Topic: Expectations and Realities of Beekeeping (The First Two Years) - Page 2
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  1. #21
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    El Dorado, AR, USA
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    Default Re: Topic: Expectations and Realities of Beekeeping (The First Two Years)

    No one ever told me I would be a complete and utter failure my first year...and second year. First 2 years is like going to the strip club. It's fun and your wallet is empty with nothing to show for it. In hind sight, i probably should have just went to the strip club instead.

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  3. #22
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    Jun 2018
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    Boaz, KY, USA
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    Default Re: Topic: Expectations and Realities of Beekeeping (The First Two Years)

    Quote Originally Posted by bwilson View Post
    First 2 years is like going to the strip club. It's fun and your wallet is empty with nothing to show for it.
    bwilson:

    This is maybe the best analogy I've ever read... Hopefully you'll have a little more to show for your efforts this year- and can keep the dollar bills in your wallet.
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

  4. #23
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    Apr 2017
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    Aylett, Virginia
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    Default Re: Topic: Expectations and Realities of Beekeeping (The First Two Years)

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post
    and can keep the dollar bills in your wallet.
    It is not so much the dollar bills, its the fives and tens that do you in. My wife said she'd kill me if I ever started going to a strip club, so I had to come up with another way to waste money. Beekeeping fits that bill pretty welll.

    Ps. I believe her.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  5. #24
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    Default Re: Topic: Expectations and Realities of Beekeeping (The First Two Years)

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post

    Ps. I believe her.
    Definitely not worth pressing your luck!
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

  6. #25
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    Sep 2019
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    El Dorado, AR, USA
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    Default Re: Topic: Expectations and Realities of Beekeeping (The First Two Years)

    I think I've gotten a better grasp on this whole 'beekeeping' thing than I did 5 years ago. I'm definitely still in the red, but things are starting to look up. The biggest help to me was reading Randy Oliver's stuff and watching Ian Steppler. Now that I better understand the behavior and biology of bees, I stand a much better chance. That being said, one thing that no one ever told me my first to years is that bees aren't people. I realize that seems extremely obvious lol. But before I came across my previously stated 'online mentors' I was definitely guilty of humanizing the bees. I believed the crap that was spewed out of every backyard beekeepers mouth. I thought the bees actually had feelings towards their brood. I thought the queen ran the show. I thought the bees recognized me since I opened the hive up 3 times a week out of curiosity. I thought that the bees wanted a clean box to live in so I was meticulously scraping scraping propolis and burr comb from the frames and lid. It wasn't until I helped a distant relative of mine pull honey who is a sideliner that I learned the bees don't give a rats ass about the box they're in. He had corners broke off and lids didn't sit flat. I was shocked that his equipment was in such poor shape. But them bees still made 18 barrels of honey so obviously I was the stupid one.

    I apologize for getting on the soapbox. I just wish I had understood that bees are not to be compared to anything else because there isn't anything else like them. If I learned that alot sooner, I could have saved myself thousands of dollars and years of failure.

  7. #26
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    Jul 2018
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    Hesston KS
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    Default Re: Topic: Expectations and Realities of Beekeeping (The First Two Years)

    I'm starting my 3rd year of beekeeping. I started with a package and now have 13 hives. My first comment is - have fun. Bees are amazing insects, enjoy learning all you can about them. Too often we get caught up in the process and forget to enjoy the ride. Don't get so stressed that you take all the fun out of beekeeping. I spent a ton of time my first year just watching the bees fly in and out of the hive.

    My 2nd comment comes directly from Ian Steppler - build your bees. Focus on disease (mites), nutrition and queens. Learn how to split and grow your apiary. You will lose bees so hedge your bets and learn how to use those nucs to grow more.

  8. #27
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    Jan 2016
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    Fox Lake Il
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    39

    Default Re: Topic: Expectations and Realities of Beekeeping (The First Two Years)

    I would advise read every book you can and realize that ALL beekeeping is local. Learn the biology of the honeybee and the lifecycle of the mite. In your first two years you always worry way too much about your bees.

  9. #28
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Albany NY
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    Default

    Nice thread. Some great points. I think sometimes our expectations get muddled by our goals. Goal 1) learn how to keep your bees alive. Some people are first year beekeepers over and over. I mentored a fellow who had lost his bees the first year so he cut and strained all the honey and scraped all the comb off the wax foundation before he installed new bees, to give them a fresh start.... Goal 2) learn how to work with them to make them productive (ie healthy, producing honey, polination services, queens, bees; whatever your goal is to produce) in your area with your flows and season's. Often new beekeepers have too high production expectations that hamper survival expectations. Or they are too timid about when to inspect / intervene and leave all the products in the hive leading to early swarming. Goal 3) learn how to sustain enough colonies each year in your apiary so you never have to buy bees again. In that order, may take more that a season. If I expect to never buy bees again before I've learned how to keep them alive I may be disappointed. I won't really know if I've succeeded at goal # 1 until after my second winter (with the same bees). Enjoy your presentation!

  10. #29
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    Jun 2011
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    Campbell River, BC, CA
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    Default Re: Topic: Expectations and Realities of Beekeeping (The First Two Years)

    Another thing that may be worth injecting into a talk for potential new beekeepers. Point out to them that many beekeepers struggle to keep bees alive, and in the process they manage to cultivate large populations of varroa mites. If we turn the tables, maybe start trying to keep varroa mites, then the mites will start dieing and the host bees will surive.....

