Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards
Don't turn this bad, now, Dan.
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Most important lesson I have learned??? "It will only take a minute"... "I'll be real quick!"....and "My bees are always nice!!" are NOT good enough reasons to go into a hive without a veil! Hero... shmero...I'll take the ribbing for being a wimp far better than I react to stings! I hope you hear this lesson, before you have a hive decide it's time for you to leave, and the bees mean NOW!!!
Mistake #2 I made picking up a nuc from a new source. When I went to pick it up, the beekeeper was fully suited up with veil, gloves, and sleeves/pants cuffs duct taped shut. I work mine in shorts and white tshirt with tulle veil. They head butted me repeatedly while we were in his bee yard just standing there. I should have left those bees there. I've been stung by them more than all my other hives combined. The only reason I haven't requeened, is that they stick the honey back like its going out of style. They were also the only hive that the hive beetles wouldnt mess with last summer.
Throwing on a queen excluder without knowing why, or how it should be used.
Caused a REAL big swarm, REAL fast when I did this on our first hive during peak flow. "What? You mean the bees might not care to move through it?"
Allowing myself to be sweet talked into looking after somebody's bees while they went on their honeymoon.
She said when they got back she would bake me a cake.
The hives were an hour across town but it was only supposed to involve one visit, so I did it. But on a hunch, I went there day after they left as I thought from something that had been said that the bees might be brink of swarming. They were, bearding, & queen cells everywhere. So, raided their garage, found supers, unfortunately mediums, the others were deeps, made some major changes best I could to the hives configuration, & left. 3 hours plus mileage wasted.
2 weeks later the neighbour called, freaking out, there's a swarm in his tree. I drop what I'm doing (which cost me later), drive there, the swarm is at the very top of this incredibly tall tree, no way any sane person could get it. Check the hives, regardless of my efforts the previous visit, they were in full swarming mode & just went ahead & built more cells and swarmed anyway. Had to reconfigure my checkerboarding and other manipulations from the first visit & to prevent after swarms I go through & kill the majority of the cells, set up a swarm trap in the garden, and leave, best part of 4 hours wasted, peak traffic.
The couple get back from honeymoon & she rings me the same day. I explain what happened, I can tell in her voice she thinks I did a crap job. I tell her in a couple of weeks the hives will have laying queens, and she can put the still empty swarm trap away.
She made several more calls over the next few weeks her voice tone getting more annoyed every time. The queens never did mate & start laying, in the end I sent her free caged ones, but she was still not happy about what I "did" to her bees. No cake for me, and we haven't spoken since either.
Next time somebody asks me to do this, I'm going to be too busy.
44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).
Opened a healthy booming hive in the spring and it had 20 plus queen cells in it so I cut them all out......not knowing they had already swarmed.
I opened a hive with no smoke on a fairly chilly windy overcast kinda day, figured I'd get in and out and add a box, but that didn't work out too well, they poured out of there like a plague of locusts LOL Will always have the smoker on standby now LOL
not having the zipper on my veil/jacket all the way closed on a cold day when the bees were a little testy. Amazing how many angry bees can find a two inch opening.
...still have the scar
And... after moving some hives to a new yard, I found a small cluster, (must have missed the memo that the house was moved), on the side of a tree in the old location. I made the mistake of treating them like a swarm and tried to collect them in a swarm box. Meanest bunch of bees I've ever come across. Chased me through the woods for almost 10 minutes. Like someone once said...stupid hurts. Problem being, I wasn't a rookie when this happened.
An old fella at the bee club talked of beekeeping with grandpa back in the Model T truck days...The error was lack of maintenance on the truck. The truck broke down in the Virgin River gorge on the way from Las Vegas to Saint George, Utah. The truck went off the road, down the bank, scattering bee hives, and of course bees, all over the place. A week-long fiasco in 100 degree F weather.
Almost makes what Michael Bush said sound pretty reasonable.
I still think the worst is bringing your wife to the bee yard...well, I did bring a girlfriend...oopsie daisy! And, of course, Oldtimer has a good one, as usual.
My little brother learned a bad lesson: Don't leave your fly open when messing with the bees. Them suckers got him right on the jewels.
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Ouchie! Down there is no fun for the sensitive spots.
My first time was going to the bee farm that turn out to be a walnut farm. Pick up my 2 bee hives without a suit or veil on at
4 in the morning. Got stung 6 times on my left arm not knowing what I was doing. Multiple entrances on the hive that I found out
later on. Found out later in the summer that I got the most aggressive hives from the farm that nobody would touch them.
Yep, I over paid for them too. That was a good learning experience for me.
Opening a hive after dark. I surmised from response, only conclusion was siege and they took appropriate action.
Fussing too much.
Thinking they will do what what I desire.
Listening to others more than my bees.
Not taking enough risks.
First year, installed two packages, fed them with top feeders. Both building up wonderfully.
They both stopped taking syrup about the same time, and I thought all was going great. You know how they say the bees will lay off of the 1:1 syrup when nectar is available?
It turns out that they stop taking syrup once it spoils, too I came out for a checkup, one hive was starved out, the other was still functioning but had no food stores. I was probably only a few days from losing the second hive . Both had syrup in the feeders, discolored and bad-smelling...
Having Only one hive tool.
Closing your hives up to stop the robbing when they are actually doing orientation flights
Setting a lit smoker on the floor board of my truck. Dashboards burn and melt. Bee jacket can be used to smother the dashboard fire out after you rip the glove box out to get to the flames.
Well, I shouldn't post on this thread so much, but the number of sting stories is so great, I guess I should pass this one along.
I washed my bee jacket too many times that it no longer stops them from stinging through, and commenced queen rearing operations last year without a sweatshirt under the jacket. I took somewhere between 450 and 700 stings - mostly on the arms - right through the jacket! Luckily I had "built up" a lot of tolerance with some very naughty colonies that always sting me somehow, despite suiting up pretty good every time. My previous record was about 75 stings one day and 35 the next. No big deal. But somewhere in the neighborhood of 550 stings, I got "amped up" pretty good for several hours. I did feel a little bit tense and had a stupid feeling about me. My friends said I needed to go to the hospital, I answered, "No! I want the benefit of the stings." Guess I was born for this stuff.
The naughty girls were Melliferas - feral German Black Bee stock and locally brewed in Mexico and California for many years. I do work along C.C. Miller's idea that mean bees who produce LOTS OF HONEY are a good enough goal, at least for that line of bees. I still have them and do love them very much. They are my best comb-honey producing bees. They are why I suit up with thick hunting boots, 2 pair of pants, sweatshirt, and a hat inside the bee jacket. They are also why I always light 2 smokers.
One mistake I don't want to see or hear about is starting a fire in your host's orchard with your smoker! ALWAYS have an extinguisher, a bucket of water, and a trowel to bury burning smoker fuel. ALWAYS have a metal bucket in which to keep you smoker.
Oldtimer, could have been worse, it could have been your honeymoon.
4 yrs, 2 singles, 7 nucs, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.
Now THAT"S a roflmao.
Glad it wasn't your's Oldtimer.
For me it was:
1) Not keeping a journal the first year.
2) Only having one jacket/suit. My wife and kids/grandkids weren't "in there" with me to help or take pictures or learn and appreciate it all.
3) Dropping a frame of bees on the ground; then stepping on the pile of bees while I was trying to help them back in the hive.
4) Assuming that those freshly-packaged Spring bees would be just as gentle and docile going into the Fall.
5) Medicated my bees with twice as much ApiGuard as suggested...right in the middle of a robbing frenzy...utter chaos!