LESSON 111: Top 7 Myths of Natural Beekeeping (Long Lane Honey Bee Farms 217-427-2678)


Hello friends, from David and Sheri Burns at Long Lane Honey Bee Farms in central Illinois. How are you?

Hello to our friends and fellow beekeepers and hello to all of you who are brand new to the idea of becoming a beekeeper. We are here to help you save the honey bee. One out of every three bites of food is from the pollination of a honey bee. We need our honey bees, and every hive that we keep means more bees pollinating gardens, crops and fruit trees. Do your part to help this effort by keeping honey bees, not to mention the health benefits of pure, raw honey from your hive! In today’s lesson I want to talk about the 7 Myths of Natural Beekeeping. Before I do, I have some important information to share…

TipJarThanks so much for joining us for another beekeeping lesson. We hope you’ll consider making a purchase from Long Lane Honey Bee Farms. We need your business. Buy a hive or two from us. Check out out hive kits below. Attend one of our classes. Your future business helps us raise our family, enjoy life and pay bills. Your donations helps us continue our work and research on the honey bee. These lessons are free and will provide you with as much if not more information than you would find in a $30 book. So if you are so inclined to make a $30 donation so that we might continue these lessons, CLICK HERE TO DONATE $30 Thank you in advance.

packkagesWe are NOW TAKING ORDERS FOR PICK UP FOR 3lb Packages of Bees with queen. Pick Up will be around the second week of April, but order now! They sell out fast. CLICK HERE TO ORDER ONLINE

The packages that we ship will go on sale online Tuesday Nov. 1st, 2011

Last year we sold out of packages in 90 days, so do not delay!

natural(You can click on the images to enlarge)

We’ve met some wonderful people at our two most recent classes these past two weekends. We taught a basic beekeeping class and a natural beekeeping class. We meet some of the best people in the world! At our natural class we talk about how easy it is to be a natural beekeeper whether you use Langstorth, Top Bar or Warre Hives.

tbh1Dustin Copass is our resident natural expert, especially with top bar hives. We now carry the top bar hives that he builds. Here Dustin is demonstrating how to work a TBH, how to handle the frames and how to extract honey.

warreWe also demonstrated the Warre hive and how to use it at our Natural Beekeeping class. Look at this Warre hive and you can see the beauty of the cedar as well as the unique quilt box filled with sawdust and with burlap attached.

We are also now carrying Warre hives built from Cedar that we get from our local lumber yard. While top bar hives have gained significant traction, Warre hives are starting to gain traction in popularity also. I’ll be writing a future lesson on the differences of these hives.

Today’s lesson is on natural beekeeping which can be accomplished in any hive.

Before our lesson today, we want to proudly introduce our hive kits for 2012 which is only a few months away. 2012 is election year and we are using an election theme for the names of our hive kits. We have 4 hive kits: Pioneer Kit, Independence Kit, Liberty Kit and Freedom Kit. We are now offering these kits with packages of bees.

FLAGWe are a hard working American small business, a family business pursuing our dreams. Each of us should count it a privilege to live in America and to have our independence, liberty and freedom. All eyes will be on the election of 2012, and with the election and the economy dominating 2012 we all need a getaway hobby or maybe a way to potentially make extra money. We encourage you to elect beekeeping! Click on the images below to find out more information on our special hive kits which also include a full 3lb package of bees (with queen). The bees will ship out in April or May. FREE SHIPPING THOUGH NOVEMBER.

With only 61 days left before Christmas, these also make great Christmas gifts!


This is our most complete kit. We always suggest starting with two hives. This kit comes with 2 completely assembled and painted hives, 2 3lb packages of bees with marked queen and all the supplies! Click here or on image to order. FREE SHIPPING


This kit comes with one hive and one 3 lb package of bees with marked queen and supplies. This Liberty kit differs from the Freedom kit in that this kit only has one hive and one package of bees. FREE SHIPPING.  Click here or on the image for more info or to order



This kit is a starter kit for those whose budgets are tight. You can buy additional boxes to add to the hive as the bees grow. This hive comes with one hive body and one package of bees and supplies. Click here or on the image for more info or to order.

