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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,071

    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
    669

    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
    2,370

    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. 9 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Pueblo, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    669

    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
    3,968

    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
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Auburntown, TN USA
    Posts
    232

    Default Re: What have you learned this year?

    I learned to make splits and let the bees make themselves a queen. I also learned that a good beesuit allowed me to relax and enjoy my inspections more.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Harrisonville, MO
    Posts
    55

    Default Re: What have you learned this year?

    1 just how enjoyable bees are ,2 I really like screened bottom boards , 3 After reading Michael Bushs thoughts on top entrances I put a top entrance shim on, big step for me just couldn't bring my self to drill a hole in a hive box , 4 don't procrastinate it gets cold faster than you thought it would so I didn't get my hive top feeder off, might use it to feed sugar in if needed ?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,071

    Default Re: What have you learned this year?

    I learned about Michael Palmer's nuc method. I learned that I can make pretty decent equipment for pretty good prices. I learned that bees will be very unhappy if you accidentally dump the whole hive out of the back of the pickup, but they will survive.

    New things I tried this year: Feeding dry sugar, splitting after splits have made queen cells, outyards, narrow frame beekeeping, plastic frames, foundationless, heating the melting tub with wood, melting wax in a burlap bag.

    Things to try next year: Grafting, mating nucs, overwintering nucs, breaking even.

    Things to build: 10 3x3 queen castle mating nucs, 8 five frame plywood nucs, one 4x5 'condo' nuc, 50 medium endbars, 30 lids.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Livermore, CA
    Posts
    1,383

    Default Re: What have you learned this year?

    2011 was my first year beekeeping and here's what I learned:

    Bee's are not out to kill you and everyone around.
    Bee's are extremly facinating and soothing to watch and work.
    I learned how to install a package of bee's, how to catch a swarm, how to make cheap 5 frame nucs that work very well (Coates design).
    I learned to make splits and let the bee's make their own queens.
    I learned that people who dont keep bee's are extremly interested in facts about bee's, even if they dont intend to keep them.
    I learned that fresh honey can be used as a bartering tool for fresh home made products and a couple new places to keep bee's.
    I learned that more people keep bee's in town than we know!! Met a husband and wife in town that keep bee's and have made a new friendship with them.
    I also learned to not be afraid to experiment with the bees. I am going treatment free and have the mind set that only the strong will survive, if I lose all my hives, then so be it, I will catch swarms to replace them. I want strong bee's, survivors.
    I will make my own queens and save money, but may buy certain strains just to try something different.

    The most important thing I learned this year.........this site is full of many people with many opinions and although they might all differ, the fact that perfect strangers are willing to share their knowledge is priceless. These are people that have spent a lot of time and money, blood, sweat and tears in finding better ways to become better beekeepers, and they are willing to share their trials and tributes. A big thank you to all of you that have helped me and countless others become better beekeepers!!
    Coyote Creek Bees

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,824

    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
    5,071

    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
    307

    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

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Livingston County, NY
    Posts
    516

    Default Re: What have you learned this year?

    I learned;
    Coating Pierco & Rite Cell w/wax, coupled w/ feeding 5:3 syrup is a great way to get drawn frames & a struggling colony to a production colony quickly.

    Having a checklist, inspection sheets, a maintenance plan are essential for time efficient productivity.

    Expansion can happen amazingly fast have a plan; equipment on hand, & a market.

    I learned that I am only a manager, the real keeper of the bees has great patience, & will do exceedingly, abundantly more than I could ever think or ask, to Him I am thankful!
    Rmns 1:16/Prv.3:5,6/ Beegan BK May 09/ Zone 5b
    I have NOT failed. I have only found many many ways that do not work!

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Jackson, MO
    Posts
    1,858

    Default Re: What have you learned this year?

    I guess I've also learned you cannot have too many utilty knives in the honey house, nor too many rolls of duct tape in the pick up truck.

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

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,071

    Default Re: What have you learned this year?

    I'm learning right now as I assemble new plywood nucs that the higher quality plywood is much harder and I'm having to bend staples over with a hammer because they won't go in any further.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Knox Co, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    799

    Default Re: What have you learned this year?

    I have learned a lot this year. The most important thing is that Russian bees are not what I want! Mean bees are not nearly as much fun to have as gentle bees. My bees aren't really mean but, they have gotten hotter each time they have re-queened themselves. I didn't have any swarm but it took work to keep them from swarming. The Russian spend energy doing things that help them survive varroa. But, that takes them away from doing things I want them to.

    I hope to have my remaining Russian queens replaced this coming spring.

    Tom

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Peace River, AB Canada
    Posts
    456

    Default Re: What have you learned this year?

    I learned that while waiting for the bear that had been sampling my hives to show up I should of checked over my shoulder more often. Having a bear sniff you from a couple of feet away adds grey hair!

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