Saturday, August 15, 2015

My Cohort Study And Preparing For Winter


Hello from Long Lane Honey Bee Farms. Today I want to invite you to follow my cohort study that I’ll be doing this fall, winter and spring. I’ll tell you more about it below. But first, hasn’t this been a great beekeeping season? Here in Illinois it could not have been better for us. We had mite levels below 3% without doing anything on most of our hives. We saw less than 2 or 3 small hive beetles all year, and no beetles in traps between frames. And honey production has been 100+ pounds per hive!  The bees are very strong and healthy. They are still working the clover.

Every day, the colonies stop foraging between 4-5pm. I suspect they are on clover and by late afternoon nectar yields in clover diminishes considerably. So, the foragers just knock off work early.

Many of you have asked about Sheri after her knee surgery. Thank you. She is doing very well. Some of you have had knee surgery and you know that recovery is pretty tough. But she is doing well and ahead of schedule. In a couple of weeks she will probably be walking unassisted. She is really pushing herself and doing a great job with her therapy.

I’m getting excited to hold our first “Getting Your Bees Through The Winter” class for 2015. We held 5 sold out classes for the first time last year. Our first class will be this Saturday but it is sold out. However, we are offering several more to accommodate the growing interest:

Getting Your Bees Through The Winter Aug 22, 2015—Sold Out

Getting Your Bees Through The Winter Aug 29, 2015
nly 5 Spots Left

Getting Your Bees Through The Winter Sept 12, 2015

Getting Your Bees Through The Winter Sept 26, 2015

Amazon Book And if you live too far away to attend our class onsite, I have made this material available for purchase through an ebook. This book is available on Amazon. When you purchase our book on Amazon you raise our ranking. In fact, after we published the book on Amazon, your purchases made us the number one selling book on Amazon under Biological Science of Insects in just two days. Thank you! You can also purchase this ebook on our site as a .pdf file.

Hover Fly Now, many people have been asking me about sweat bees. Here in Illinois we’ve had an invasion of hover flies.  They are about 1/4” long and will hover and land on you.  They are not bees. The easiest identifier is that they only have one wing on each side and bees have two wings per side. They cannot sting or bite although while they are licking you, you can feel it and you might think you are about to be stung, but they are after your sweat.  They are actually syrphid flies which is a term that includes a lot of flies. If you are like me, you’ve allowed your yard to grow taller because you don’t want to cut the clover. You’ve helped out your bees and hover flies. They both feed on the same thing, pollen and nectar. I took this picture as one landed on my finger. Probably our wet spring provided a good breeding season. These flies are pollinators too and their larvae feed on dead organic matter. The larvae are predators of aphids. You’ll see less of them as we enter the gap between summer and fall nectar flows. You will not see any after the first frost. I’ve seen birds and dragonflies catching them. No, they will not bother your bees. It is useless to attempt to reduce their numbers. Bug spray usually doesn’t keep them off. Just enjoy them for a few more months.

hot bees One more thing before today’s lesson. On hot and humid nights during the summer you may notice how your bees are hanging out on the front of your hives. I took this picture at night with a flash. With screen bottom boards it will not be as bad. This means your colonies are strong in numbers and to help control the temperature and humidity inside the hive, some bees sit out on the porch and enjoy the nice summer air, like you do! Maybe they are sipping a little nectar like you do.

HONEY PRODUCTION TIP: On real hot days I will place a 4x4’ piece of plywood on top of my hives to help provide shade. This will reduce the effort foragers will have to put in to bringing water back to cool the hive so instead they can continue to forage for nectar. It’s my way of providing shade while keeping my hives in open sun.


Looking at the above picture of bees hanging outside at night tells me I have plenty of bees on the inside. So, now the time is right to capture my queen and keep her caged for 10 days. I want to create a gap between my older foraging bees and my new bees that will never forage. Also by caging the queen I provide a break in the brood cycle of honey bees which means I also reduce varroa mites as well. Varroa mites break down the bees’ immunity and allow viruses to kill the colony during the winter. I keep the queen in a cage in her colony. She is fed through her cage. Last year I noticed that once I released her, she laid like a spring queen. By that I mean she was a lean, mean, laying machine. My goal is to allow my older foragers to die off of old age and to stimulate my colonies to raise a huge amount of bees that will begin emerging in October and November. These are the bees I will see in the spring. This process is explained in detail in my new book. 

