I don't believe in luck.
I believe in chance and skill.
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!!!
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
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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 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.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 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.
...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.
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.
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.
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*
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.
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
Bobby Coy is a hop, skip and a jump up the road from you. He operates 10000 colonies of bees. No excuses please! TK