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  1. #21
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    Dec 2002
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    Default Re: Better Queens by Jay Smith

    I don't believe in luck.
    I believe in chance and skill.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  2. #22
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    Apr 2011
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    ElDorado,Arkansas,USA
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    Default Re: Better Queens by Jay Smith

    Solomon,I am just like you in the things I have done but what Ted is saying in the short of it is that hands on experience with someone that has already been do it for a living will allow you to learn even faster and better.Faster and better are the key words here.A book tells everything but it cant tell you Whoa,whoa,whoa you are getting ahead of yourself or No not like that do it like this!!!

  3. #23
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    Feb 2011
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    dadeville, alabama, USA
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    Default Re: Better Queens by Jay Smith

    Sadly, I believe I have failed as a teacher....If I can not get one to put down his or her defensive walls then how can I teach and how can they learn??? Knowledge is gained from experience. Experience is the best teacher. Hands on is how you gain experience from somebody that has stepped on themselves and made mistakes in the bee business. You should not have to make the same mistakes that somebody else has done already in the past. Mentors are part of your pedigree. Claude Payne, queen breeder, H.W. Grice, commercial honey producer, Thomas D. Norman, queen breeder, Gus Rouse, queen breeder, Jim Powers, commercial honey producer, Binford Weaver, queen breeder, these are the people that taught me "Hands On". Yes, I worked for them as an employee or with them and learned. I am sorry Sol, You can not get that type of education in a book. Please expand your horizons and go and work with a commercial beekeeper. You have just enough stubbornish to make a very good beekeeper. TED KRETSCHMANN

  4. #24
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    Apr 2007
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    Northern Virginia
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    758

    Default Re: Better Queens by Jay Smith

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    I don't believe that for a minute. Beekeeping isn't some sort of secret cult wherein the secrets are only passed from person to person. There isn't any special knowledge that you or anyone else has that can't be learned from a multitude of sources or experience and experimentation.
    There is no substitute for years of experience. period. For many of us who operate close to that "professional learners' realm and/or very used to academic leaning, reading research studies, etc. it is frustrating because our hands on experience lags way behind what our head knows or thinks it know and understands. Sure we can learn how to do it "from the book" but managing it in practice is an entirely different.

    I agree with my mentors and teachers..some of whom have already commented, folks can tell you 1000 times how to do it and you will be all the wiser from their lessons already learned, but there is no substitute for the years of experience that they have. I am right there myself (lacking the years of experience) but I have faith that as I keep at it, experience will be increasingly gained one season at a time, and more exposure to more experienced beeks than me will help that process tremendously. You might consider your dug in heels and keep an open mind about what some of the precious resources are telling you.
    Last edited by winevines; 05-04-2011 at 11:32 AM.
    karla

  5. #25
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    May 2009
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    Manassas, VA
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    Default Re: Better Queens by Jay Smith

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    I simply reject the idea that I can't learn whatever I need to know from a book and from doing it myself.
    I was clever enough to learn it all on my own when I was your age. It seems I've gotten less clever over the years, so now I'm reduced to also learning from the experience of others and having people show me how now and then.

    I still read, I still synthesize ideas from different views, I still experiment on my own. But overall, learning has gotten a lot cheaper in terms for time, money, and emotional turmoil.
    Want five answers to a bee question? Ask two beekeepers!

  6. #26
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    Dec 2002
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    Default Re: Better Queens by Jay Smith

    Come pick me up Ted, I'm available in the month of June.

    I just wish this could be about the questions I asked and not an argument over how effective a book is at teaching a concept. What a loss.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  7. #27
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    Apr 2011
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    ElDorado,Arkansas,USA
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    Default Re: Better Queens by Jay Smith

    I learned all mine from books.I had a mentor briefly till he took one of my only two hives I had back then and I had to go through a headache to get it back.Since then I have been on my own.You can read,read,read but hands on will be your real teacher.I wish I had of had someone to show me all the things books could not explain.You can learn a heck of a lot more from someone that has been there.One book I had showed all there is to grafting larvae but it didnt tell me one tiny thing like to make sure not to flip them over.A experienced queen raiser will tell you that during your first grafting experience and tell you exactly why.He can look at what you do and tell you what you need to do better.That book cant look over your shoulder and tell you what you have done wrong.I have done a lots of thing wrong over the years that the book didnt tell me that were wrong.

  8. #28
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    May 2009
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    Manassas, VA
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    58

    Default Re: Better Queens by Jay Smith

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    I just wish this could be about the questions I asked ...
    In your original post you asked "Those of you who have experience in queen rearing, what are your thoughts on Mr. Smith's book? What is your advice for someone with fewer than two dozen hives who would like to raise their own queens?"