Marking A Queen_thumb This leads me to tell you about my  cohort study that I will be doing this fall, winter and spring. In medical research cohort studies are common studies. For example, you might follow women over 70 for several years. I’ll be applying this to honey bees. I spoke with Dr. Jeff Harris last week and he didn’t think there has ever been a cohort study to monitor which generation of bees are strongest in the spring.  So, every 21 days I will be collecting 100 bees that are one day old and marking them a unique color.  I will have 3, maybe 4 groups of bees the same age according to their grouping. I will also mark 100 foragers this week even though I am confident they will die of old age in 10-20 days max. Just want to be sure. I will run a collection board in front of my winter hives to catch bees that are carried outside the hive or fly out to die and I’ll keep track of which colors are dying and when. My ultimate goal is to determine which color or colors make it into April, May and June. Can a November bee still be around in June or July? Just how long will these fall bees live into next season. My ultimate goal is to use this information to allow me to target the specific time in the fall that I should concentrate on raising spring bees. I will be conducting other studies on overwintering banked mated queens. I’ll keep you posted.

Come to think of it, maybe I should have this Saturday’s class students mark those 1 day old bees :)

I want to thank all of our customers who feel more like friends than customers. You guys are so supportive of all the work that we do to promote beekeeping. We know you could buy your equipment from larger box stores but many of you continue to only buy from us which allows us the financial means to continue to do research and invent new and helpful items for beekeeping like our Winter-Bee-Kind.

Our Winter-Bee-Kinds are awesome. We continue to hear so many great testimonies about our Winter-Bee-Kinds. Make sure you get yours ordered soon. Also, you can call in and place an order if you want to pick them up. 217-427-2678. Or order online.

If you live in the area, stop in and buy our new, fresh honey!

See you next time.
David and Sheri Burns

Monday, August 10, 2015

Problems With Honey Production and I Published My First Bee Book

Bee in Flight

Hello! We are David and Sheri Burns from Long Lane Honey Bee Farms and we are really enjoying summer. We love the sights, sounds and smell of summer. There is nothing like watching the flashing glow from a large thunderhead cloud miles away. The sound of fireworks, parades and lawn mowers can only be enjoyed in the summer. The smell of freshly mowed grass, fresh fruits and vegetable right out of the garden makes summer so special.

Watching a beehive during the summer is something we all love to do. Bees going in and out puts our minds at ease that all is well and our bees are happy and hard at work.

The colonies we use here at our training center have produced a ton of honey. I’ve harvested one round and I think they will be filling up my wet supers (supers I extracted and placed back on the hive the same day) in the next few weeks. The torrential spring rains seemed to have extended our nectar flow into August. We are keeping our fingers crossed for a whole bunch more supers filled up with honey.

While we have been enjoying summer, you may have missed speaking with Sheri. She has been struggling with a bad knee for a year and finally had a knee replacement. She’s doing good, working through therapy and looking forward to getting all healed up before the next bee year starts up again. She teases me that this bee business wore out her knee. And of course, she’s enjoying being waited on hand and foot, finally!

Bookcover3blog First I want to tell you about a book that I published and then I want to talk about how to overcome problems with honey production. First, the book. I am working on an extensive series of short books and the first one was published today! Beekeeping: Getting Your Bees Through The Winter.

This is an eBook available for download here or on

I’ve written a short and compact guide on one of our most pressing problems in beekeeping today, getting honey bees to survive the winter. Written so that even a beginner can understand, I have thoroughly researched this subject, breaking it down in understandable terms for both the new or experienced beekeeper. This book was compiled from our very popular Getting Your Bees Through The Winter course that we offer every fall at the training center at Long Lane Honey Bee Farms. This book goes into the details of how to prepare your hive for winter, addressing such subjects as when and how to feed honey bees, the pros and cons of winter wrapping hives, reducing the spread of honey bee viruses, increasing young bee populations in the fall, testing and controlling varroa mites, wind breaks, spring and winter feeding solutions and more.

This book is also available on Amazon as an eBook for a few dollars cheaper, but does not contain photos as found here. After much encouragement from friends and customers, I agreed to put this class Getting Bees Through The Winter in book form so that beekeepers around the country and around the world could gleam these insights from the comfort of their homes, on smart phones, Kindles, computers or other devices. I am hopeful that this book will be very helpful to those of you who live too far to attend our “Getting Your Bees Through The Winter” classes.


Problems With Honey Bee Production. This year has been a great year for bees to pack in the honey for most beekeepers. But occasionally there are issues and beekeepers struggle with getting the top super started. What can slow down or prevent bees from storing honey in the upper super, the super you want to harvest?

