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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,113

    Default What have you learned this year?

    It's the end of the year, or so we in our advanced state believe. New Years Day is not special, except that it came from the day dedicated to the Roman God Janus or maybe the day baby Jesus was circumcised. It's not the longest day, or the shortest day, a solstice or an equinox. But for northern hemisphere beekeepers, it is a kind of split between major parts of the year. It's a dead day as we call the day between classes and finals here in the academic world. I'm sure southern hemisphere beeks have their own way of thinking of it. For me, it begins the beekeeping season. I'm cleaning up last year's messes and planning this next year's.

    So what did you learn this year? What worked or didn't work? What are your basic plans for next year? How did you do this year? What did you plan to do and succeed? Where did you fail in last year's plans? What do you plan to learn this year?
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Pueblo, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    698

    Default Re: What have you learned this year?

    I learned much better ways to make frames which cut my production time down drastically. I learned not to check my hives on cloudy/cold days without a veil, how to recognize diseases and mites and how heavy my boxes should be for my area going into winter.

    I didn't feed much, only when i installed the packages, that will be different in the spring. I also don't know if going treatment free was the best idea for a first year beekeeper but, despite others opinions, I'll stay that way and work with the survivors. Reading books, practical experience, and the way things actually are, are vastly different things, I will spend more time with my mentor this spring.

    Assuming I have even 1 hive left in the spring my plans are to do my first splits and some graftless queen rearing, swarm catching, and possibly some cut outs/trap outs to boost my hive numbers. Again assuming I have at least 1 hive in the spring, I want to buy a few Robert Russell Carni queens for (hopefully) 2 hives, maybe get a sunkist queen too. I thoroughly enjoy my honey bees but my main interests have always been with native bees/pollinators which, by the way, are completely treatment free also. I think thats what actually set my mindset on how I manage my honey bees. My long term goals are to stay foundationless, treatment free, and to have a sustainable apiary that I can use to pollinate our watermellon crops.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Baker Oregon
    Posts
    2,416

    Default Re: What have you learned this year?

    Quote Originally Posted by rwurster View Post
    I want to buy a few Robert Russell Carni queens for (hopefully) 2 hives, maybe get a sunkist queen too.
    My sunkist hive is the one that went into the winter best off, and is taking cleansing flights when the others won't.

    My biggest lesson is to tie off my pant legs. I hope to never have to drop my pants to allow an errant bee freedom from sensitive areas. This lesson was learned in front of an audience.
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 12 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Pueblo, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    698

    Default Re: What have you learned this year?

    Yes definitely something I forgot: Roll pantlegs and shirt sleeves tight, tuck in shirt. At least passers by might think I was trying to emulate the 50's look

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,114

    Default Re: What have you learned this year?

    Harvested my first honey this year - which was a good thing, because the income really improved the balance sheet. In a normal year I probably didn't take too much honey, But the subsequent summer drought/dearth caused a lot of stress on the bees. Eventually I realized that I needed to feed, but next time I will try to do it sooner.

    Also learned that raising queens gets a LOT harder after the main flow.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    dresden,tn.usa
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: What have you learned this year?

    I plan on reverseing my hive body this coming year and try to stop them from swarming didn't reverse the hive body and both hives swarm!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    St. Mary's County, Maryland
    Posts
    28

    Default Re: What have you learned this year?

    Quote Originally Posted by rwurster View Post
    I don't know if going treatment free was the best idea for a first year beekeeper but, despite others opinions, I'll stay that way and work with the survivors.
    The only thing you could have done better would have been buying bees that were already treatment-free, or so it sounds.

    That way you are already working with survivors.

    I am very pleased to see more and more small-scale "local" breeders making survivor stock available everywhere.

    NEW BEEKEEPERS: Ask around, call around ... find those local survivor bees. If you cannot find local bees then there are still mail order options out there selling great survivor stock bees.

    Cheers,
    SoMDBeekeeper

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,113

    Default Re: What have you learned this year?

    I just learned that a flat rate box holds 1 lb. blocks of wax almost perfectly.

    I also learned in person about multiple queen hives. http://parkerfarms.blogspot.com/2012...-one-hive.html

    Also, don't try to compete with national supply places in prices. Price what it's worth and let the chips fall where they may.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Barry, TX USA
    Posts
    861

    Default Re: What have you learned this year?

    A lesson from last year not learned until last week. I didn't collect all my swarm traps last year and left them out over the winter(if you can call it that!). I think the last time I drove the route and looked at all of them was in July. Last week I went and found those outstanding traps and discovered that 4 of them had succeeded in trapping bees. If I had been on the ball and continued checking them I might have had 4 more swarms. I don't know when they all came in so I'm not sure I could have combined them all at the same time. I would have had to feed and nurture them through the winter. But I could have had four more swarms, Ughh! This year I"m leaving my swarm traps out all year and checking them every two weeks. I've got to find new and different ways to beat odfrank at catching swarms.
    When you stop learning you're dead.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    mineral county,Montana USA
    Posts
    812

    Default Re: What have you learned this year?

    you can't count on an indian summer. some years it gets cold early and stays that way. and just because they made a decent honey crop doesn't mean your bees are healthy.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,953

    Default Re: What have you learned this year?

    Make any future nuc boxes that have a Kelley steel entrance disc with the entrance mounted at the top. Make sure those with the entrance at the low side to have the screw turned very tight so that they can't swing themselves closed.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,113

    Default Re: What have you learned this year?

    Thanks Frank, I saw that on your other thread, that was very useful advice. Apparently mine are all tight enough so I haven't had that problem yet. I have some up, some down, and some backwards so the little finger indention holds against the wood. In the future, they will be with the hole at the top.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Fort Myers, Florida, USA
    Posts
    203

    Default Re: What have you learned this year?

    I've learned a lot this year. It's my second.

    I've learned to be a bit more thick-skinned. Just because the good ole boys don't agree with what I'm doing doesn't mean I shouldn't try it. I've learned that a lot of beekeepers here are competitive. I've learned that bees can and will sting through nitrile gloves. I've learned that by teaching, I learn more. I've learned that my neighbors watch my hives for me, they've called me if they see a feeder empty or other "questionable" things.

    Most importantly, and slightly off topic, I've learned that my husband really does pay attention when I'm talking about bees. All of a sudden I'm hearing him talk to people about my hobby, and he actually knows what he's talking about! I guess he's finally become a beekeeper, at least in theory.
    I started out as an opportunistic beekeeper. Now the bees keep me...

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    315

    Default Re: What have you learned this year?

    I learned a lot this year. First year actually beekeeping, after spending last year reading, and watching.

    I learned how important drawn comb really is. I learned that all beekeeping is truly local, and that mid-July in the next state is really more like late June or beginning of July here. I learned that I'm allergic to stings, but that there is a therapy regimen that may work to alleviate the reaction. I've learned that despite having queens of the same race/line, two hives can behave very differently. I'm continuing to learn.

    Tony P.
    There must be a harder way to do that... let me find it for you.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Jackson, MO
    Posts
    1,858

    Default Re: What have you learned this year?

    I learned it is futile to think I can go into the office for a few hours then get away to work the bees. I should simply take the day off as "one more thing" will keep me in the office long enough to wreck all my plans.

    Grant
    Jackson, MO
    Beekeeping With Twenty-five Hives: https://www.createspace.com/4152725

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