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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Portage County, Wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    99

    Default General success rate?

    If this forum is like any of my other interest-related forums (which in my case are old motorcycle related), the number of posts asking for help or declaring a problem far outnumber the posts announcing successes. Because that's the nature of many forums - people come for some chit chat but mostly to ask or answer questions, to ask for help and to be helped.

    As I read through the myriad posts on swarming, mites, diseases, low production, queenlessness, etc. I can't help but wonder what the general success rate is among beekeepers.

    Do most people lose or have difficult problems with their first few hives - or do they have mostly hives that make it through the summer and winter and provide honey for the keepers without too much need for intervention?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Hampton CT
    Posts
    360

    Default Re: General success rate?

    Success for beginning beekeepers is almost directly related to attending a good beekeeping class, having a good mentor and then sticking to the basics. While there are many ways to the goal, success in general depends upon good nutrition and maintaining low mite populations. Beekeepers who follow these rules keep most of their bees alive and if the nectar gods smile, make some sort of honey crop.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Portage County, Wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    99

    Default Re: General success rate?

    Thanks, those are good things to live by (from what I've read anyway - I'm just a beginner!)

    My real query I suppose is less about what makes someone successful (that's being covered very nicely in an epic thread elsewhere on this forum), but how many hives succeed vs fail. On my motorbike forums, for instance, for every broken bike that's posted about there are a thousand smooth running unmentioned machines. Its a poor analogy, a motorcycle against a microculture of thousands of creatures, but still... it made me wonder.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,240

    Default Re: General success rate?

    There are thousands of smooth running BSA's.

    Chris, on a serious note. I am also in WI. My Winter survival rates by spring: 2009 1/1, 2010 4/4, 2011 5/8, 2012 21/21.

    Everyone has there own way of learning, and I have not met any of my mentors. My mentors on Beesource are the one's that have been more help than the books I've read.

    Besides mites there are another couple of variables in WI, weather and luck.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Hampton CT
    Posts
    360

    Default Re: General success rate?

    Nationwide, Winter losses are about 30% annually. This does not take in account the ones that don't make it till winter. I don't have any data but, I would beleive that for beginners, the losses are probably more than 50%. From the experience in our club and speaking to the Presidents of several other clubs, about 50% of new beekeepers get discouraged and give up within two or three years. You have to recognise that most people posting questions on this forum are very inexperienced and have numerous questions and problems. There are thousands of beekeepers with hundreds of thousands of hives that have great success. Keep this in mind, if you read bee journals from 100 years ago, winter losses were 25-30 % in some years. And that was before the Mites! Its a wonder we are able to do as well as we are.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Portage County, Wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    99

    Default Re: General success rate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian Quiney WI View Post
    There are thousands of smooth running BSA's.
    Cheeky monkey!!!


    Thanks for the statistics - it looks like you've been doing really well with yours, increasing each year successfully. That makes me feel hopeful :-)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Portage County, Wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    99

    Default Re: General success rate?

    Quote Originally Posted by adam@azapiaries View Post
    Nationwide, Winter losses are about 30% annually. This does not take in account the ones that don't make it till winter. I don't have any data but, I would beleive that for beginners, the losses are probably more than 50%. From the experience in our club and speaking to the Presidents of several other clubs, about 50% of new beekeepers get discouraged and give up within two or three years. You have to recognise that most people posting questions on this forum are very inexperienced and have numerous questions and problems. There are thousands of beekeepers with hundreds of thousands of hives that have great success. Keep this in mind, if you read bee journals from 100 years ago, winter losses were 25-30 % in some years. And that was before the Mites! Its a wonder we are able to do as well as we are.
    Again, I'm more hopeful now, thanks! I am not discouraged, just wondering!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Oshawa, Ontario
    Posts
    200

    Default Re: General success rate?

    I successfully wintered 3/3, but wound up with a mouse in one in the spring. (actually 2)
    The hive survived, but was much slower to pick up; still noticeably behind the others.
    Should make out OK.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Baker Oregon
    Posts
    2,462

    Default Re: General success rate?

    2010: 1/1
    2011:5/6
    2012 (to date): 8/8
    The only loss was a late fall queen failure.
    Treatment free.
    Dan
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 12 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    watertown,wi.,USA
    Posts
    479

    Default Re: General success rate?

    Fellow Wisconsin beekeepers-How many deeps and supers do you leave on over the winter? How many do you suggest for me to use, a newbee? I am a 1st year newbee and am considering leaving 2 deeps and 1 honey super, just to not be a complete failure next Spring. Thanks, juzzerbee.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Fort Myers, Florida, USA
    Posts
    203

    Default Re: General success rate?

    juzzerbee, I'm not a WI beekeeper but my aunt is, in Waukesha, and she runs two deeps plus a full medium of honey. She is amazed that most of us run on single deeps here through winter. I hope that helps!
    I started out as an opportunistic beekeeper. Now the bees keep me...

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,308

    Default Re: General success rate?

    Chris, in addition to the answers you've already received, probably the best determinative for success is perseverence. Learn from your mistakes, and move on. There isn't a beekeeper here, no matter how experienced, who hasn't made mistakes. And, of course, the best way to learn from mistakes is to learn from other people's mistakes!
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

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