1) Placed It On Too Late

Some beekeepers fail to realize that bees rarely build out comb by adding wax when there is not a strong nectar flow. Some beekeepers wait until late July and hope the bees have time to make the wax and draw out the comb. In an area of average resources this is not impressive. However, if the bees are in a location with lots of floral sources it is possible.

As a rule of thumb I like to place a minimum of 2 honey supers on my hives by mid May giving them plenty of time to draw out the wax on the comb having the space they need to bring in nectar.

2) Queen Excluder Is Creating A Barrier

Some people call the queen excluder a honey excluder. It does require more effort on the part of the bees to work their way through it to place honey in the super above. I like to place my supers on without a queen excluder and just monitor the queen and keep her down in her brood nest. If I see her in the super, I pick her up and move her down. Or you can wait until they have drawn out several frames then place the queen excluder below the super. This is like baiting the bees to start on the super. But be sure when you place the queen excluder on that the queen is not up in the super.

3) Colony Lacks A Strong Foraging Force

If you have tried everything and nothing is working, it might be that your queen is not prolific and you lack the population to give you the number of foragers you need. In this case you will just need to monitor your brood development and decide if you should replace your queen. It takes a very strong work force for a colony to be a honey producing hive.

4) Hive Is In A Poor Location Lacking In Nectar Sources

Sometimes your hive is just in a poor location. I have learned that colonies that produce a lot of honey are near an abundance of nectar sources. If your hives fail to produce a lot of honey each year you should consider placing them somewhere better. Look around and talk to land owners. You might hit upon a gold mine!

Don’t wait too long to order your Winter-Bee-Kinds. Orders are coming in by the hundreds, so get in line!!

See you next time!
David and Sheri Burns
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Harvesting Honey Is Right Around The Corner


Hello everyone! We are David and Sheri Burns at Long Lane Honey Bee Farms also known as

WINTER-BEE-KINDS are now available online! Orders are pouring in. You In order to get ahead of the game, we have placed our Winter-Bee-Kinds online. PLEASE NOTE, orders will be shipped out starting November 1, in the order they are received. In other words, if you order your WBK this week, yours will ship the first week in November. However, if you order yours on September 1st, there will be hundreds of orders ahead of yours so you may not get your order until  . We do our best to stay caught up but the popularity of our WBKs is overwhelming.  Thank you. To order online go to:

Rain, rain, rain has been the story here in Illinois. Just when it starts to dry out and the bees start back up gathering nectar, we get more rain. However, bees are doing pretty good around the country, even here with all the rain. Honey supers are getting filled up. Clover is everywhere. There is so much clover, I just can’t bring myself to mow it!  Bees are all over it. One day my bees were enjoying a heavy nectar flow. The front of the hive was very hectic. But I just had to mow the area around the hives because it looked so unkept.  As soon as I finished mowing foraging was greatly reduced. Bees were really working the clover in my yard.

In this lesson, I want to provide some good information on harvesting honey. For some of you who are new beekeepers, you’ve never harvested honey, so we hope this information will be helpful.

Before we start the lesson, let me continue to speak about something that none of us want to talk about…WINTER. You only have less than 90 days to prepare your colonies. Bees rarely die in the spring, summer or fall. All beekeepers are happy campers watching their bees in these warm seasons. However, our disposition changes in the winter. We dread the cold weather our bees will have to endure. If you’ve kept bees for very long, you have suffered losses during the winter. Sign up for our Winter Class by clicking here or going to:

DANGER: If you wait until October to try to prepare your bees for winter, you’ve waited too late. Many beekeepers don’t think about whether their bees are ready for winter until after the first cold snap or hard frost. Then, they may learn the colony is queenless, or the hive has no stores of honey or pollen for winter. Worse, the beekeeper may not know that their colony is infested with varroa destructor, spreading viruses that will kill their hive in the late winter months.

winterbeekindclick If your hives are healthy but lack resources, consider overwintering your hives with our Winter-Bee-Kinds. They fit on the top of your brood nest area just under the top cover. They contain carbohydrates and protein for the bees, as well as an insulation barrier to reduce upper condensation that often develops just above the bees then drops down on them during the winter. The WBK also has an upper entrance/vent and we have found the bees often use this upper entrance to take winter cleansing flights when they would usually not go down and out the lower entrance. The come in either 8 Frame or 10 Frames sizes. Click here for more information.

Harvest Honey

1. Make sure the frames are 90%+ capped over or sealed. Anything less can result in a higher moisture content in the honey and can cause your honey to ferment and taste bad.

2. You can use several methods to clear the bees out of the frame in your supers. Fume boards, bee escapes placed in inner covers under a super, brushing bees off or blowing them can be effective.