This is a TOP BAR HIVE kit, complete with a top bar hive, 1 3lb package of bees and supplies such as a hat, veil, smoker and hive tool. Even if you already have a hive, why not try out a top bar hive! Yes, you can extract the honey. We enjoy ours. It’s been a lot of fun. What a great Christmas gift for someone you love that may already have traditional hives.

LESSON 111: Top 7 Myths of Natural Beekeeping

What does natural beekeeping really mean? Simply put, it means to keep bees naturally. Hobby beekeepers are quickly moving over to more natural beekeeping and to most this means little to no chemicals in the hive. Larger operations such as commercial and migratory beekeepers find that chemicals are essential to the success of their operations.

Years ago, we made a commitment to not use chemicals on our bees and instead focus our attention on raising queens that tend to be better survivors. It’s painful at first, but eventually pays off.

I’m a little bothered by saying I’m a natural beekeeper even though I do not use chemicals. Why? Because a truly natural hive is one that is in a hollow tree in the middle of a forest, or a hive in a tropical climate. Certainly we have learned to take really good care of bees in our boxes in our environment and in some cases we have saved colonies that may have died out on their own, from various pests and diseases. My point is that there are various levels of natural beekeeping.

An important part of natural beekeeping is natural comb, that is, allowing the bees to build their own comb without foundation. Ultimately, regressing bees (aka smaller bees) enter into the discussion and I promise to address this in a future lesson but not today.

Sheri and I have a beekeeping philosophy that we’ve embraced:

What we are doing is leaving the bees alone to a great extent, to do their own thing, in their own time, in their own way—as much as possible while we ask them to stay in OUR environment, in OUR boxes, and to share their resources with US.

This is about as natural as we can get. You may choose to be even more natural or you may choose to be less natural, maybe using some mite treatments here or there.

To help explain what natural beekeeping is or isn’t, we’d like to share our Top 7 Myths of Natural Beekeeping:

1. All natural beekeeping can only be done in a top bar hive.

This is not true. Especially if you are wanting your bees to make their own wax without foundation. This can be accomplished in any type of hive. In a Langstorth hive, let the bees build their foundation simply by not putting foundation in the frames. Police their growth carefully to prevent the combs from being built in the wrong directions, through the frames instead of on the frames.

2. When bees are allowed to make their own beeswax, it is and remains chemical free.

True and false. Studies have shown that at first new comb is chemical free, but over time, wax may have slight traces of beekeeper’s chemicals, carried in by drifting bees from hives where beekeepers are using chemicals or just from the environment. We recommend replacing your oldest comb. Each year remove 3 of your oldest frames of comb and let them build new comb.

3. Organic means that the final product (honey) from a top bar hive is more pure than honey from a Langstroth hive.

4. Natural, sustainable beekeeping means I will not have pests and diseases in my hives.

Pests and diseases are part of nature. However, preventing, reducing and getting rid of pests and diseases is workable in any type of beekeeping operation.

5. You can’t harvest honey from a top bar hive.

It is very easy to harvest honey from either a TBH or a Warre hive. Certainly not as easy as a Langstorth, but still not difficult.

6. You can’t overwinter in a top bar hive.

Healthy bees overwinter well provided they have enough pollen and honey in store for winter.

7. You can make money on a commercial level from natural beekeeping.

Certainly money can be made from a top bar or Warre hive, but not on a commercial level. Langstroth’s hives transport and stack nicely and the ability to change boxes is a big plus. However, most people do not keep TBH for commercial reasons but for enjoyment, pollination and a little honey on the table.

There are so many ways to keep a strong colony by using Integrated Pest Management techniques and holding off on chemicals.

We ship 3 lb packages of bees with marked queens. These will go on sale online on Nov. 1st but will not ship until April or May.

We are now selling online, 3 lb packages with queen. These are for pickup at our place only, in April 2012. These sell out fast, so order by clicking here.

Thanks for joining us for Lesson 111.

Our next two classes are coming up in January:

Basic Beekeeping January 21, 2012 Click Here

Advance Beekeeping February 11, 2012 Click Here

See you next time!
David & Sheri Burns
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms
Fairmount, Illinois


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