The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

November 13, 2009

Area man promotes beekeeping

(Continued)



On his farm, Burns has about 100 hives from which he harvests the honey he sells.

“We usually harvest the honey weekly from the hives,” Burns said. “Our main harvest season is naturally when the flowers bloom during June, July and August.”

Burns said each harvest brings in about 75-100 pounds of honey. When he collects the honey he said it is important not to remove all of the honey from the hive.

“The bees use the honey for food,” added Burns. “So you have to be careful on how much you remove because you need to leave enough for the bees to feed on.”

Burns has developed a docile swarm of bees.

“There are several species of bees,” Burns said. “The Italian bees are the most docile and that is mainly what I have.”

Burns works without a hat or protective veil around his bees. He said he is unsure if the bees are just that calm or perhaps they know him and trust him.

Not only does Burns raise honey to sell, he also raises queen bees and ships them all over the country.

“When a queen is removed from the hive, the worker bees will instinctively create a new queen bee,” explained Burns. “The worker bees will choose an egg that is 9-12 days old and pack the cell it is in with ‘royal jelly’.”

The royal jelly is an enzyme produce from a gland in the head of what are called nurse bees. This royal jelly will make the bee that is hatched a queen. She will then fly off and mate with the drones and come back to begin laying eggs.

A queen bee will hatch from an egg in about 16 days, a worker bee in 21 days and a drone in 24 days.

Burns then packages the queens into tiny wooden boxes with screening over it with a few worker bees and some beeswax.

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