3. Prepare your area. Have a clean extractor, knife, buckets and strainers ready.

4. Most of us use the wood on the frame as a guide for cutting the comb, allowing us not to cut too deeply into the comb as we slice open the wax cappings on the frames.

5. Spin out the honey in your extractor. If you are using all wax foundation (not plastic inserts) be careful not to spin to fast until much of the honey is out. Otherwise it will “blow out” the combs.

6. For small jobs, place a 5 gallon food grade bucket under your extractor gate (valve) and place a strainer on the inside top of your bucket. We use a 400 micron strainer.

7. Make sure your bucket also has a gate on the bottom because you want to let your honey sit a few days before bottling. Bubbles rise to the top of honey, making the lower part very clean and clear.

To assist you further, watch my video below for more detailed information and detailed visualization of the process.

Also, we have several past lessons that talk about different aspects of honey harvest. Here’s a list:

Using A Refractor To Test Moisture Content In Honey

How To Extract Honey From A Hive

How To Make Comb Honey

Thanks for joining us today!
Give us a call for all your beekeeping needs.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Video Lessons: Adding Wax, Eating Royal Jelly, Finding A Bumble Bee In The Hive, And A Bee In The Mouth


Hello from Long Lane Honey Bee Farms. I made another cool beekeeping video. I intended to make a video on inspecting a hive that looked like it was getting ready to swarm. But while I was making the video, I found a queen cup that was torn open and a bumble bee in lower deep that the bees were attacking. So the video turned out to have some cool findings along the way. I even do my popular bee in the mouth trick. I posted the video on our front page of our website for you to watch and enjoy. These video lessons are designed to help beekeepers learn the art of inspecting colonies, what to look for and what actions to take. They are a lot of work, but I enjoy investing the time to help others in beekeeping. Our main website is:

2nd Institute We had a great time with our last Beekeeping Institute of the year. We had beekeepers from Indiana, Missouri, Illinois, and Wisconsin. We ran them through various beekeeping scenarios. They learned how to identify a failing hive and what course of action to take. They also learned all about various diseases and pests. At the Beekeeping Institute, we drill down deeper into common beekeeping facts, plus we explore and talk about more complex aspects of beekeeping that we cannot discuss in beginner classes.

2nd instituteb We did mite counts, marked bees, grafted queens, swarm prevention, and a little of everything bee related. We also trained them on how to get bees through the winter. 

We heard very positive feedback from students of both institutes and look forward to offering these again in 2016. These Institutes fill up very fast so be watching in 2016 when they become available so you can come join us.


Two new classes we've added this year are "A Day In The Bee Yard".

The first one on July 17 filled up fast. So I've added a second one on Sunday afternoon July 19th from 2-6. We only have around 4 spots left, so REGISTER TODAY.

I'll walk you through a variety of ways to work bees and manage colonies. Imagine spending 4 hours in hives with a certified master beekeeper teaching you how to split hives, prevent swarms, find queens, manipulate frames, mark queens, how to use a Cloake board, feeders, patties, mite tests, and much more.

Christians AlienWe had a very enjoyable 4th of July Holiday weekend and we hope you did too! We watched a parade and Christian had fun catching candy thrown off floats and loud fire trucks. Then Christian tried his hand at some fun activities and he was really good at shooting and won this gigantic alien for shooting down three cups in a row. And of course we ended the day watching fireworks.

Believe it or not, while we are enjoying summer, we are also using this time to prepare for fall and winter beekeeping activities. We are cleaning up shops and offices, organizing things that can’t be dealt with during the busy bee season. For us, everything gets hectic starting August 1st. Many customers are calling wanting to order our Winter-Bee-Kind candy/insulation and ventilation boards for winter. 

We will begin taking orders for our WBKs August 1st. But REMEMBER, these do not ship until November 1. We wait until November 1st for cooler shipping weather.

winterbkind PLEASE NOTE, orders will be shipped out in the order they are received. In other words, if you order your WBK on August 1st, yours will ship the first week in November. However, if you order yours on September 1st, there will be hundreds of orders ahead of yours so you may not get your order until December. We do our best to stay caught up but the popularity of our WBKs is overwhelming. We will inform our customers via our website and these newsletters when our WBKs go live online. Thank you.


I’ve made several videos showing how beneficial it is to add extra wax to frames to help the bees draw the foundation out faster. It really does make a difference and can prove this in my videos. If you are a first year beekeeper and you do not have extra wax, you can buy wax online, even organic wax too. We sell it at our store. It really doesn’t take alot to brush on your plastic foundation. It is something I strongly suggest.

