Something Sweeter Than Honey in the Hive

Reader Contribution by David Burns

Sheri and I would like to extend a warm greeting to you and your family from our little corner of the world, Long Lane Honey Bee Farms.

I want to share with you what I believe is a powerful life lesson indeed. I want to share about the importance beekeeping can have in helping to make our lives complete. Beekeeping can greatly enrich our lives. Most of my life has been spent helping people through many challenges in life. People who have struggled with life’s most challenging blows, poor health, family issues, unemployment, marital issues, and the list goes on.

When life throws us a curve, we may fall into despair and hopelessness. Life is good, but life can be hard at times, sometimes more than we can bear. During these times of struggle we can become overly engrossed in our woes. During these moments of heartache and depression, beekeeping can be very therapeutic.

The current hive that is standard throughout the beekeeping community was designed by Rev. Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth (1810-1895). His books and writings appear as if written by the lead entomologist of our day. Without the modern day University labs, Langstroth made life-changing discoveries about the bee and the construction of our current bee hive. Yet, Langstroth had bouts with depression, and when life drove him into some deep moments of despair and hopelessness, he poured himself into his bees. The entrances to his hives were the doorways into comfort and peace. 

I’ve traveled to Israel 5 different times and remember listening on the news to Israel’s former Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, giving a speech to the UN General Assembly in September, 2005. Part of his speech really left an impression on me. “I was born in the Land of Israel, the son of pioneers — people who tilled the land and sought no fights — who did not come to Israel to dispossess its residents. If the circumstances had not demanded it, I would not have become a soldier, but rather a farmer and agriculturist. My first love was, and remains, manual labor; sowing and harvesting, the pastures, the flock and the cattle.”

For most of us, there is a desire to return to the land, to enjoy fresh air, feel the fertile soil between our fingers, to sow and harvest … manual labor. But life’s circumstances have demanded we do other things.

Still, there is something in us that is restored and healed by the wind blowing through our hair, the sun in our face and the pleasant sounds of nature. Our soul is replenished by the smell of fresh flowers, freshly cut grass or newly plowed soil. Beekeeping is an outlet. An escape from our demands, problems and troubles and a return to that which can truly enrich our lives, nature at its best.

I cannot imagine my life without my bees. Some people watch TV and some attend sporting events for entertainment. But for me, nothing is as entertaining as watching my bees navigate the skies with their payloads hour after hour. Nothing keeps my mind sharp and expanding like learning about the honey bee.

Whether you ever make a profit from your bees or not, beekeeping brings about a completeness, a satisfaction that few things can offer.

David & Sheri Burns
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms
14556 N. 1020 E. Rd
Fairmount, IL 61841
(217) 427-2678

Photos (other than Langstroth portrait): David Burns

Langstroth photo: Creative Commons