    Seems to me Ted answered both of those questions, either implicitly, or explicitly. He apparently doesn't think Mr. Smith's (or anybody else's) book is the best way to learn, and his advice for learning how to raise queens it is to study under experienced people.

    You're free to accept or reject that advice in any measure you wish, of course.
    Want five answers to a bee question? Ask two beekeepers!

  9. #29
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    Jul 2006
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    Default Re: Better Queens by Jay Smith

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    Come pick me up Ted, I'm available in the month of June.
    Sol, I can't tell what you mean by the above. I would never take on a helper that wanted me to pick them up (even if they were joking about it). I'd be less inclined to take on a helper who suggests (perhaps in error) that they have nothing to do for a month anyways. I'm not trying to beat you up Sol, but come on, after being disdainful of the value of such an experience you offer so little enthusiasm....a month with a commercial beekeeper is experience worth thousands of dollars, not something to fill time up if someone will come pick you up.

    I did some grafting for a busy friend the other day...why him? He picked me up at home, drove me to his apiary, helped pick out a frame to graft from (and _ran_ to the car to get a flashlight when the clouds made seeing difficult), drove me home...and right back to work for him, even though I know he would have liked to stay for the grafting, i know he is that busy.

    I've spent some time observing and working with commercial beekeepers (driven from the Canadian border to south Florida, and flown more places in order to do so)....and rarely have I felt "useful"...as I know what someone that knows what they are doing can get done is more than they can get supervising helpers...even if they are skilled.

    I just wish this could be about the questions I asked and not an argument over how effective a book is at teaching a concept. What a loss.
    ...I think your question was answered. I know some that object to grafting...but would object to jay smith's method for the same reasons (unnatural, bees don't pick queens, too many queens from one colony at one time). most breeders i know do confine the queen in order to have full frames of the same aged larvae...if this is done, either method (using comb or grafting) will yield fine results.

    deknow

  10. #30
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    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Better Queens by Jay Smith

    Quote Originally Posted by deknow View Post
    few beekeepers keep secrets (there is no need, other beekeepers are so stubborn they won't listen anyways), deknow
    Ha! That's funny DeKnow, but so true! Not only in beekeeping, either!
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  11. #31
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    Dec 2002
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    Default Re: Better Queens by Jay Smith

    Quote Originally Posted by deknow View Post
    I would never take on a helper that wanted me to pick them up (even if they were joking about it). I'd be less inclined to take on a helper who suggests (perhaps in error) that they have nothing to do for a month anyways.
    Well, you see, I keep getting these suggestions that I go work for a commercial beekeeper, like I have the time and money and permission from my wife to go do such a thing. I don't. I would really love for there to be a big commercial beekeeper based out of Northwest Arkansas who I could go give some time to learn first hand. But it's not an option. So, I figured that if it were so important that I go work for a commercial beekeeper that Ted keeps mentioning it over and over and over again, I figure it's more important to him than it is to me, and he should make it happen, because I simply can't. So why does it keep getting suggested after I roundly rebuffed the advance?
    Quote Originally Posted by deknow View Post
    I'm not trying to beat you up Sol, but come on, after being disdainful of the value of such an experience you offer so little enthusiasm....a month with a commercial beekeeper is experience worth thousands of dollars, not something to fill time up if someone will come pick you up.
    I have not been disdainful of the value of such an experience, I have been disdainful of the idea that my experience and learning to do things myself is somehow inferior to the tutelage of another beekeeper. What about all the grief I've seen you take from bringing up Dee's methods from time to time? I know for a fact Ted disapproves of some of those. Would he want me to go work with her for a while, or with him? Say the words 'housel position' and he blows a fuse. I'm a civil engineer, not a commercial beekeeper. I obviously don't see the return of the time and efforts and money in the same light as you do. So why is something that would take up a good portion of my yearly income so valuable to me? It isn't. Is it valuable? Absolutely. Given the opportunity, I will do it. But I haven't been given the opportunity, unless you'd like to donate those thousands of dollars for me to go do it.

    I just want to rear some queens on my own. But apparently reading books isn't good enough. Apparently the only way to be good at it is to have someone show me how to do it. I flatly reject the idea.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  12. #32
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    Jul 2006
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    Default Re: Better Queens by Jay Smith

    ...i'm going to take the courageous path, and agree with both you and ted

    i don't think you need to work with a commercial beekeeper to learn to raise a few queens (the method posted by don is a great one...bust a large hive down to one box filled with brood and harvest the queen cells...no need to make it queenless). this might make more sense than grafting (which is going to require some kind of cell builder). regardless, you might want to graft.

    i also don't think that you can learn all the nuances of high level queen rearing from a book...it takes several (many? countless?) seasons of experince, of trial and error. you can learn some of the nuances of someone elses method if you work with the beekeeper....some things (like thinks you see, hear, smell, sense) you have to experience. for instance, how do you know if a cell builder is ready for cells? well....the first time you see it, you know (the bees are excited...they festoon in any empty space...they have a specific vibe)...you cannot picture this from a description, you have to be there.

    deknow

  13. #33
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    Dec 2002
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    Denver, Colorado
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    Default Re: Better Queens by Jay Smith

    Thanks Dean, that's exactly the sort of information that I am really looking for.

