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Once, our professor in the bee school told us, that << the bees are not a pet, the bees are a workhorse . Feed them , care for them, but when time comes , get the hell out of them. Do not count the casualties, count the yield in the end. When the war is over, feed them and nurse them till the next battle>>
What do you all think about it?
 

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Your horses are probably pets Rusty. I agree in theory Drakos and know that your professor is correct. Since I am a hobbyist now, I tend to go to extremes to save colonies that often should be combined or shaken out. The biggest problem I have always had is worshipping number of colonies! Weak colonies just don't produce. Yield is always more important than numbers.
 

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That's a foolish distinction.

I am a plant farmer, but I know from being around my relatives and neighbors who are both anmial and plant farmers that the ones with the best success (yields, profits, personal satisfaction, whatever standard you want to use) are the ones who provide "pet"-level care and attention to the needs of their livestock (or crops), without thinking that their livestocks are pets. This is certainly true for the plants I grow and I see no reason why it wouldn't also be true for livestock managers. Back in the Dark Ages when I being trained at university in agronomy and agriculture, it was called stewardship - and was strongly emphasized.

Enj.
 

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I think that in the end your professor is correct.

These are not dogs, cats, horses, mules, or even birds or lizards. They are insects. Insects are not pets. They can't be trained, they don't have emotions, they are simple creatures with hardwired responses. They are interchangeable. If a colony dies, you replace it, you don't mourn it beyond getting mad about the time/energy/money that just went down the drain.

That's a foolish distinction.

I am a plant farmer, but I know from being around my relatives and neighbors who are both anmial and plant farmers that the ones with the best success (yields, profits, personal satisfaction, whatever standard you want to use) are the ones who provide "pet"-level care and attention to the needs of their livestock (or crops), without thinking that their livestocks are pets. This is certainly true for the plants I grow and I see no reason why it wouldn't also be true for livestock managers. Back in the Dark Ages when I being trained at university in agronomy and agriculture, it was called stewardship - and was strongly emphasized.

Enj.
Odd, in my experience people who treat their veggies like pets usually end up killing them. You provide the best conditions you can, then just get out of their way. Babying them will just kill them.
 

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I think that in the end your professor is correct.

...They are insects. Insects are not pets. They can't be trained...

** emphasis added

Well I wouldn't go that far...

http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/156259-honeybees-trained-to-sniff-out-land-mines-might-replace-sniffer-dogs-in-airports

But in principal I think I get and agree with the point the teacher was trying to make...You can't stop and cry, or have a moment of silence every time you accidentally smash a bee! :)
 

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Your horses are probably pets Rusty. I agree in theory Drakos and know that your professor is correct. Since I am a hobbyist now, I tend to go to extremes to save colonies that often should be combined or shaken out. The biggest problem I have always had is worshipping number of colonies! Weak colonies just don't produce. Yield is always more important than numbers.
** emphasis added

Good point Vance...As I've heard someone put it at our local bee meetings...."Hives don't make Honey, bees do!"
 

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In Greece, 99% of profesional beekeeping is migratory. Before the honey flow we care our bees like babies. But when the flow starts, we transfer the bees from one place to another following the flow of different plants. Seven months of work for the beekeeper, five months of work for the bees.
 

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I find his statement rather strange.

Perhaps the thrust of what he is saying is be profit focussed, and hard hearted in your approach.

My view is different, I keep my bees well housed and healthy, and enable them in every way to work hard and behave naturally as nature intended. I believe they are happy when they work, that's why they do it.

"Get the hell out of them?" No idea what that means.
 

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Did you mean "warhorse"?

I agree part of the confusion with new beekeepers is they seem to think they are pets that need to be fed and coddled when the reason we keep bees if they can feed themselves and make a surplus for us...
 

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I like the statement " small teeth cattle" rather than some battle, killing, forcing... Even they makes me from time to time to I look stupid..
 

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I think a dose of reverence for life is in order.
Stewardship is our proper human role.
That does not however imply coddling or denying natural realities.
 

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Once, our professor in the bee school told us, that << the bees are not a pet, the bees are a workhorse . Feed them , care for them, but when time comes , get the hell out of them. Do not count the casualties, count the yield in the end. When the war is over, feed them and nurse them till the next battle>>
What do you all think about it?
I have to agree . I love my bees but they don't love me .They give me honey and some thing to do in my old age.:D
I know I will only be taking strong hives in to winter from this point forward . No more babying dinky's. I will combine all weak hives.
 

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I think a dose of reverence for life is in order.
That's exactly right. I farm on the side and have lived on a farm all my life. I have stayed up half the night trying to save a newborn calf from dying or watching over a heifer that was having her first calf. At the end of the day, animals are just animals and bees are just insects. I try to get out of them, more than I have to put in to them. If I didn't, both would be a money losing process. I am in year #2 with bees and have yet to make any money. I hope that I am able to sell honey this year and make enough to cover what I spent THIS YEAR. It will take years to get to the point of recouping all my costs from my bees and actually turning a profit.
 

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While I dont agree with the exact words, I do agree about taking the emotion out of beekeeping. When I mentor new beekeepers they struggle with the emotions of giving up on a hive and combine, doing a shake out of laying workers, pinching a drone laying queen, or pinching a under performing queen. They want to coddle and nurse the bees back to health. We live in New England. If one thing goes wrong in the super short season. It's almost game over.
 

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How many of y'all cry when you put your hive back together because you crush bees? A person at school in Ohio was like that. I don't recall her finishing the program.
 

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How many of y'all cry when you put your hive back together because you crush bees? A person at school in Ohio was like that. I don't recall her finishing the program.
While I haven't cried, on several occasions I have lit a smoker at the END of an inspection just to move the girls away from danger when I put things back together.
 

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I quit being friends with mine last year after I took a shot in the earhole while changing out a feeder.

I now have a zone that I will tolerate them following me bumping. There is a cane thicket near my hives. I exit the apiary thru it and wait for the agressive ones to follow. If there is still bees buzzing and bumping the veil, I start clapping the bees dead. I do not let them follow me to the house. Pets are not allowed in the house, they need to stay in their pen.
 

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I'm not sure it's necessarily one or the other. Bees aren't pets in the traditional sense, yet I know people who keep (or have kept) bees simply to have them, without any desire to get honey.

I was raised to be kind to animals, regardless of their size or status in life (wild, pet, or livestock), and I treat my bees that way. That is, I give them a good place to live, check them periodically for pests, disease, etc., and to make sure they don't need anything, and let them get on with being bees. It's better to not be emotional as you work with them (beekeeping often requires we do some fairly harsh things), but I try to be careful all the same. They are, after all, living things and my responsibility.

It's worth noting that here in Utah bees are classed as livestock, the same as cattle.
 
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