  11. #30

    Default Re: Topic: Expectations and Realities of Beekeeping (The First Two Years)

    The talk is scheduled for next Thursday, Feb 20. I worked on the powerpoint a bit today. Mites are definitely one of the topics. I only have about 45 minutes and there are a number of things I need to cover. I won’t be able to spend much time with each thing.
    I hope to get across the idea of getting a mentor and attending meetings. It is a good sized bee club with a lot of experienced members. They tend to have speakers on timely topics throughout the season.
    Again….thanks to all who have taken time to contribute.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  12. #31
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    Default Re: Topic: Expectations and Realities of Beekeeping (The First Two Years)

    Dan, good luck with your presentation. It would be really cool if you could post a video of it and the powerpoint slides you used. Might help others in the same boat from having to start from scratch.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  13. #32

    Default Re: Topic: Expectations and Realities of Beekeeping (The First Two Years)

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    Dan, good luck with your presentation. It would be really cool if you could post a video of it and the powerpoint slides you used. Might help others in the same boat from having to start from scratch.
    Thanks. It is my hope to post a video. As a one shot thing though, they don't always work out. I plan to record it and will see if it is fit to edit and post on youtube.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  14. #33
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Kansas City
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    2

    Default Re: Topic: Expectations and Realities of Beekeeping (The First Two Years)

    Our clubs "2nd year and Beyond" class just covered - Why Hives Die, Spring Management, How and Why to Re-queen, Swarm Biology, Hive Stressors and IPM, Moving Hives and Improving Locations. The presentations were all very informative and the 100+ students asked lots of good questions. I felt pretty good when I left, because as a 4th year keeper (2 over-winters) I didn't really learn a lot of new things. But that's OK, that's kinda what I was hoping for! Maybe I'm finally catching on?

    I have been to a lot of classes and conferences the last few years. Some of the 'presentation' info I have picked up on are -
    • Only present facts that you can backup with scientific research. Not only are you "selling" yourself and your knowledge, you are also representing your club or organization. If people leave shaking their heads, make sure it's because of a flood of new information, not "did they really just say that?".
    • EVERY hive, apiary and beekeeper are different (even if they are only 5-10 miles apart). Just because something it works for you, or YouTube guy in another hardiness zone, doesn't mean it's accepted/legal practice.
    • You don't need to have bees to help bees. Plant flowers and pollinator plants. Don't buy adulterated honey. Take classes, read, follow a mentor, get stung, find a light coat of honey on everything you own 2 weeks after extracting. Do you still want bee$.


    Lastly, have someone (club officer or class organizer) proof your presentation. Typos and misspellings are bad enough. Incorrect or misunderstood information is worse. Enjoy and I hope it goes well. Oh, and if it starts to get uncomfortable, just refer back to your Emerson quote.

  15. #34
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    Aug 2015
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    Santa Fe, NM, U.S.
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    Default Re: Topic: Expectations and Realities of Beekeeping (The First Two Years)

    Best of luck with your presentation, as prepared as you are going in, I am certain it will be a success.

    One point I rarely hear is: the temperament of your hive yesterday may not be the same as today! wear your veil!
    I have one outyard in particular.... you know exactly when and if they supersede.

  16. #35

    Default Re: Topic: Expectations and Realities of Beekeeping (The First Two Years)

    Here is a link to the video from last week’s talk.
    Thanks again to all who took the time to offer ideas!

    https://youtu.be/7xWsEATbyuU
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  17. #36
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    May 2016
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    Wise county,Texas
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    Default Re: Topic: Expectations and Realities of Beekeeping (The First Two Years)

    Well delivered presentation sir, well done.


    Reminder to self "self, leave phone in truck while at ""bee church"""
    “Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the Ark, professionals built the Titanic”

  18. #37

    Default Re: Topic: Expectations and Realities of Beekeeping (The First Two Years)

    Quote Originally Posted by Western View Post
    Well delivered presentation sir, well done.
    Thank you. Sadly, I needed my phone for use as a timer. I actually had put it on silent but had an alarm set. Evidently I needed to do a separate silence setting for the alarm. Go figure.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  19. #38
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    May 2016
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    Wise county,Texas
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    Default Re: Topic: Expectations and Realities of Beekeeping (The First Two Years)

    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    Thank you. Sadly, I needed my phone for use as a timer. I actually had put it on silent but had an alarm set. Evidently I needed to do a separate silence setting for the alarm. Go figure.
    LOL, just razzing you since you pointed it out in the video.

    I thought the lesson was good for the short time period you had, covered some basics over several topics. I have sat in enough career classes over the years and I know by now who bores me, or who can keep my attention. I watched the whole thing even knowing most of the material. For what the goal was, I think you hit spot on.
    “Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the Ark, professionals built the Titanic”

  20. #39
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    Default Re: Topic: Expectations and Realities of Beekeeping (The First Two Years)

    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    Here is a link to the video from last week’s talk.
    I really liked the part about the hives side by side, with and without strips, then have folks look at frames trying to find a mite.

  21. #40
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    Jun 2018
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    Boaz, KY, USA
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    Default Re: Topic: Expectations and Realities of Beekeeping (The First Two Years)

    Great video, Dan. I learned a lot from it. I also enjoyed your homage to the solitary pollinators.

    Thanks for posting.

    Russ
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

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