In the video I posted on our website, I ate some royal jelly. I’ve eaten it before. That’s why I look so youthful :). I should say I’ve only tasted it. It is like nothing I’ve ever tasted before. It is very unique. I have spoken at conferences on the content of royal jelly and it is amazing. It is an enzyme which 6-12 day old bees secrete from their mandibular glands. An ample amount is fed to a larva when they want to raise a queen instead of a regular worker bee. Royal jelly can only be found in queen cells. You can see my reaction in the video when I ate some.

Also in the video, while I was inspecting the hive I found a bumble bee in the bottom deep. In the video you’ll see me spot a cluster of bees and upon further investigation I found a black and yellow bumble bee being attacked and killed by the bees.

Finally in the video you’ll see me do my famous bee in the mouth trick. The trick is that it is NOT a worker bee, but a drone bee. Drones do not have stingers. So I just place the drone on my tongue and close my mouth. In a few seconds I open my mouth and he flies safely away, being thankful he was not swallowed. Me too! But before you try this yourself BE SURE you know the difference between a drone without a stinger and a worker bee with a stinger! ( I recommend you do not ever place any kind of insect in your mouth because it can cause severe injury or death).

The hive we inspected in the video was a hive that had several swarm cells that were almost sealed. At the time I noticed the cells I manipulated the frames and added a honey super on top. 10 days later is when I filmed this video. I found one supercedure cell that had been recently torn open and one emergency swarm cup on a lower frame. I did not see the original swarm cell cups I saw 10 days earlier. I also spotted the old queen with the green dot, so I knew they had not left because they always leave with the old queen.

Cedar Cedar Hives-The beauty of cedar is an eye catcher. Our cedar hives are cut from cedar boards and assembled right here at our facilities.

We keep to the traditional Langstroth measurements and we designed our own cedar peaked top with a strip of copper to dress it up. Each hive comes with 2 deeps and 2 medium supers, and a screen bottom board.

Our special peaked top is an INSULATED top. Also includes wooden frames and beeswax coated foundation for all deeps and super boxes. Shipping is included!

CLICK HERE for more information on our Cedar Hives or go to:

Super Honey Supers - We have several weeks for bees to continue foraging for that precious liquid gold--HONEY!  Do you have enough supers? It's time now to put honey supers on and let your bees fill 'em up. Click here to order your supers. We are shipping them out in 3 business days after orders are placed. Our supers are assembled and painted and come with 10 assembled wooden frames with beeswax coated foundation. Take them out of the box and place them on your hive.

Thanks for joining us again for more beekeeping tips.

David and Sheri Burns
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

How To Perform A Complete Hive Inspection

DavidSheri Hello from (Long Lane Honey Bee Farms). We are David and Sheri Burns and we are located in central Illinois. We’ve been a beekeeping business for a decade with online lessons, YouTube video, beekeeping blogs an podcasts. We also offer onsite beekeeping classes. All of these resources are available to beekeepers around the country and through our efforts we have introduced and trained thousands of new beginners and experienced beekeepers alike.

In addition to our online store, we have a small store at our location and this time of the year people are pouring in buying equipment like extra honey supers and hives to hive swarms.

We are trying to stay ahead on building honey supers because we know when you need them, you need them yesterday. And with the rain, most of us only have a small window of good weather to place them on our hive. If you even think your hive may need more supers, order early!

youtube1 Everywhere I go someone will tell me they have watched my videos or listened to our podcasts and they feel like I’m an old friend. Our beekeeping YouTube channel has received over 1.2 MILLION views and has attracted production companies who make reality shows, commercials and more. But I just keep making videos that can help people enjoy beekeeping. If you haven’t enjoyed our YouTube channel you can check it out at:

I’m making a new video showing beekeepers how to properly inspect a hive, find the queen and more. I’ll be posting it in a couple of days.

Of everything we do with bees, what we enjoy the most is interacting with our students who come from around the US to take our beekeeping classes. I’m getting ready for my second beekeeping institute of the year starting Friday and runs through Sunday. You have to register very early in the year to get a seat. We will be posting our 2016 dates soon. However, we just received a cancellation due to an unexpected health issue. So if you want that seat, call Sheri. It is this Friday, Saturday and Sunday 9am – 3pm each day. 217-427-2678. Sheri is in the office today between 1pm-3pm central time. Many of you wanted me to offer a 3rd Institute, but I just couldn’t work it into the schedule this year. We may offer three in 2016.


 july17Two new awesome classes I’ve added are, “A Day In The Bee Yard”. I will show you, in the field, a variety of ways to work bees andJuly19  manage colonies. Imagine spending 4 hours in hives with a certified master beekeeper teaching you how to split hives, prevent swarms, find queens, manipulate frames, mark queens, how to use a cloake board, feeders, patties, mite tests, and much more.