    You are right. It's like knowing the age of a queen cell just by looking at it. I know it's something many people can do, but I haven't gotten the opportunity to look at as many as I'd like to yet. But I'm learning. I'm learning about things you do on purpose rather than allowing to happen, like keeping track of the days between starting cells and when it's time to move to the mating nuc. And I'm taking pictures and blogging and keeping track of the hives in a spreadsheet so I can draw on last year's experience rather than having to learn over and over again until it sticks.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  14. #34
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    Default Re: Better Queens by Jay Smith

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    I'm learning about things you do on purpose rather than allowing to happen, like keeping track of the days between starting cells and when it's time to move to the mating nuc. And I'm taking pictures and blogging and keeping track of the hives in a spreadsheet so I can draw on last year's experience rather than having to learn over and over again until it sticks.
    Let me know when the bees start doing what you think they should do based on past experience!

    deknow

  15. #35
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    Jan 2009
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    Clifford Township, PA
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    2,023

    Default Re: Better Queens by Jay Smith

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    I wouldn't want my house wired by an electrician with a book in one hand ...
    Nor would I. But a self-taught queen-raising beek isn't going to burn his house down through improper grafting.

    Like a lot of folks, given my job responsibilities, going to apprentice with a commercial breeder isn't a possiblility. My collection of books, what I can learn from youtube videos and what I can glean here will have to suffice. I guess I will just have to be content to be second rate, having just those books to learn from.

    I can live with that and that is all that's important to me.

    Wayne

  16. #36
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    Apr 2010
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    Tipton, TN, USA
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    Default Re: Better Queens by Jay Smith

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    Well, you see, I keep getting these suggestions that I go work for a commercial beekeeper
    There are a handful of commerical guys in Arkansas... But I don't see any reason you can't do it on your own. As you stated in your finishing comment.

    I've done most of mine on my own, but I can tell you that everytime I meet up with an oldtimer or newtimer, I learn something new. Generally things that aren't in a book.

    I'm a long way from a "commerical" guy and most of my hives are in TN, not AR. But I plan on having somewhere around 100 in AR in the next couple years. Currently, only have 2 on that side of the river. *Gas is too expansive to drive there often.*

    Either way, just know that doing it on your own can be costly, but not impossible.

    Learning from someone elses mistakes is in my opinion, is generally cheaper. It's like buying a used car, let someone else take the depreciation. *Just don't get a lemon*

  17. #37
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    Jul 2006
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    Default Re: Better Queens by Jay Smith

    I should also say that if one wants to be good enough, the only thing that will be lacking is efficiency. One does not need to be efficient to rear a few rounds of top quality queens during the season (especially if it is combined with splitting or other management in the apiary). By the time you are selling (or relying upon) mated queens, however, you have to do things on a schedule and according to a system.

    mini mating nucs start to look good when you realize that they could double your production (or more) over 5 frame deep nucs.

    currently, we have decided not to sell mated queens. we have an insatiable demand for our honey (at a very good price), and can't justify breaking up a hive that might produce just 10lbs of surplus in order to mate/sell 8 queens.

    deknow

  18. #38
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    Jun 2003
    Location
    Lakeland FL
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    847

    Default Re: Better Queens by Jay Smith

    ted you are right on the money! and WOW what a bunch of people to work for! If a guy wanted to start in bees and could work for those people and listen to them they would be years and big money ahead of the game. I will have to say that learning from other beekeepers is the best thing you can do. It is either a lesson on how to do something or how not to do something lol

    I will make time in my schedule to visit other beekeepers and i dont think i have ever walked away from a guys place and not learned something and a few times its been that 10,000$ tip not a bad day worth of work.

    Now on topic you cant burn down your house by raising your own queens and not knowing what you are doing but you sure can burn down your operation by raising some bad queens it has been done before. be careful

    regards Nick

  19. #39
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    Feb 2011
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    dadeville, alabama, USA
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    Default Re: Better Queens by Jay Smith

    Bobby Coy is a hop, skip and a jump up the road from you. He operates 10000 colonies of bees. No excuses please! TK

  20. #40
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    Dec 2002
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    Denver, Colorado
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    Default Re: Better Queens by Jay Smith

    Bobby Coy is quite literally at the other end of the state, a five hour drive. I'm going to visit Michael Bush in Nebraska instead.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

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