LESSON 116: STATE BEE INSPECTORS & YOU MUST FEED YOUR BEES www.honeybeesonline.com 217-427-2678

DavidMB

In today’s lesson David will share why state bee inspection programs are so important and give you several ways you can best utilize this service. And David will also explain why this warmer winter posses a serious threat to bees surviving and what you can do to save the bees!

Hi, we are David & Sheri Burns, of Long Lane Honey Bee Farms. Sheri and I were high school sweethearts, married as soon as we graduated and immediately started our family of six children, now ranging in age from 30 to 4. (That’s not a typo). We set out to work hard, make a decent living and raise our children in the fear and admonition of the LORD. I’ve spent my whole live (from age 18) preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ. I’ve preached in villages in Africa, India and lots of other countries. When I was younger, I worked in the fields, factories and even went door to door selling smoke detectors to make a living. So Sheri and I are as ordinary as it gets.We are down to earth, hard working folks trying to get the most out of life and pay our way through life. Isn’t that what we’re all really trying to accomplish. Honey bees have helped us reach our dreams.

From early on, keeping bees has been part of our life. I started keeping bees 17 years ago. Didn’t know what I was doing, but an elder in our church helped me get started by cutting a hive from a fallen tree. He suited me up and I’ve been hooked ever since. It’s a hoot. We’ve learned to really love keeping bees and this passion has spilled over to our beekeeping business. We want others to enjoy this relaxing hobby and to help rebuild the honey bee population in our country. We need our bees to pollinate our food. Not to mention that the honey is good for us.

After 17 years of constantly learning about bees I studied hard and became a master beekeeper. There are only about 120 EAS certified master beekeepers in the world. I worked to become a master beekeeper so that our customers could benefit more from the classes I teach and these lessons that I write. Becoming a master beekeeper equipped me to be a better mentor and teacher for our customers. That’s my story, what’s yours?

OUR CLASSES ARE OVERFLOWING!  Due to the increase student registration for our March 24th beginner’s class we are now offering this same beginner’s class on Sunday, March 25th from Noon – 6pm. Click here to register for our Sunday, March 25th Beginner’s Class.

We are trying hard to get more packages, and as of yesterday we have about 50 remaining, but we are only selling packages of bees that go with our hive kits. So call us today or next week to place an order to get started with a hive or two and some bees. Don’t delay. 217-427-2678.

Join me March 9-10 as I’ll be speaking at the Missouri State Beekeeper’s Association meeting in St. Louis. Here’s the agenda. To register, CLICK HERE. It will be held at the Marriott St. Louis West,  660 Maryville Centre Drive, St. Louis, MO 63141. Other speakers include Jerry Hayes, Dr. May Berenbaum and Dr. Greg Hunt.

LESSON 116: State Bee Inspectors And You Must Feed Your Bees.

Throughout my years of keeping bees I’ve always benefited from bee inspectors. I first started keeping bees when I lived in Ohio. A year before I started beekeeping we lived in a house that had someone else’s bee hives out back. I remember watching from the window the bee inspector taking the hive apart and looking at frames. He left a sheet of paper with me stating that the bees were healthy.

Because we sell nucs, our bees have to be inspected every year. A nuc is a very small hive, maybe four or five frames with a queen. In order for customers to purchase nucs, they must be inspected, approved and also have a moving permit for each nuc. This has been the best of experience. Each year, the inspector spends the big part of a day searching for any problems, filling out health certificates and moving permits. It is a valuable service. We know our inspector very well and consider him a friend. Though some states do not have any inspectors, our state has 8. Our neighboring state of Indiana has only 1.

I’ve heard some say they feel threatened by “big government” messing with their bees. But this is not the case at all. Our honey bees have much more to deal with today and state inspectors are here to help. They are a tool that beekeepers should embrace and take full advantage of their services.

If you see something that concerns you or you just need help knowing if your queen is doing okay, call your inspector. Don’t sit around and wonder if you have a disease or a pest, call your inspector.

Because of our inspection program we can rest more comfortably knowing that our inspectors are merely trying to prevent the spread of harmful pests and diseases.

So we strongly urge all beekeepers to register hives with either your Department of Ag or Division of natural Resources.

WARNING: YOUR BEES MAY STARVE FROM THE WARM WINTER

Bees cluster in the hive when the temperature drops below 50 degrees F.  A mild winter can cause the hive to get an early start raising new brood. This new brood requires a significant amount of pollen and nectar. Now that most hives are raising significant amounts of new brood, the demand for pollen and nectar is strong. In northern states we are several weeks away from any type of natural resources for our bees. And if we have more than a few days of extremely cold weather, the bees will be forced to cluster without food over the brood to keep it warm, and they may starve out.

There are several ways to feed bees during late winter and early spring. For Northern states the weather will change back and forth so an entrance feeder is not recommended. In a cold snap, bees will cluster and not be able to reach the entrance feeder. Here are feeding methods we recommend:

1) Candy Boards
Our first choice is the use of candy boards. We sell a candy board we call Winter-Bee-Kind which has an upper vent/entrance, insulation and 5 lbs of sugar with pollen mixed in as well. Placed on the top of the hive, it is always above the cluster for easy access. The upper vent/entrance allows bees to stay close to the food source but still be about to exit the hive when needed without having to travel all the way down to the lower entrance.

2) Top Feeders
Top feeders are large reservoirs placed over the top of the hive and usually hold between 1-3 gallons of liquid fed such as 1:1 sugar water. As long as the temperature remains warm these are effective. However, if there is a sudden drop in temperature the bees will be stranded feeding and fail to re-cluster and freeze. So be sure you are out of the woods for cold snaps. Some make their own top feeders by placing pails or entrance feeders on top of the hive and then place an empty deep hive body around it with a lid. Again, make sure the temperature does not rapidly fall off or this added space above the hive can deplete their pocket of warmth.

3) Frame Feeders
Frame feeders are plastic reservoirs shaped like a frame and slip in place of a frame in the brood nest area. Their obvious disadvantage is that the temperature has to be above 60 degrees F in order to manipulate frames to place it in the hive. Be sure to include chicken wire, card board or some sort of floaters to prevent the bees from drowning in the sugar water.

Please take the warning that most colonies starve and crash in March. The increase brood requires much more food. In fact, they are consuming much more food than they can bring in. So they will rapidly deplete their stored resources. Feed your bees starting now!

Thanks for joining us for another lesson in beekeeping. Please check out our other resources:

BEEKEEPING PODCASTS
FREE ONLINE LESSONS IN BEEKEEPING
OUR BEEKEEPING VIDEO INSTITUE

We have the lowest price on complete hives. Assembled, painted with wooden frames and plasticell foundation, screen bottom board, inner cover, two deeps and a medium super with metal covered telescoping top cover only $199. Same price for the last 3 years!  When comparing prices remember that a good gallon of paint is $25. Our hives are painted, assembled and ready for bees. CLICK HERE TO VIEW OUR COMPLETE ASSEMBLED HIVE FOR $199

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CONTACT PHONE: 217-427-2678 M-F 8:30am-4:30pm Central Time

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