We only have 2 spots left on Friday, July 17, 2015 9am-1pm so we’ve added another class on Sunday July 19th, 2pm-6pm. Now that you’ve been in your hive and you’ve seen things that you cannot identify or figure out, why not come and let me walk you through some answers to help you feel more confident in working your hive. We’ll have fun together. Each photo above is a link to that particular day, so click on the image for more info. If you cannot get off work on Friday, come spend Sunday afternoon and let me teach you a thing or two. Or register by going to:

In this lesson, I want to walk you through a proper inspection of a hive. But before I do, let me WARN you that as we enter the month of July, nectar flow will start to slow down and as we enter late summer and fall, your bees will get hungry and not have very much incoming food. Many beekeepers reported this to be the case last year and there were many hives that went into winter very low on winter stores. DON’T MAKE THAT MISTAKE. A colony of honey bees consumes the same amount of protein and carbohydrates as a medium size dog. So do not assume bugs don’t need food. Especially 40,000+. They do. We have two feeding system we’d like to offer that are big sellers already:

BBFS Burns Bees Feeding System – This is an awesome way to feed bees in late summer and fall. Remember, 2 parts sugar to 1 part water in the latter part of the year. We created is feeder to accommodate 2 jars of sugar water and one space for sugar or pollen patties. No more smashing bees between boxes with your patties. And what’s cool is, that when you lift up the jars, there is a protective screen to hold the bees down so you can add more pollen or sugar water and not have bees boiling out of the holes. Since the video below we have modified this system to have a smaller rectangle hole for the patties and only two holes for jars as shown in the photo. But the video demonstrates how to use them. Get these ordered so you have them before the nectar flow ends.

Ultimate Feeder The Ultimate Hive Feeder works the same way and we sell a lot of these. It fits on the frames of the upper brood box.  Place a medium super box around it and the top cover on and look how the bees feed. You may want to place this above your inner cover, then place an empty super box around it and top cover on the box. This way bees will not build wax in the open space around it. Just be sure not to block the oval shape hole on the inner cover so that the bees can gain access to it.. We are proud to carry this product, so click on the image for more info or go to:

Here in Illinois I have had ten and a half inches of rain in the month of June. That means my bees have missed a lot of flying time to harvest nectar. This is true for a large part of the US. With more rain in the forecast, bees might get behind on winter storage so keep an eye out on feeding your bees August through November.

Now before our lesson today, let me encourage you to watch our facebook page. We usually post important information daily of practical beekeeping tips, photos, news reports and more.

How To Perform A Complete Hive Inspection

1. Inspect The Outside

Rainbowhive As you walk up to the hive, look for anything unusual such as skunk scratches on the ground in front of the hive or on the front of the hive. Look for any broken pieces on the hive that may need repaired. Make sure your stand is solid. For example, if you are using pallets, make sure they are not deteriorating. If you are using concrete blocks, make sure they are not broken and that the hive is still level and solid.

2. Smoke The Entrance And Under The Top Cover

Smoke the guard bees a few times at the entrance then smoke under the top cover2 or 3 times to help calm the bees.

3. Remove Top Cover And Smoke Under The Inner Cover

I like to set my top cover upside down so that I can place my boxes on it as I inspect. As soon as you remove the top cover be looking to smash any fast moving small hive beetles. Smash them with your hive tool.

Institute4 4. Smoke lightly over the top of frames in top box.

You really don’t need a lot of smoke, just enough to calm the bees, so usually three or four gentle puffs that floats over the top of the frames is sufficient.

5. Inspect each frame looking for the queen as you go.

Keep a record of what you see on each frame. Eggs, larvae, sealed brood, nectar, honey etc.  Make sure you keep a close eye on the queen. When I see my queen, I will remove that frame Nuc1and place it in a nuc box for safe keeping during the inspection. I place the entire frame, queen and all the bees in the nuc box and place the top cover on. Now I can inspect without worrying about killing the queen accidently. Once I’ve inspect all frames, then I place them back in the box and remove the entire box and place it on the lid.

