What Makes a Great Beekeeper?

General Discussion of Diary Posts and Questions on Beekeeping Matters
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Allen Dick
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What Makes a Great Beekeeper?

Unread post by Allen Dick » July 20th, 2017, 4:29 pm

We have been discussing queens in another thread and that got me thinking: what makes a great beekeeper?

I'll go first.

To my mind a great beekeeper has a spiritual connection to the bees, and for that matter, all nature.

A great beekeeper respects the bees and listens to what they tell him or her and co-operates.

A great beekeeper knows that bees have a different code from people, but they have their ways and their rules.
Allen Dick, RR#1 Swalwell, Alberta, Canada T0M 1Y0
51° 33'39.64"N 113°18'52.45"W
http://www.honeybeeworld.com/Allen%27s%20Beehives.kmz
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karen
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Re: What Makes a Great Beekeeper?

Unread post by karen » July 20th, 2017, 4:43 pm

A great beekeeper has some common sense. They can be innovative when need be but also stick to what works and has worked for a long time.

They need to be in tune with Mother Nature, observant of everything thing in nature, especially the plants.

They need to think ahead. How does what I am doing now effect the hive in 3 weeks? Think in brood cycles. Respect the bees ways and time frame.

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BDT123
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Re: What Makes a Great Beekeeper?

Unread post by BDT123 » July 20th, 2017, 9:07 pm

Well, I've always had a great appreciation for the 'Natural World', I like to to think of myself as an amateur but dedicated naturalist.
Around our property I have plantings and natural areas that seem to attract huge numbers of bees of all types. I rarely see honeybees in the gardens, but I sure have lots of bees.
I often take a folding chair and sit about 15 feet from the closest hives and just watch the honeys come and go.
I honestly do not know where they go to forage, but by paying attention to what is blooming in the vicinity, I have a decent idea what they are foraging on, and how plentiful that may be.

A great beekeeper will keep their bees as free from parasites and viruses as they are able. They will not inflict mite-bombs on their fellow beekeepers or other native pollinators.
A great beekeeper will ensure adequate nutrition for their bees as the seasons and forage change.
A great beekeeper will provide their bees with the shelter/structure they require to survive and thrive.
A great beekeeper will be able to perform the husbandry required to ensure the success of hive increase, if so desired, so the super-organism, the hive, may replicate. Unmitigated swarming doesn't count! :D
An understanding of how to manage supercedure of aging or failing queens would also be a hallmark of a great beekeeper.
I aspire to be a great beekeeper some day. For now, I'll be satisfied if they survive our winter, and continue to provide me the fascination of a really intriguing obsession.
Brian

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eltalia
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Re: What Makes a Great Beekeeper?

Unread post by eltalia » July 24th, 2017, 10:57 pm

My thoughts are in line of a "great beekeeper" being a proficient communicator... bees talk in 3D, a kaleidoscope of perspectives not easily unravelled by many, no matter how well intentioned.

Cheers.


Bill
ASK not what your bees can do for you.
ASK what your bees cannot do for you.

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Allen Dick
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Re: What Makes a Great Beekeeper?

Unread post by Allen Dick » July 25th, 2017, 7:56 am

True. As with getting the best out of people, being a good listener and observer is crucial, as is having a co-operative and receptive nature.

Good organisation skills are important, too.
Allen Dick, RR#1 Swalwell, Alberta, Canada T0M 1Y0
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Countryboy
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Re: What Makes a Great Beekeeper?

Unread post by Countryboy » July 25th, 2017, 8:30 pm

I guess we would first need to define great. It's as vague and ambiguous as saying successful.

I've seen beekeepers who had a spiritual connection to the point they were pretty much singing kumbayah to the bees...and then wonder what happened when their bees died.

IMO, first and foremost, the beekeeper has to be financially successful from their bees. That, may not be enough to be a great beekeeper, but I don't believe it is possible to be great without financial success with bees.

I think being great also requires being well-respected by people of integrity and good character.

I think being great means you have to do things on your own, without government assistance. If you're like Hackenberg https://farm.ewg.org/persondetail.php?c ... =B05571218 sucking up hundreds of thousands of dollars in other people's money because you keep letting your bees die every year, I find it hard to consider him to be a great beekeeper, even if he is financially successful and probably respected by some folks.

I think a great beekeeper has a very deep knowledge and understanding of bees and beekeeping, and can draw on extensive experience to know how to handle any beekeeping problem.

I think part of being great involves overcoming adversity. If everything has been handed to you on a silver platter, I find it hard to consider you great if you haven't earned your stripes so to speak.

I think a great beekeeper also tries to find ways of imparting their wisdom to others.

Just a few things that come to mind when I think of greatness.
B. Farmer Honey
Central Ohio

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