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  1. #21
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Blackstone, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    85

    Default Re: What have you learned this year?

    New beekeeper in 2011, so everything was 'new learnin'. Most importantly:
    - ask 10 beekeepers the same question and you're liable to get 10 different answers
    - I have a lot to learn...there are people who have been doing this for many years and don't know everything about bees, that's humbling
    - bees are bees, and try as we may to understand them, they sometimes do things that just make you stand there and scratch your head
    - bees are fascinating and, as someone already said, you can quickly grab peoples attention when talking about them
    - i really need to invest in a good (hopefully vented) bee jacket...the sweatshirt just isn't cutting it...
    - how to recognize a Laying Worker hive, and how to fix it (newspaper combine)
    - that beekeeping takes more time, patience, and money (even for 2 hives) than some people told me it would
    - realizing that your 'strong hive' swarmed in late November is a bad feeling
    - opening that same hive on a warm day in early December and being able to look down through 2 med's and a deep and see the ground is a very very disappointing feeling
    - I learned to hope my one remaining hive makes it through winter so I can split, and to find the only positive I can in the loss of the other....that I have a hive and comb for the split.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Coatesville, Pa, USA
    Posts
    822

    Default Re: What have you learned this year?

    As a new beek also there are several things I've learned. I started with a cut-out so . . .
    -It's a lot harder than it looks for a new beek to cut out a hive that has been there for a while
    -The second cut-out goes much better than the first
    -Just because we dont see the queen doesn't mean that she's not there
    -Even when we mess up the bees can make it up
    -Theres a TON that I don't know about beekeeping
    -Beekeeping is a lot of fun and it's amazing to see how they're made to do what they do
    -I need to keep better records of each visit to the bees (Hive tracks is good, but hard to remember when you get home)
    -Selling bees should be easy when I get things built up. I see several people that sell bees / hives on here and things sell fairly well.
    -A full deep frame of honey is pretty heavy compaired to brood (I thought it was stuck to the other frames as I was trying to get it out. So I shifted everything away so I could get it only to be shocked that it was totally capped )
    -I like looking at the pictures of my bees and am glad that at least 2 of the 3 hives are still going strong
    -There are so many things I've learned. Another is to not overreact. It's easy to freak out when something doesn't "look right". (To a new beek there's not much that doesn't "look right" but is.

    Those are the starters for beekeeping year 1 for me. Many more things could be said, but this ought to be said again. . .
    I'm so thankful for this site and those willing to share. Others have already said this, but in the heat of my concern for the bees many have been there to calm my fears and give wisdom and advice. I look at this site and all of you as my mentor. Not having one for myself I learn much through you all asking / sharing / helping / challenging etc. Keep it up!!!

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    2,819

    Default Re: What have you learned this year?

    That so far building a hive is easier than finding the bees to put in it. I as able to find plans in just a few minutes. I never thought that actually getting bees would take days if not weeks. It might just be where I am but it seems all the keepers near me have vanished. I was hoping to find a 5 frame deep nuc nearby. I may have to just get one form someplace like Tennessee.
    Actually in truth. To list everything I have learned woudl require writing a small book. From actual books that I have been suggested I read to the random bit of information I pick up form individual posts. I have always known about bees. the queen, worker drone sort of stuff. the bee dance and how they orient. I have had a fairly in depth knowledge of how the hive functions and the various rolls a bee plays throughout it's life. But this group and it's resources has filled in a lot of gaps and added a lot of in depth information. I know for many of you this knowledge has required years to acquire. I thank you all for sharing it.

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Mt. Pleasant, Iowa
    Posts
    49

    Default Re: What have you learned this year?

    After my third year on small cell, I have learned that the weather is the biggest factor in determining the amount of honey produced. I don't worry about mites, just rain or no rain. I hope next year will be a good balance of rain and sun, so I can finally keep some honey for myself. On the upside I have been able to expand the apiary, and will believe for minimal losses again this winter. Love the Treatment-Free forum ! Thanks Barry and Solomon!!

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Issaquah,WA,USA
    Posts
    2,333

    Default Re: What have you learned this year?

    No matter how hard I planned it never went as easy as I wanted.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    3,380

    Default Re: What have you learned this year?

    I have been building my own screened bottom boards and tops for some time now, but 2011 was the first year I built my own boxes. It went very well and the best thing is that I'm able to build a box from a piece of lumber for 1/2 the price it used to cost me.

    2012 goals are to build some nucs, and after reading up and doing my research, take a shot at overwintering some nucs next year. Sounds like a great way to replenish any dead outs I might end up with, or maybe help out some of my local beekeeper friends. I usually collect several swarms each spring and this would be a nice way to see how some of the late ones overwinter, rather than pinching and consolidating.
    To everything there is a season....

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    East Hampton, CT, USA
    Posts
    122

    Default Re: What have you learned this year?

    I have realized that the more I learn, the less I know ...

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Denison, Texas
    Posts
    510

    Default Re: What have you learned this year?

    This year I learned to cover the screened bottoms on top bar hives until packages get established or they might try to abscond.
    This caused me to learn a good reason to have your queens wing clipped.

    I learned not to let your TBHs go very long before you start getting in there and fixing cross combs.
    I learned a good way to cut out cross combs and reattach them.

    I learned that 2011 in Texas was a bad year to start beekeeping.

    I learned that after the clover in my area overheats and stops blooming after months of no rain and months of 100+ degrees
    heat everyday, you better have some trumpet vines and crepe meartals close enough to your hives to have anything trickle in.

    I learned that even in a drought you can open feed a hive until it swarms. Then that swarm will come over and land on your
    hive that wasn't getting much of the syrup because your feeders were getting robbed out by the hive that swarmed!!!
    I couldn't figure out why I was going through a gallon and a half of syrup a day and my hive and nuc weren't storing any better.

    I learned that when working TBHs a good bread knife is awesome handy.

    I learned that both my bees and I like mesquite in my smoker the best.

    I learned that even if both my hives die out this winter, I'll still have bees in TBHs next year.

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Franklin County, PA
    Posts
    456

    Default Re: What have you learned this year?

    Having ten hives is alot more to keep track of then 2.
    Beekeeping is a really good form of exercise.
    Try not to mess with the bees after it gets dark.
    It rains alot so stash up on dry smoker fuel.
    A propane torch is nice for getting a smoker lit.
    Some dryer sheets in the fold of a hot tub cover can help keep the bees out of the tub.
    The #30 tar felt is difficult to wrap around the hives buy the #15 instead.
    I have mud tracks worn into the grass behind the hives. Now I know why it was recommended I get some outdoor carpet for infront/behind the hives.
    Bee propolis has medical benefits.
    Grafting a few larvae in early spring and seeing them end up as mated and laying queens in nucs was very inspiring.
    Putting some honeyframes infront of the hives in spring can simulate a nectar flow for the bees.
    Don't give the bees too much space to defend.
    Yellow Jackets are a nuisance to the bees. If you can find the nest destroy it. Yellow jacket traps can be effective.
    Drones that get kicked out can get stuck in the mouseguards.
    If I'm careful and cautious I don't get stung.
    I like honey more than I ever did before.
    Sometimes the queen is easy to find. Other times she is extremely tough to find. I may start marking the queens.
    Don't forget to put a frame back in the middle of the second deep Etc. I still have alot to learn but I'm better off than I was.
    I'm real grateful to everyone on the forum who has helped me with my questions and what not since I've been on here. It has been a pleasure to be part of this group.
    Thank You Very Much! VW

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Driggs, ID
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: What have you learned this year?

    I have learned that people are very interested in beekeeping.

    Doug

    mylocalbees.wordpress.com

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    3,823

    Default Re: What have you learned this year?

    Thanks to varioujs forums I have learned a lot in the year I have ben visiting them. I quit keeping bees in 1985 and have hopefully learned enough to keep ahead of them and allow my bees to thrive and produce a crop. I am grateful.

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Dripping Springs, TX USA
    Posts
    297

    Default Re: What have you learned this year?

    I've learned that this past year's once in a 200 year drought was pure h*** on the bees here in central Texas. Totalling 3.5 inches of rain at my house from January through September was tough on all plant and animal life! I was thinking that a desert was being born!!! It is amazing how many trees died. I lost way too many hives. The heat was unreal. I'm not sure how many days we had of 100+ degrees. Something like 110 days or so. And many, many days were over 105+. It didn't matter how much I fed the bees, the queens just quit laying!!!
    :-(

    The bees I have left are what I can truly call "survivor stock", ya think?

  13. #33
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    St. Mary's County, Maryland
    Posts
    28

    Default Re: What have you learned this year?

    ..... too much to list in totality but here are some bullet points:

    I have learned:

    * Foundation is probably a waste of time and money. The wax is probably contaminated. The bees already know how to draw comb for goodness sake. They've been doing it for tens of millions of years. And with the foundationless frame available you don't even have a good excuse for using starter strips!

    * Essential Oils are probably not the way to go. They are still propping up bad genetics.

    * Mite counts and sugar dusting are a waste of time. "Sugar dusting breeds mites that hang on better." -Sam Comfort, Anarchy Apiaries

    * Inner covers are probably a waste of time, effort and money... especially if you're not going to use a one-way bee escape to harvest honey. What do YOU think they are for anyway? Why give SHB and moths more places to hide?

    * Anyone that says, "Bees naturally build upwards, that's why we harvest from the top" is a liar. If you don't believe me go cut down a bee tree and tell me where they started their comb from. Warre hives are, in fact, more natural than Lang on that point.

    * Beginning beekeepers are in a real quandry when it comes to first year options and feeding. Getting a package of bees established without feeding in an area that has a 2-3 month nector flow is hard. I know this because my Podcast listeners ask me about this quite often.

    * Ask 10 different beekeepers the same question and you'll get 15 different answers. (even "successful" treatment-free, experienced beekeepers vary greatly in their methods and beliefs)

    * After all the dust clears and the potification ends, letting bees evolve on their own to find a balance with nature is the way forward.

    SoMDBeekeeeper

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Bardstown, KY, USA
    Posts
    321

    Default Re: What have you learned this year?

    Quote Originally Posted by JD's Bees View Post
    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!
    Bahahahaha
    Grandchildren are the best.... Bees a close second....

  15. #35
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Bardstown, KY, USA
    Posts
    321

    Default Re: What have you learned this year?

    I have learned that:
    1. Things dont have to be perfect, the bees will take care of themselves.
    2. I have learned to move slowly and watch the bees. You will learn a ton my just watching them.
    3. I have learned that heating honey to 120 degrees makes the filtering process much better.
    4. I have learned that almost everyone loves home grown honey.

    Phil
    Grandchildren are the best.... Bees a close second....

  16. #36
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Auburn, Washington, USA
    Posts
    304

    Default Re: What have you learned this year?

    So much to share:
    1. Bees winter better in 2 5xframe deep nucs stacked on top of each other than 1 ten frame deep.
    2. Raising queens is exciting. Picking them up with fingers will not damage them and marking them with a dot is the best thing for locating them quickly.
    3. Equipment from plywood works very well and is cheap. Making deeps 15 7/8 wide and 9 1/2 tall rather than 16 1/4 wide and 9 5/8 tall utilizes 3/4 plywood sheet sheet much better.
    4. Feeding light syrup for winter works in the south, in Washington it causes major humidity issues in the hive.
    5. Virgin queens do not fly out unless there is a flow or you feed them syrup. They will stay untill they become old maids.
    6. Powdered sugar (3 parts) and shortening (1 part) works well for tracheal mite, but does not eliminate it. Treat in spring AND IN THE FALL.
    7. Nucs really do draw out frames very quickly.
    8. Motivated 7 frames full of bees will easily suck up a gallon of syrup in a day from divider feeder.
    9. When in doubt, refer to Mike Bush's site.

    Things to try next year.
    1. Riase queens like OldTimer demonstrated
    2. Build double nucs like Mike Palmer showed for the winter and then attempt to operate them as two queen hives in the spring and summer.
    3. Have enough drawn frames to legitimately do checkerboarding
    4. Harvest some honey to keep my honey happy.

  17. #37
    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

  18. #38
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,033

    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

  19. #39
    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.

  20. #40
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    mineral county,Montana USA
    Posts
    796

    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.

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