6. Inspect the next box repeating step 5.

7. Inspect next box and repeat based on how many boxes you may have.

What  you are looking for is:

1. Healthy and abundant brood

2. Evidence of a healthy queen

3. Sufficient nectar/honey and pollen

A beekeeper called me today who has two hives, one is doing great and one is low in population. I told him to inspect the hive that is low in numbers to see if there are several frames of sealed brood. If so, just be patient because these bees will emerge soon and increase population. If no sealed brood is found, then replace the queen immediately because without sealed brood, the hive will go even longer without adequate population. Now if it is full of eggs and young large everywhere, then certainly there is no need to replace a good laying queen. If that’s the case, pull a few frames of capped brood from the strong hive so this weak hive can have immediate population growth within a few days rather than waiting 24 days for the eggs to finally produce adult bees. These are the kinds of things you are evaluating as you inspect your hives.

Thanks for joining us today!
David and Sheri Burns
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms

Monday, June 15, 2015

Summer Management


Hello from Long Lane Honey Bee Farms we are David and Sheri Burns. We are enjoying spring and it will finally be summer next week. Colonies are looking good and building up  nicely. Spring was wet and cooler for us than normal and bees were a little slower in getting started. It was great seeing everyone at our package bee pickup day. Since then we have been teaching beekeeping classes almost every weekend. 

Sheri and I are amazed at the phenomenal surge of interest in beekeeping this year alone. We thought previous years were really strong, but so many people are getting into beekeeping. In fact, normally we start to see things slow down by this  time of the year, but we are still busy shipping out lots of equipment. Thank you.

beeinstitute2015 Last week and last weekend we had our Beekeeping Institute. This is the third year we have offered the institute. And in two weeks we are offering another institute which has been sold out since winter.  We had a beginners class on Thursday, and the institute ran Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Jon Zawislak was great to help out again.  Jon and I are friends and have a lot of fun teaching together.  Students came from Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee. We worked between storms on several days.  One day, after class was over, a storm moved through and blew tops off of three hives. Jon and I ran out in the middle of pounding rain and wind and put the tops back on. We were soaked. Here in Illinois we have received over 7 inches of rain in a week just from popup thunderstorms. And that’s what is in the forecast for the next several days, possibly 5 more inches.

Bees cannot fly in the rain so if it rains a lot honey production (and wax build up on comb) will be slower. And when it rains, it may take a day or two for some flowers to regain their nectar. We typically say that rain washes out the  nectar. But on a positive note, all of this rain means that clover will bloom longer and stronger to help with the honey crop.

jondavid Jon and I have been friends since we became EAS certified master beekeepers about 8 years ago. We’ve spoken at conference together, written articles and wrote a book on how to raise quality queens.

Jon and I also host Hive Talk, a live beekeeping podcast. When Jon isn’t up here, he spends his time as the apiculture instructor with the Entomology Department, University of ArkansasQueen book Division of Agriculture in Little Rock, Arkansas.

A few years ago, Jon asked me to teach him everything I know about raising queens and we  both decided to capture the images and write a book on raising quality queens. We wanted to provide a FREE book for beekeepers to download and be able to use as their main resource for producing queens. We have had so many people tell us how much this book has helped them start a queen rearing business or just raise a few queens. You can click on the cover image to get your copy.

Today, I want to encourage you to think about summer management. Summer will be arriving this weekend. Those of you who follow my lessons know that I cannot stress enough the importance of monitoring and eliminating varroa mites in your hive. Ignore mites and chances are your hive will perish in the winter. But you can review my previous lessons on mite control.

Honey Super What about summer management? Here in Illinois we only have 4-6 weeks left for bees to gather nectar. It varies from year to year, but our main floral sources are over by mid to late July. Sometimes we may stretch into August. Therefore, summer management means you must place supers on your hives! If you place supers on now, the bees have a better chance at adding wax to undrawn foundation. If you wait and give your colony an undrawn super in late July here in Illinois, the bees will likely not have time to draw out the wax and gather nectar and dry it into honey. So get busy today if you want honey! He are trying to ship medium super orders out about 3 business days after we receive the order. We are limited by our supply of frames, but if you don’t have supers, get them now! Click here for more info on our medium honey supers.

I recommend that you give an extra hearty coating of beeswax to your super foundation. Melt wax down and brush it on. You will witness a remarkable difference in how fast the bees will draw out the comb, possibly giving you the edge you need to get some honey this year.

Monitor the fecundity of your queen, how well she is laying. In the month of July you should make a decision if you like your queen’s production or not. If she is not laying well or she is more than 2 years old, you should consider replacing her in July. This will give you time to make sure your hive is queenright and strong before going into winter. If you wait too long, you will have trouble finding a queen and it is a little harder to introduce her when there is not a honey flow occurring. 

