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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,408

    Post

    If you are a newbie (newbee?) and have been paying attention, by now you should be starting to realize that there are different philosophies of beekeeping.

    As far as managment I would say there is a whole spectrum but at the ends are these:

    On one end of the spectrum are those who want total control of everything. They want pure bred bees from a queen breeder. They want the bees to draw comb when they want them to, to start rearing brood when they want them to. To fill out the combs the way they think they should. etc. If the bees aren't doing what they think they should, they look for ways to make them.

    Then there are those who figure the bees know what they are doing and try to help them do it.

    As an example, many beekeepers want ONLY queens from breeders in their hives and will go to great lengths to assure they have a purebred queen. Others think it's important to have acclimatized stock that have the right instincts to survive in that climate and these people go to great lengths to make sure they have local stock, or let their bees breed with local stock to get those genes.

    As far as pest management there are those who want to kill every last one of every pest, regardless of the impact to the bees. They will use whatever chemcials are available and approved and will use them as a preventative when the pests are not even known to be there.

    And there are those who will not treat at all and want the bees to find a way to exist with the "pests".

    In between are those who are willing to do some things to tip the balance in favor of the bees. The whole spectrum is here too, from those who will use chemicals (TM, Fumidil, Apistan and Checkmite) when something is needed, to those who will only use "soft" chemicals (FGMO, Oxalic Acid, Formic Acid, Essential oils etc.).

    In the end you have to decide what your philosophy is, and how you are going to raise your bees.

    You will find that often the bees will not do what you think they should no matter what you do. But on the other hand, you'll find there are managment techniques that are more or less intensive that can improve honey yeilds. You need to decide how much you want to interfere (help?) and how much you want to leave them alone.

    A lot of this will depend on your basic philosophy of life. A lot may change as you raise bees and the bees change your philosophy of life.

    There are those who just raise bees "by the book", and then there are the experimenters.

    Some of the experimenters are just trying things to be trying them. Some are trying to resolve a problem or simplify their life or minimize their work. Others are just trying to see what happens.

    Once in a while someone comes up with a really good idea, but mostly beekeeping continues as it has for more than 100 years, in Langstroth boxes with some variantions on box size(frames), depth (medium, deep, dadant deep etc.) entrance position etc.

    Beekeepers, for the most part, seem to be do-it-yourselfers who experiment and build things. We all have our own methods that have worked for us, so we keep doing them. Quite often our methods are at odds to others' methods.

    Quite often our style of management has deveolped based on our eqiupment, or we modify the equipent to our style of managment. In some cases advice one beekeeper gives you is dependant on their overall managment for success. As an example, moving brood up to "bait up" a super is dependant on having brood frames that are the same size as your supers. Closing off the bottom entrance and having a top one, is dependant on not having an excluder, because the drones will get trapped. Adding an excluder if you don't have a top entrance can fail because you trap a lot of drones in the supers.

    So all in all, you have to consider the ramifications of your actions in light of YOUR hives and YOUR managment system. Whenever you do something to the hive, think about where the drones will go. Think about if the queen is mated and if note, can she can get out to mate. There are always ramifications from your actions on the hive.

  2. #2
    jfischer Guest

    Post

    I used to have a few hives, and a lot of theories about beekeeping.
    Now I have many more hives, and far fewer theories and opinions.

    This experience is almost universal among the larger beekeepers.
    Just ask 'em.

    The good news is that bees not only survive but thrive under a wide
    range of outright abuses inflicted by beekeepers who presume to have
    a "philosophy".

    The best news is that by paying attention to the bees, it is fairly easy
    to see what is counter-productive, what is productive, and what is indifferent.

    Sadly many beekeepers are too busy looking for tiny shreds of evidence to support
    their "philosophy" to see the evidence of the bee's success/failure due to the
    beekeeper's choices.

    Like any agricultural endeavor, beekeeping has a large weather component.
    Most success stories in beekeeping can be traced to avoid the more grievous
    errors, and being blessed with good weather.

  3. #3
    henry Guest

    Post

    I am new to beekeeping, my first season. In the beekeeping beginners guide I was given , a few things turned out false. In the years work by month it said "August, all threat of swarming is gone.BOLOGNA! I found a ripe queen cell last week....Package bees WILL swarm..at least mine did in june..after adding two supers and making a split!.. The queen doesen't always come back after mating.
    100% capped honey can test over 20% moisture.
    The FFA always said "Learn by doing"...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    michigan
    Posts
    393

    Post

    "being blessed with good weather"

    awwwww......a great honey flow makes even the junkiest bees and poorest beekeeper look good

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    NE Calif.
    Posts
    2,290

    Post

    >>awwwww......a great honey flow makes even the junkiest bees and poorest beekeeper look good

    Exactly!!
    As far as an operating philosophy, I guess mine would have to be to keep them alive and healthy(much harder since the mites arrived),then get them to good forage.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,408

    Post

    >Like any agricultural endeavor, beekeeping has a large weather component.
    Most success stories in beekeeping can be traced to avoid the more grievous
    errors, and being blessed with good weather.

    Which is why it's MORE useful to do side by side tests of ideas to see the results under similar weather and foraging conditions.

    >Sadly many beekeepers are too busy looking for tiny shreds of evidence to support
    their "philosophy" to see the evidence of the bee's success/failure due to the
    beekeeper's choices.

    Unfortunately even if they are trying to be very honest, and even if they are doing a side by side tests of two methods, often a side by side test of running two hives in a way you believe to be identical results in dramatic differences, and it's easy to do side by side tests of two methods and come to the conclusion that one was better when it was just the luck of the draw, the quality of the queen, or whatever all the things are that add up to one hive thriving next door to one that fails.

  7. #7
    jfischer Guest

    Post

    > often a side by side test of running two
    > hives in a way you believe to be identical > results in dramatic differences, and it's
    > easy to do side by side tests of two
    > methods and come to the conclusion that
    > one was better when it was just the luck
    > of the draw, the quality of the queen, or
    > whatever all the things are that add up to
    > one hive thriving next door to one that
    > fails.

    Exactly. Experiment set-up and study
    methodology is a pain in the rear, but it
    must be done. Problem is, it is hard to
    do "double blind" experiements in beekeeping,
    as most things are hard to "disguise", or
    lack "placebo" equivalents.

    So, some things must be believed to be seen.



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