back nectar that will become honey on my table and to our customers. We know the same joy we receive from being beekeepers can be enjoy by others. That’s why we are passionate about helping more and more people become beekeepers.

Beekeeping Store Sheri and I are living the dream in many ways. Helping new beginners enjoy beekeeping really turns our crank! Every year we reach thousands of new beginners through our podcasts, websites, beekeeping classes and our online lessons. Every order we receive gives us the freedom to continue living off of beekeeping, experimenting with keeping bees healthy and sharing what we know FREELY with others. We get excited when we receive your order. My phone sounds a special ringtone when you place an order. It’s not just about the money, but about another person who is keeping bees and needs some equipment from us. It gives me hope that one day I might meet this customer and we’ll become friends. This happened just today. A couple was driving from up Wisconsin down to Kentucky and have been following this blog for years and just wanted to stop by. Unfortunately we close at noon on Friday, but as I drove into our Long Lane, they were sitting at the end and we had a great talk. I encouraged them to stop back in on their way back up north. From our blog they knew about Seth and Christian and even knew that I once lived in Ohio.

I guess what I’m saying is we ARE NOT a big beekeeping company. If we were beer we’d be a micro brewery. Years ago we made a decision not to become another huge beekeeping company, but to be a place where people can come, talk, touch and feel. A place where you can show up and sit in our swing, pet our dogs, watch Christian play and maybe look in a hive with me. We are more like the place that blows our own glassware or spins our own pottery. Many of you tell us that you chose to buy from us because you prefer to buy from a small family business. Thank you, it means a lot to us. Visit Our Store Online. I look forward to you making my phone go off with your order ;)

Speaking of placing an order and before our lesson today I have an important announcement about 2015 package bees which are available now. Last year, so many new beginners missed out on the short window of opportunity to buy packages. This year, we are offering a special for those of you wishing to secure your packages now. We are offering a hive with bees. This means you can now order your hive and bees and have your hive and bees secure before the 2015 rush begins. Single packages without hives, mainly for existing beekeepers, will go on sale in Nov. or Dec. We are offering two options online now:

EBS1 1) EARLY BIRD SPECIAL

Last year many new beekeepers didn't get to start because everyone sold out of bees in the winter. We sold out in about 30 days. This year we are making a special EARLY BIRD OFFER, so that new beginners can secure a hive and a 3lb package of bees with a mated queen. This kit contains a starter hive which includes a screen bottom board, one deep hive body with 10 wooden frame and foundation, an inner cover and a top cover. This starter hive allows you to add additional boxes to your hive only as needed. This kit also includes a 3 lb package of bees with a mated queen. Bees must be picked up only here at our farm.  FREE SHIPPING OF WOODENARE HIVE WITHIN US, except Hawaii and Alaska. Bees can be picked up at our specified date in the spring, date to be determined, but probably late April or early May. The hive (woodenware without bees) will ship within 2 weeks of purchase. This is your way of making sure you are ready in the spring before all the bees are gone. Click here for more information.

EBS2

2) EARLY BIRD SPECIAL WITH EQUIPMENT

This is the same as above only it includes the following equipment: Frame Puller, Frame Hanger, Bee Brush, Smoker, Smoker fuel, Hive Tool and Bee Brush. We do NOT include protective gear in this kit because some prefer suits while others would rather have a hat and veil. So protective gear is sold separately. Bees are not shipped but picked up only.  FREE SHIPPING OF WOODENARE HIVE WITHIN US, except Hawaii and Alaska. Bees can be picked up at our location at our specified date in the spring, date to be determined, but probably late April or early May. The hive (woodenware without bees) will ship within 2 weeks of purchase. This is your way of making sure you are ready in the spring before all the bees are gone. Click here for more information.

We’ve added so much material to our main website: www.honeybeesonline.com

Please visit our site and scroll down on the front page through all the useful beekeeping information. It will help us if you can place a link to our sight from your site or your club’s website. Also sign up for our constant contact newsletter.  Thousands receive our newsletter to learn more about bees.