As the summer gets hotter be sure to place watering stations for your bees gather water and keep your hive cool. Don’t place them too close to the hive or they may have trouble locating them. Bird baths in the shade with sticks to help the bees not drown will work well.

Colonies could still swarm, so monitor the brood boxes for swarm cells and overcrowding. It’s getting too late to split in time for winter, but you might make it work. If you can’t split your overcrowded colony, and you have a crowded hive ready to swarm, you can move frames to other hives to balance your colonies resources.

Speaking of swarms, if your colony swarms do you have a hive to place them in? What if a neighbor calls you to remove a swarm, do you have an extra hive? Be prepared to expand your operation by collecting swarms. We sell complete hives, assembled and painted. It’s better to have a hive before you catch a swarm than to catch a swarm and have to wait days for your hive to arrive. Plan ahead for the bees’ sake.

Finally, summer management should include winter preparation. I know, I know! No one wants to think or mention winter during the summer. Winter is long enough and we all just want to enjoy summer. But if you want your bees to survive winter, you need to prepare in the next few months, not wait until October.

We have classes focusing just on How To Get Your Bees Through The Winter. They are all filling up fast. Don’t wait or you may be unable to sign up. Here’s the list of classes coming up, so just click on the link.

Getting Your Bees Through The Winter Aug 22, 2015

Getting Your Bees Through The Winter Aug 29, 2015

Getting Your Bees Through The Winter Sept 12, 2015

Getting Your Bees Through The Winter Sept 26, 2015

ADAY This year I’m offering a new class in my line up. “A Day In The Field”.  9am-1pm. Spend 4 hours with me in the bee year for hands on bees! This class will be in one month, Friday July 17th. This class is limited to 10 students. If July 17th is rainy, the rain date is July 24th. The agenda is for me to show you a variety of ways to work bees and manage colonies out in the bee yard. Bring your own snacks and water bottles to stay hydrated. You must wear protective gear even if you are superman. No one will be allowed in the yards with short pants, or without at least a hat and veil and long sleeve shirt or bee suit or jacket. No exceptions. Bring your smoker but NO HIVE TOOLS. We provide hive tools. This is a new class and if it goes well and there is a strong interest we may have more this year. Click here for more information. All students must be registered in advance.

Prior to the class, you will receive a letter via email with detailed information. Please read thoroughly to know what to bring. We will hold the class at our education center located at our office at 14556 N 1020 East Rd., Fairmount IL 61841. Please follow these directions (some GPS units do not work for our location). Off I-74, take the Oakwood Exit 206. Go south into town, to 2nd stop sign (Catlin-Homer Rd). Turn left onto Catlin-Homer Rd., going down two country roads to 1020 East. Turn left, go down another 1/4 mile until you see our signs. If you need hotel information, we suggest either the Best Western in Danville (217-431-0020) Holiday Inn at 217-442-2500 or our own Sleepy Creek Vineyard at 217-733-0330 (only about 2 miles away). Please bring protective gear but NO HIVE TOOLS. Remember we are on central time. We will not start until 9am central time no matter how early you arrive. 

Thanks for reading our blog today and remember to check us out online at

David and Sheri Burns
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Custom Painted Hives 217-427-2678


Hello from Long Lane Honey Bee Farms. We are busy making sure beekeepers get off to a great start for 2015! Many beekeepers are well prepared and awaiting to pick up their packages of bees this weekend. Other beekeepers haven’t thought of everything and are desperately trying at the last minute to get everything in order.

Things are very hectic as we prepare for this weekend. However, Sheri and Karee have found some time to custom paint two hives.  We are doing a “test” to see if people are interested in hand painted hives of various colors. They will be custom painting a few hives a month to see what the interest might be.

camo Currently they have two custom hives painted. The first one Sheri painted camouflage. She spent several hours painting it and after she was done I was really amazed. Obviously she is able to only paint a few a month, so only this one is for sale.  Some people may not want to draw attention to their hives, or maybe they don’t want to break up the natural appearance of a yard or garden with a large white box. This will blend right in.  Click here now to be the one who purchases this camouflage hive.

Pink Karee custom painted second hive, a beautiful pink hive. Sometimes your yard needs a special color that “pops” making your hive soft, yet a beautiful attention getter. This hive may appeal to those who have a colorful area just waiting for bees with color. We only have this one, so be the one who purchases this pink hive. Click here now.

paintedhives Way to go Sheri and Karee! They’ve had this idea for over a year and were finally motivated to try it. Sheri and Karee are committed to paint several of these a month and more if the demand is there. Each one will not be identical and different colors and designs will be posted online as they are available.


David and Sheri Burns
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms