Lesson 128 Why Did My Bees Die? www.honeybeesonline.com 217-427-2678

Hello from Long Lane Honey Bee Farms. Happy New Years! 2012 was a wonderful year, and we’d like to especially say a big thank you to all of our customers and supporters!
Sheri and I have spent so  much time gearing up for a fantastic 2013 beekeeping year. Right now, we have snow on the ground, the trees look dead, the hives are clustered and quiet. Even though it is winter, spring is coming. I cannot believe the number of packages for pickup we have sold already. It is staggering! So, do not put it off another day. Maybe you cannot really decided if you want to keep bees this year or wait. Why wait?   So many people wait and decide in April or May when all the bees are sold out and equipment is scarce.
facebook Before today’s lesson, I’d like to ask a favor. There are two important ways that you can help us promote beekeeping and our beekeeping business. First, like us on Facebook, and encourage others to like us. Our Facebook page has good, up to date beekeeping information, recipes, tips, gift certificates and much more. We are up to 1,119 likes. Help us watch those numbers soar. Click on the Facebook image or go to: http://www.facebook.com/longlanehoney Every 100th like receives a gift certificate. THANK YOU IN ADVANCE!
The second way you can help us is to place a link on your website or your association or club’s website back to our main website: http://www.honeybeesonline.com
We have recently made some great additions to our website such as: Recipes, Frequently Asked Beekeeping Questions,  Beekeeping Trivia, How Bees Make Honey and some of my own personal opinions raw and unfiltered. So have your web master link back to our website for great beekeeping information. We appreciate it!
winterbkind It’s not too late to add our Winter-Bee-Kind candy board to help your bees this winter. It has sugar, pollen, honey-b-healthy, insulation to reduce upper condensation in the hive and an upper vent. You can add it to your hive in less that 15 seconds even in cold weather. Why not give your bees the added edge for winter survival!
Click here or go to: http://www.honeybeesonline.com/servlet/Detail?no=145
We are David and Sheri Burns and if this is your first time to meet us, let us just say…well, we are passionate about beekeeping. We are so excited about the surge of new people becoming beekeepers. We have been giving out the clarion call for years that in order to save the honey bees, we need more beekeepers.
Not only do we long to see more people become beekeepers, but we do everything we can to make it easy to become a beekeeper. We are a special beekeeping one stop shop. At many places you can only buy bees, or you can only buy equipment and you may not always receive the most up to date beekeeping advice. Here at Long Lane Honey Bee Farms, we provide the bees, queens, beekeeping equipment and have a certified master beekeeper to guide our customers to a successful experience keeping bees. Also, when comparing prices remember all of our hives are assembled and painted with 3 coats of paint with wooden frames. Bees wax coated foundation is included as well. We also offer beekeeping classes, beekeeping videos, beekeeping podcast and more.
An additional way we help beekeepers is by writing timely and up to date beekeeping lessons. Today’s lesson addresses the question, “Why did my bees die?”  A few months back I was invited to speak to Missouri beekeepers and my assignment was to help take them to the next level. I love this approach because there are so many basic classes, but hardly no additional Advance classes to take the beekeeper further.  Over these last few months I have been refining that presentation and adding to it and now I want to present to you this lesson. You’ll want to pass this one on to your fellow beekeepers who have trouble keeping hives alive.
Class Before I begin, let me invite you to our beekeeping courses coming up in February. We still have openings for you. Our Feb. 9th basic beekeeping class has sold out. However, we still have registrations available at our next class: 
Saturday February 23, 2013 Basic Beekeeping We have many more classes coming up throughout the year, but check out these two beginner courses at our location here in Illinois at our new Beekeeping Educational Center. Also, we have several new hive kits with and without bees. These are great ways to add more hives to your apiary (a place where bees are kept) or you may be starting out as a new beekeeping in 2013. Let me quickly show you our 2013 products before our lesson today. Click on the images below for more information or to place an order. RoyalHiveKit Wording TravelersExpandedkit
Click on any image above for complete ordering information. We take all the headache out of becoming a beekeeper. One click and you have bees and a hive ordered. Don’t waste time trying to figure out if it comes with frames and matching up the right pieces. We make it simple and enjoyable like it should be.

LESSON 128: Why Did My Bees Die?

Bearding Most of us enter beekeeping believing that we will show the rest of the world how to keep bees and never lose a colony. Our intention is to be the perfect beekeeper, keeping great records, making more frequent hive inspections, generally speaking being an above average beekeeper. Then, when we lose our first colony we are almost offended that bees would die under our watch. Or we start keeping bees loving our new bees like a new pet. A love affair begins and our bees seem to love us and appreciate the privilege to live on our property. Likewise we are fascinated by this awesome creature and we are enamored by their sheer majesty.
Occasionally, there is never a problem. The hive flourishes, produces honey, survives winter, requires little management and we brag of our beekeeping skill and style. All is well. I wish that I could promise such great success with every hive, but bees are considered livestock. Anyone who has ever kept animals know the unpredictable finally happens. Our new dog runs out into the street. Our talking parrot flies out an opened door, a cow gets sick or our horse gets some sort of equine encephalitis from a mosquito and dies. Bees face the same sort of challenges.
Why did my bees die? When a colony dies, it’s almost impossible to identify the cause of death. I’ve had people ship me bees in a shoe box and ask me to tell them what killed their bees. A bee is not a single organism, the hive is. Therefore, we have to evaluate the entire colony to determine the cause of death. Even then there are so many variables that the cause of death is often inconclusive. Was it starvation? Queenlessness? Did they swarm in late summer and took too long to finally raise a good queen, so the population of bees was not large enough to overwinter? These types of problems can be prevented. But what about something that can’t be seen, like tracheal mites, or viruses spread by varroa mites. These are the invisible, silent killer of colonies. My experience in working with thousands of beekeepers a year is that most colonies die due to inadequate beekeeping practices. In other words, pilot error or avoidable mistakes. Don’t misunderstand, today our bees do face more challenges than 40 years ago.
deadbeemiteSince the late 1980s, the beekeeping scene has changed significantly. In the late 80s and early 90s the varroa mite made its way into America and hit the bees hard. There was a great falling away from beekeeping. Very little was known about the mite and how to keep bees alive that had mites. Hobbyist dropped out. Prior to the mites, we would put bees in a hive, keep an eye out for American Foul Brood and wait until fall and take off a crop of honey. Beekeeping was simpler. Now beekeeping is still almost that simple, only now we must be a much smarter, educated and trained beekeeper because there is more to keep an eye on.
Then, around 2006, CCD changed the beekeeping scene again. Large operations were hit with what is now called Colony Collapse Disorder. In large operations, bees just disappeared. Crazy speculations were tossed around like green Martians were stealing the bees or cell phones were confusing the bees ability to get back home. Now we suspect it is a combination of stresses, poor nutrition, environmental factors, and pests and diseases. However, with CCD there was a silver lining, a redeeming quality…interest in saving the bees surged!  Everyone started rolling up their sleeves to save the bees. More people became new beekeepers as a way to offset the declining bee population. And it’s working! honeyjar About this same time an interest in local food and a more self-sustainable life gained full traction. Some call it the green movement, agrarian living or eating more local food known as locavore. Prior to this time, beekeeping was the weird cousin of Agriculture.  But now, beekeeping has become the rich uncle and everyone wants written into the will. What I mean is, beekeeping is now seen as an essential part of life that we cannot deny. Bees pollinate our crops. In fact, bees pollinate the foods that we now want to eat more of such as fruits and vegetables. With processed sugar getting a bad rap, more and more people are moving over to nature’s natural sweetener, honey. Also, more people are looking for ways to add additional income by working from home or on the farm. Now selling honey seems more attractive than ever before as honey now brings an easy $6 a pound. If a hive produces 70 pounds of honey, that’s $420 a hive.  It seems that no matter what challenges are thrown at honey bees, they survive and so do the courageous beekeepers who are fascinated by this awesome creature, the honey bee. ClassStLouis Prior to theses increased challenges, beekeeping was waning. Now there is an increase interest in beekeeping, more new beekeepers and more funding for research. Prior to today’s beekeeping interest there was less media attention and certainly less educational opportunities for beekeepers. Now, with a renewed interest in bees, beekeeping classes abound and the honey bee has earned rock star status. Beekeeping is now an important part of our view of nature, even our own survival. Sounds so picturesque, right? We still need more beekeepers to help restore the honey bee population. It is getting slightly better, but the bees are not out of intensive care just yet.  So today’s beekeeper can no longer throw bees in a box and everything will turn out perfectly. The modern beekeeper is a totally different keeper of bees. I call today’s beekeeper a triage beekeeper.  The word triage is a French word that means to separate, sift or select. It’s a word used in hospitals because ER doctors and nurses select which patient needs the most immediate attention. Triage is the order and priority of emergency treatment. This is our focus in our Advance Beekeeping Classes.
For those of you who are thinking about becoming a beekeeper, stay with me. We need you to help keep more bees. The bees need your expertise. Bees need you to assess colonies, and to help them overcome their new adversaries, new pests and diseases. Our obsession to live in a weed-free and bug-free world is probably what is hurting our bees the most. Without weeds, our bees cannot obtain the variety of nectar and pollen they need. We take pride in our weed free yards. We keep our ditches mowed and fence rows cleared. We monocrop two or three crops that will bring in the most money.  My clarion call is for more beekeepers to become better trained beekeepers that are more able to provide triage on some hives when needed.
deadsnowbees Today’s successful beekeeper must learn to be a triage beekeeper. Some beginning beekeeping classes only focus on how to keep bees as if it was still 1962, giving the basics on how to start but not how to do daily triage. If every commercial pilot was allowed to fly with the same knowledge most beekeepers start keeping bees, the number of plane crashes would be staggering. Therefore, the answer is for every beekeeper to increase their knowledge base and skill sets when it comes to the honey bee. Every time we do our hive inspections we must assesses our hives and determine which ones need immediate attention.  As soon as we open a lid, we must be focused on smashing small hive beetles. We should have proven practices in place to assess our mite population in each hive and what actions if any are needed. Every new beekeeper must be equipped with four non-chemical, IPM methods to deal with varroa mites. We must be able to identify deformed wing virus, American and European foul brood and to evaluate the queen. How well is she laying and how healthy are her daughters. New beekeepers must learn how to conduct a brood viability test. Beekeeping is on the rise. The ranks of beekeeping is expanding. Research is working. Most of us who produce queens are working hard to raise local queens from hives that survive year after year without antibiotics, and other chemicals. Isn’t that really what we want? Not a hive that depends on antibiotics and miticides, but a colony that has their own ability to overcome the challenges of today. As bees make this transition, we must do our part. On our website, I’ve listed what most bees die from and the most common beekeeping errors and mistakes that kills bees. Visit this page often: Just go to: http://www.honeybeesonline.com/healthybees.html or click here. Thanks for joining us today! Long Lane Honey Bee Farms (honeybeesonline.com)
14556 N 1020 E Rd
Fairmount, IL 61841
We are located in East Central Illinois Visit us online at: www.honeybeesonline.com or call us at 217-427-2678

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