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Winterhives Finally, why not come and see us at our next class, “Getting My Hives Through The Winter” on Saturday September 6, 9am-3pm here at our honey bee farm. Learn about fall preparation, mouse protection, mite reduction, wind blocks, wrapping hives, heating lights, winter feeding, insulation, moving hives into buildings or shelters, the biology of fat bodies, the timing of a new fall queen, pros and cons of double walled hives, dynamics of both Langstroth and top bar hives in the winter, the winter cluster and more. Click here for more information.

LESSON 158: When Can You Take A Honey Super Off Or When Should You Leave It For The Bees?

Beekeepers throughout the country are flipping a coin trying to decide whether to remove the honey super on their hive or leave it on for winter. It is a tough call. So often I am asked that question. Often people feel pressured because they are afraid if they leave the full honey super on much longer, the bees will go up and transfer the honey down into the brood area. Think about what I just said. Isn’t that shocking. Steal their honey before they store it for winter??

When deciding to remove a honey super full of honey or to leave it consider these points:

1) Do they have plenty of honey for winter? In Illinois a hive needs 60-80 lbs of honey to make it through the winter. They often do have that much in their two deep hive bodies. When they do, take off the excess. You don’t have to. You can leave the honey super on all winter. But be sure to remove the queen excluder if you have it under your honey super.

2) Will they be able to gather up enough additional nectar to reach 60-80 lbs of honey before the first frost if you take it all?

3) Can you wait and harvest it in the spring? I’ve harvested honey coming out of winter because the bees didn’t need a super they over wintered with. So I removed it. Sometimes I’ve harvested honey out of the deep hive bodies in early spring to give room for brood.

Do not steal their honey unless you can verify that there is enough honey stored in the nest area, the two deep hive bodies. Err on the side of being generous to your bees. They need pollen too. Check out our Burns Bees Feeding System for summer and fall.

That’s all for now. Sheri is out in California again. This time she drove Seth’s car out for him. Seth and Leah will be getting married in less than one month. Sheri has really enjoyed the road trip along Historic Route 66 again. We did that back in March when Seth returned from his deployment in Afghanistan. With their approaching wedding and move out to Twenty-nine Palms, Ca, Seth is capitalizing on his mom’s visit to ready up their house. They found a nice place off base to live. Seth has two more years in the marines and one more deployment…of all places…the Middle East. Sheri will be flying back home on Sunday.

Be safe and live the dream!

David and Sheri Burns
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms
217-427-2678

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

HIVE TALK TIME CORRECTION

Hive Talk is starting at 10am Central Time in just a few minutes. In one place in my previous blog I said from 9-10am but Hive talk is from 10am central time. Thanks

LESSON 157: How To Get Honey Supers Drawn Out Faster www.honeybeesonline.com 217-427-2678

DavidSheri

Greetings from Long Lane Honey Bee Farms also known as www.honeybeesonline.com 

Today I want to share some simple tips to help you increase your chances to get your honey super foundation pulled out so you can get more honey production.

Before today’s lesson, we need your help. Today, Jon Zawislak and I will be hosting another special addition of Hive Talk, and we’d love for you to call in and ask a question between 9am-10am central time. So set your alarm to join us in a hour. Here’s how:

Call in to ask your questions. The number to call is: 1-724-444-7444. When you call in you'll be asked to enter our SHOW ID which is: 129777 followed by the # sign. Then the automated system will ask you for your Pin number which is 1 followed by the # sign. At that point, you'll be on the show with us so you can ask your questions. You will be muted unless you press * 8 on your phone and that will allow us to unmute you so you can ask your question. Call in around 10 minutes prior to broadcast, at 9:50 a.m. central time. The show starts this coming Tuesday morning at 10:00 a.m. central time. If you want to just listen from your computer, go to: http://www.talkshoe.com/tc/129777

If you use a smart phone you can add the Podcast App and have our shows sent to your mobile device every time we produce a new one. Just go to iTunes and search for Hive Talk, scroll down to podcast and you'll find us there.

Or listen to our past episodes by clicking here or by copying the link below and pasting it into  your internet browser.

http://www.talkshoe.com/talkshoe/web/talkCast.jsp?masterId=129777&cmd=tc

LESSON 157: How To Get Honey Supers Drawn Out Faster

Soon, honey flows will diminish. I have another 3-4 weeks of strong nectar flows. Now is the time to have every super on the hive to maximize your hive’s honey production. It’s a good year and we are working hard to keep up with honey super orders. A strong hive needs two or three honey supers this time of year. But when you place a new honey super on your hive, the comb is not draw out. It’s important to speed this process up. Here’s what helps me.

1. Apply additional wax to each frame. Some people heat wax and then brush it on the foundation. I just take a big ball of wax and rub it on cold.

2. Spray each frame with sugar water with a little bit of honey-b-healthy mixed in. This will draw the bees onto the foundation.

3. The next step is something that I do, but it might be a bit risky for some. I place a brand new super between my two deep bodies. By doing this, I’m placing additional space in the middle of the brood nest to accelerate the comb being drawn out. Why is this risky? If you leave it there too long, the queen will fill it with brood. I watch it every 5 days to see how much is drawn out and if the queen is filling it up with eggs. If you want to really be creative, you can exclude your queen, using a queen excluder, to the lower deep hive body. This will slow her laying down by limiting her space and this will reduce potential varroa mite reproduction somewhat. After 5 days, you can evaluate the hive and decide if they have draw out enough combs on your super to move it up to the top, above the second deep. If not wait another 5 days. Only do this IF you have your full number of populations.

4. Finally, the biggest mistake most beginners make is the put the queen excluder below a new super for undrawn foundation. This usually limits easy access into the super and increases the time it takes to draw out the comb.

Put on as many supers as you think your bees will fill up. I like to err on the side of having too many on rather than not enough.

Thanks for joining us for another beekeeping lesson. Remember to check out our complete website at: www.honeybeesonline.com and if you can provide a link to our site from your site we always appreciate that.

Call us in an hour at our radio number above and ask your questions. See you later.

David and Sheri Burns
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms
www.honeybeesonline.com
217-427-2678 M-Thu 10am-4pm central time Fri 10-Noon

Saturday, July 5, 2014

LESSON 156: Tips On How To Catch A Swarm www.honeybeesonline.com 217-427-2678

DS

We are still in swarm season, a time when bees multiply by sending out 60% of their colony with the old queen to establish a new colony. Back home, the colony raises a new queen to build back up the population. Today, I want to share some tips on how to catch and retain a swarm.

Hi, we are David and Sheri Burns from Long Lane Honey Bee Farms in central Illinois. Next year will mark our 10 year anniversary in the beekeeping business. Some of you reading this lesson have been loyal customers since way back then. Thank you. For those of you joining us fairly recent, welcome.

Last week we just finished up another queen rearing class. Our students were from the Chicago area, North Carolina, Ohio, and Indiana.

I’ll be speaking at the Heartland Apicultural Society (HAS) Conference July 10-12, 2014, at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL. This conference is open to everyone interested in beekeeping, including beginners. Regional & national vendors, as well as experts in the field of beekeeping, will be present. Hope to see you there. Click here for  more information.  Then July 28-Aug. 1 I’ll be at the Eastern Apicultural Society meeting at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Kentucky assisting with the testing of future master beekeepers. The EAS is a great conference. Consider attending by clicking here.

