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  1. #1
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    Jul 2010
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    Default the most important things

    i have been thinking about what the most important things are for giving managed bees a fighting chance.

    in order of importance, and subject to debate, i believe they are:

    1. trouble shooting (maintain queenrightness, prevent starvation, deal with diseases and pests in the earliest practical stage, avoid preventable collapses, avoid spread of contamination)

    2. location, habitat, ecosystem, environment, or whatever term you prefer, that determines the quantity and quality of the bee's forage. (bees are what they eat, an no genetics or beekeeper skill can make up for lack of proper nutrition)

    3. great queen (assuming #1 is in play, the vigor of the colony is basically 'defined' by her)

    4. balanced intervention (basically providing sound shelter, hive placement, and manipulating cavity size in harmony with the yearly cycle)



    i'm not stuck on any of this. any thoughts?
    Last edited by squarepeg; 01-02-2013 at 07:06 AM. Reason: changed priority
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    Littlerock, California, USA
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    951

    Default Re: the most important things

    The art is so subjective but I agree with the thought process. I believe the specific location of the hive is important as well. Too much summer sun or winter wind direction can also cause stress and failure. We as beekeepers can only do so much in the way of husbandry then the bees have to do their thing. These things are a good start. Thank you for sharing.
    “Everything will be all right in the end... if it's not all right then it's not yet the end”

  3. #3
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    Default Re: the most important things

    i like that, thanks ccar. i'll add that to the op.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  4. #4
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    Default Re: the most important things

    ... i wasn't sure where 'dumb luck' fits in there.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  5. #5
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    Jun 2009
    Location
    orange, virginia usa
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    79

    Default Re: the most important things

    squarepeg,
    I said that on another topic one time and I heard alot of guys say luck has nothing to do with it. It all comes down to skills of the beek. I thing I'd rather have dumb luck or just luck on my side as well as skills.

  6. #6
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    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: the most important things

    toad, it sure can't hurt.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Livermore, CA
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    1,409

    Default Re: the most important things

    Like you, I think habitat plays the biggest roll. Bees seem to survive in almost any situation by the things their hives have been found in, old cars, walls, under trailers and such. If the bees have water, food and shelter, I think they can survive almost anything!!
    Coyote Creek Bees

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    3,462

    Default Re: the most important things

    Good thoughtful list squarepeg. The only adjustment I would make personally, would be to prioritize #4 and move it to the top of the list. If the first three items were not quite up to snuff the colony might struggle, but could still "survive". However if the health of the colony declines, it doesn't matter if I have the best location or the best queen in the state. If the health of the colony deteriorates those other things won't matter too much.
    To everything there is a season....

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
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    3,779

    Default Re: the most important things

    I think prioritizing #4 higher is a good idea too and I second the hope that a little "dumb luck" gets sprinkled around now and then. I think a good, open and careful attitude about bees and the world around us in general is good to have and maybe plays a part in all 4 of those important things. I try to remember that by managing my bees I'm managing a small piece of the environment around me. It's not just "my bees, my yard, my flowers, my......" it's ours. Makes me think different when I'm focusing on that great queen.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  10. #10
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    Jul 2010
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    Default Re: the most important things

    old #4 is now new #1
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Utica, NY
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    Default Re: the most important things

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Gillmore View Post
    it doesn't matter if I have the best location or the best queen in the state. If the health of the colony deteriorates those other things won't matter too much.
    Couldn't one say that if you had the worst location and the worst queen the best management would not make a difference?

    I feel location is everything. That is why the bees take it seriously when they swarm. Without human intervention bees would survive in the best locations and perish in the worst.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  12. #12
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    Default Re: the most important things

    perhaps the four things are like legs on a chair.

    you really need all four for balance,

    and you loose more stability each time you remove one.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
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    2,267

    Default Re: the most important things

    I really like the phrase "manipulating cavity size". I haven't heard it put that way before and it resonates with me.

  14. #14
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    Jan 2003
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    Suffolk, VA
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    2,765

    Default Re: the most important things

    One thing that is implied in both #1 and #4 is: Timing

    This is a key aspect of beekeeping, and one that many new beekeepers struggle with. Once you get a handle of the timing of various management issues for your locality things become much easier and you become more successful.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    Littlerock, California, USA
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    Default Re: the most important things

    I believe success is subjective to a recipe of each of these things.
    I am sticking with this interpretation.

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    perhaps the four things are like legs on a chair.
    you really need all four for balance,
    and you loose more stability each time you remove one.
    Except that the ground is not level everywhere you set your chair down.

    "if it was easy everyone would do it" - Jerry Hayes Classroom
    “Everything will be all right in the end... if it's not all right then it's not yet the end”

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    orange, virginia usa
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    79

    Default Re: the most important things

    beeghost,
    Funny you say were they will live. Some time ago, my father-in-law and I did a cut-out of an old D8. Grease, oil, and diesel everywere! Still a strong hive.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
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    6,702

    Default Re: the most important things

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    perhaps the four things are like legs on a chair.
    you really need all four for balance,
    and you loose more stability each time you remove one.
    Or not. ccar2000 is correct. There is a reason that surveyor's and photograper's tripods have three legs, and are about as stable as one can get.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  18. #18
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: the most important things

    this is beekeeping rader, let's not get too technical please........
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Livermore, CA
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    Default Re: the most important things

    Spiders have eight legs, square peg you need to come up with four more things!!! Just funnin!
    Coyote Creek Bees

  20. #20
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    May 2011
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    Livermore, CA
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    Default Re: the most important things

    Quote Originally Posted by toad View Post
    beeghost,
    Funny you say were they will live. Some time ago, my father-in-law and I did a cut-out of an old D8. Grease, oil, and diesel everywere! Still a strong hive.
    Exactly! Where ever they decide to take up residence, they will! I've seen them in irrigation boxes, under mobile homes, forming wood, house walls, cinder block walls, wood duck nest boxes, above ground hot tubs and also out in the wide open 40' up in a pine tree!
    Coyote Creek Bees

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