Regrets in BeeKeeping

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Charlie
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Regrets in BeeKeeping

Unread post by Charlie » November 4th, 2015, 7:07 pm

While this seems to be an odd question on the surface, ultimately I believe it would be useful to new beekeepers to understand where beekeepers that have some experience have gone wrong. Yes we would all like to claim that we get XXX amount of honey per hive per year. The glorious days do make a good story. However if were honest and we look at the other side of the coin it might help new beekeepers deal with the days that are less than glorious. I would dare say that failures are a better learning tool than successes.

For me going out in the spring and pulling the lid off the dead hive left me an emotional low. The hive was dead because I failed to put on mouse guards. While this was a low point for me it was also my first winter and a learning experience for me. While I've learned many things, some good some bad I can't help but wonder what other beekeepers have their regrets.

The girls are all in their hives and there is no sound from them and somehow it seems oddly quiet not to hear 10,000 or 100,000 bees in the air when you go outside. Personally I hate winter more than ever now because I don't get to go open a hive and hear the buzz or smell the smell that tells you the hive is healthy and oddly enough it will be six months before I get stung again

So I put forth my only regret in beekeeping is that nobody told me how addictive it can be. Keep in mind I am just a hobbyist with a half a dozen hives. With thoughts of how I would handle 60, 600 or even 6000 hives while suspecting that the number of hives is an inverse squared law for the amount of fun. Basically I'm saying a half a dozen hives are way more fun to play with than 6000.

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Countryboy
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Re: Regrets in BeeKeeping

Unread post by Countryboy » November 4th, 2015, 7:50 pm

While this seems to be an odd question on the surface,
You didn't ask any questions.

One of my regrets in beekeeping was trying to be treatment free for a few years when I started. 40%-70% winter losses, and honey yields were highly variable among hives.

As soon as I started treating, my losses dropped to 20%-30%, the hives were more consistent in making honey, and I got more honey total.

I kind of regret the amount of time I have spent at farmer's markets selling honey. I wholesale to several stores, and the annual sales at each store is comparable to my sales for an entire season at some farmer's markets. When I figured up the difference in sales comparing retail to wholesale prices if I would have sold that some amount of money in stores, I was only making a few bucks an hour at the markets. I am further ahead to simply find another store to carry my honey.
B. Farmer Honey
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Biermann
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Re: Regrets in BeeKeeping

Unread post by Biermann » November 8th, 2015, 5:29 pm

Hi Charlie,

Interesting header. The only regret that I have is: not starting this 30 or 40 years ago.

Particularly as a farmer, it makes you look at what we do different, not that I would change 180°, but I do things a little different now.

Weeds are not just weeds, but food for my bees and if I treat them right, they will leave some food for me.

The weather is judged now by: do they fly or not, do they need any help (any time of the year), or do I need help.

I go further: every farmer should have four hives mandatory and any gov. hand-outs should be linked to his success in beekeeping.

My time is always in short supply, but I have found my self just laying beside the hive and watch them come and go. My first trip now is to the bees, 150' from my house and it is the path when the day closes and in between, only 30 seconds or a minute.

I will not go in to professional bee keeping, I have my work that I love and if it changes to business it becomes just that: business, now I do it for plain fun.

I was mocked by a presenter at the Calgary Beekeepers Course when I proudly announced that I had 52 pounds of honey from my hive 'I would cull that hive', it ticked me off, but I had no honey last year, so that is an increase of 100%. (I have forgiven the presenter, it was "speaking without thinking" as we to often do).

Next year it will be four hives, promised.

Joerg

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Re: Regrets in BeeKeeping

Unread post by Colino » November 9th, 2015, 8:57 am

Biermann wrote:I was mocked by a presenter at the Calgary Beekeepers Course when I proudly announced that I had 52 pounds of honey from my hive 'I would cull that hive', it ticked me off, but I had no honey last year, so that is an increase of 100%. (I have forgiven the presenter, it was "speaking without thinking" as we to often do).
Joerg
An educator who mocks his students is not much of an educator. It always amazes me on some of the forums the arrogance of some experienced beeks. I don't think they realize that the majority of new beeks have or had successful careers, businesses etc. Just because experienced beeks can keep bugs alive in boxes it doesn't give them the right to belittle others.
Narcissism is easy because it's me or I, Empathy is hard because it's they or them.-Colino

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Allen Dick
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Re: Regrets in BeeKeeping

Unread post by Allen Dick » November 13th, 2015, 9:44 am

52 pounds is a good crop from a package on foundation in the hands of a beeginner, specially if a liberal supply of honey is left for the bees to winter.

Many beeginners get less than that -- or actually lose their bees in spring.

52 pounds is a good crop from a swarm.

I know commercial beekeepers who had years they did not have enough to extract at all (Not in recent years).

Location makes a difference, as does pesticide praying.

I have to wonder about the context of the exchange and comment.

Standing alone, stripped of context, the comment seems peculiar and pointless, so I have to wonder.

Care the present the context and entire exchange?
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Biermann
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Re: Regrets in BeeKeeping

Unread post by Biermann » November 14th, 2015, 7:34 am

Hi Allen,

it was not really taken out of context, because their wasn't one. We were talking about who is a new beek, what he/she had and the years experience.
Only thing I said: I have one hive and harvested 52 pounds of good honey. The response, without thinking (I give the guy credit for that it was without thinking) 'I would cull a hive like that'.

By the way, if you have three hives for sale next spring, let me know, I am interested. Standard boxes (9 5/8").

Have my hive now insulated with 2" Styrofoam board, with a larger, insulated winter cover and a 3/4" hole in the top, reducer to 1/2" in the bottom entrance.

Cheers, hope you winter well, Joerg

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Allen Dick
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Re: Regrets in BeeKeeping

Unread post by Allen Dick » November 14th, 2015, 8:09 am

Strange that he would say that. 50 pounds is in the normal range for a first try.

I expect to have hives for sale next spring. I'll be mentioning it here.
Allen Dick, RR#1 Swalwell, Alberta, Canada T0M 1Y0
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Colino
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Re: Regrets in BeeKeeping

Unread post by Colino » November 14th, 2015, 10:21 am

Biermann wrote: The response, without thinking (I give the guy credit for that it was without thinking) 'I would cull a hive like that'.
That is not mocking. Why would you interpret it as such, did the crowd laugh?
Narcissism is easy because it's me or I, Empathy is hard because it's they or them.-Colino

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