We are keeping busy on the farm, teaching classes, attending conferences, removing bees from houses, speaking about bees and building equipment. I’ve heard from several states that a summer dearth has set in. A dearth is a period during the season when there is no longer a strong nectar flow. Bees usually get by on floral sources here and there. But large colonies with a large amount of young larvae will begin to suffer from the lack of incoming nectar and pollen. Nurse bees must consume pollen and nectar in order to produce royal jelly which is fed to all larvae for the first 3 days. Without royal jelly, larvae die from starvation. Therefore we are busying making our Burns Bees Feeding System to help bees receive sufficient protein and carbohydrates during a dearth.

Good nutrition is an essential part of keeping bees healthy. Bees deal with many challenges today and better nutrition in the summer and fall can give a colony a better chance this winter. By the way, I am offering a class on how to prepare your hives for winter. Click here for more information or go to: http://www.honeybeesonline.com/servlet/Detail?no=315 We still 6 seats available.

NYPhoto5 A quick word about our classes. Recently, someone told us that they attended a bee class in another state but they were unable to really learn as much due to the overwhelming size of the class. We purposely keep our classes small for a better learning environment. Our class sizes are limited and kept small so each student can be well trained. For example, that’s why we offer multiple classes on the same subject throughout the year rather than just offering one big class per year. Our students have told us how much they enjoy the smaller, more personable classes. If our Overwinter Class reaches capacity soon, we will offer an additional class in September. Imagine spending the entire day learning about fall preparation, mouse protection, mite reduction, wind blocks, wrapping hives, heating lamps, winter feeding, insulation, moving hives into buildings or shelters, the biology of fat bodies, the timing of a new fall queen, pros and cons of double walled hives, dynamics of both Langstroth and top bar hives in the winter, the winter cluster and more.To see our full list of 2014 classes still remaining click here.

Classes The weather has been really nice around the farm. We’ve had great “bee” weather. Our bees are foraging heavy every single day and expanding rapidly. Here in central Illinois our Dutch clover (Trifolium repens) has really popped this year. I do not remember seeing this much yard clover, not only at our farm, but in towns and other areas. Bees love yard clover. It makes it very difficult for me to keep our area mowed because I hate to mow clover with bees on it. But, for clover to bloom again, it does need mowed every few weeks. So I try to mow after foraging hours.

Honey Super I see rookie beekeepers making a big mistake this time of the year…NOT KEEPING ENOUGH HONEY SUPERS ON! Put more honey supers on. If your hive is strong, you should have two or three honey supers on this time of the year. Give them space and encourage them to fill up supers. To order more honey supers click here. Our honey supers come completely assembled and painted with wooden frames and foundation. Don’t miss this year’s honey crop!

Finally, we have a special Hive Talk Show coming up this Tuesday at 10 a.m. central time. Jon Zawislak and myself will be on the air to take your calls and answer your questions. Or you just might want to tune in and listen. Here’s how.

Call in to ask your questions. The number to call is: 1-724-444-7444. When you call in you'll be asked to enter our SHOW ID which is: 129777 followed by the # sign. Then the automated system will ask you for your Pin number which is 1 followed by the # sign. At that point, you'll be on the show with us so you can ask your questions. You will be muted unless you press * 8 on your phone and that will allow us to unmute you so you can ask your question. Call in around 10 minutes prior to broadcast, at 9:50 a.m. central time. The show starts this coming Tuesday morning at 10:00 a.m. central time. If you want to just listen from your computer, go to: http://www.talkshoe.com/tc/129777

If you use a smart phone you can add the Podcast App and have our shows sent to your mobile device every time we produce a new one. Just go to iTunes and search for Hive Talk, scroll down to podcast and you'll find us there.

Or listen to our past episodes by clicking here or by copying the link below and pasting it into  your internet browser.

http://www.talkshoe.com/talkshoe/web/talkCast.jsp?masterId=129777&cmd=tc

LESSON 157: Tips On How To Catch A Swarm

Swarm on ladder Hives are still swarming in our area. Catching a swarm seems simple enough. Take some empty equipment and set it under the branch where the bees are hanging from and shake them into the hive and go home. Well, sometimes it does go that well. But most of the time it involves more than I just described. So let me share some tips on how to hive a swarm.

First, make sure you have equipment on hand to put the swarm in. Every week someone calls in needing equipment yesterday because they caught a swarm. They didn’t have a hive to put it in so they put it in some sort of unacceptable container, like a 5 gallon bucket or a cardboard box. When you put swarm in a lacking container there is a good probability the colony will leave soon. It is either too hot, or they need more room.

5 Frame Nuc1One of our hottest selling items is a 5 frame nuc. We’ve sold so many of these this year. These make a very nice way to capture a swarm. They are small enough to conveniently lift and carry.  I’ve learned to always have one in my car or truck. I’ve actually noticed swarms hanging from roads signs while traveling. If you have equipment with you, you can stop and retrieve the swarm.  Our 5 frame nuc box is made up of a real screen bottom board which provides ventilation to your captured swarm while you drive them home. It’s also made of real 1” pine (3/4 inch actual size). Also includes an inner cover and telescoping top cover with metal. It’s just like a real hive only made for 5 frames which are included. It measures 9” across. It is also perfect to take for presentations instead of a full size hive. This nuc is painted and fully assembled and includes 5 frames and foundation. Click here for more information.

 

EmergencySwarm If your swarm is gigantic, you may want to consider our Emergency Swarm Hive. This is a screen bottom board, 1 Deep Hive Body, 10 frames and foundation, inner cover and top cover. Also comes with a tie down strap to keep the top on securely and a piece of screen to hold the bees in during the transportation.

Having available equipment is essential in being able to retain a swarm. I spray the frames with sugar water mixed with Honey-B-Healthy. The lemongrass odor helps attracts the swarm into the new hive.

Secondly, be very careful when climbing trees or ladders. Sometimes it is not worth the risk. But when you can safely retrieve the swarm wear a hat and veil and any other necessary protective clothing. Most swarms are not very defensive but bees are bees.

Thirdly, shake!  When you shake the branch, the bees will fall and fly. Most of the bees will fall into your hive, hopefully including the queen, but others will take flight and land back on the branch near where the queen still is or where she was. So you may have to shake the branch several more times. Once the majority of the bees are in the nuc or hive, place the lid on and carry the hive to your new location.

Swarm1 Thirdly, do not be surprised if the swarm swarms again. Sometimes scouts from the swarm have already picked out a new place to direct the swarm to. As soon as they get organized, they can swarm again. Here’s a few things you can do to help keep the swarm. If you have another colony, pull out a frame of open brood with bees on it and place it into the swarm box. The frame of brood might help the swarm to feel obligated to feed and care for the brood and not leave. I do not worry about transferring the bees on the frame from one hive into another. Usually the bees on the open brood are 6-12 day old bees carrying for the open brood and get along fine in a different hive.

Do not be disappointed if your swarm colony replaces their queen. This is not uncommon for colonies that have recently swarmed. You’ll have to decide if you want them to take 30 days to raise a new laying queen or order a mated queen. If it is later in the season it might be helpful to feed the new swarm colony to build them up heading into winter. Continue to monitor mite levels. Hopefully this swarm will make you proud and become one of the best hives in your apiary.

Swarm2 What happens when bees are still swarming in the air but will not land. A technique I use that is helps is to take a dark sock and place lemon grass extract on it, and tie it somewhere in the air near the swarming bees. The bees are sometimes fooled to think the sock are other bees that have landed.

Another helpful hint is considering how to get a swarm on the ground into a hive. I take a sheet or something white and place it between the hive and the swarm on the ground. Watch my video of bees being shaken off the sock and then walking into the hive. The bees always walk across the white sheet and into the dark hive. The queen is not always the first one to go in.  

Remember if you catch a swarm you’ll need a hive to put them in. Consider our fully painted, and assembled hive.

Thanks for joining us and have a great 4th of July weekend.

David and Sheri Burns
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms
www.honeybeesonline.com