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Author Topic: First year problems  (Read 439 times)

Offline shawnwri

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First year problems
« on: October 31, 2017, 03:15:41 pm »
I've been asked to give a presentation on problems that first year beekeepers face and it has been a lot of years since I was a NEWB.  Any thoughts on what to emphasize are appreciated.  Anything from find a mentor/join a club, to lighting and keeping your smoker lit and beyond.

Online iddee

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Re: First year problems
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2017, 03:45:34 pm »
Ask, "What should i do, not what do I do now that I did wrong.

ASK BEFORE ACTING.
"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

*Shel Silverstein*

Offline Acebird

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Re: First year problems
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2017, 04:39:26 pm »
Join one or two forums and spend 10 hrs per week reading and asking questions.  Preferably a year of two before you get your first bees. 
There is no way you will have all the right answers prior to starting.  Experience will guide you on what opinion works best for you.
Brian Cardinal
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Offline little john

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Re: First year problems
« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2017, 05:51:00 pm »
Ask, "What should i do, not what do I do now that I did wrong.

ASK BEFORE ACTING.

Unfortunately - very unfortunately - it can never work like that.

Because ... a beginner doesn't know what he or she needs to know.  That's the crux of the problem.  It's only after a screw-up has been made, that the tyro realises that there was something that they needed to know, but weren't aware of that beforehand.  Put another way: "you can't possibly know beforehand what you genuinely don't know - so therefore you can't ask questions about it."

My suggestion is to educate by demonstration, rather than trying to anticipate or list potential problems, (say) by running through a typical inspection.  Starting-off with a weather check, and the significance of approaching weather fronts etc.; asking the important question of "why is this inspection being carried out ?", what might we expect to see, and so forth ...

Then move on to the smoker - how to light, fuel to use - a look at bee-suits, veils and other forms of protection.

Ok - use of the smoker (or not), opening the hive, where to stand, how to pull and handle frames/combs, need for gentleness/smooth movements, what exists within a typical comb, what things to look for, and so on and so forth ... 
Then - how to reassemble the hive without crushing bees - in fact everything that beekeepers do and take for granted.  Try to remember how scary opening a hive for the very first time is for the beginner, and just how scared most beginners are of 'doing something wrong'/ killing bees/ losing control and so on.

Having run through a typical inspection, you might then want to look at setting-up an apiary, with all the usual requirements/caveats.  Maybe then look at hive types and variations. Comparison of frame-based vs. top-bar beekeeping.

Then perhaps run through a typical year - what happens when - swarming and so forth - feeding issues - maybe how to introduce a mailed-queen.  Nucleus colonies vs. package bees - how to install both.  And so on.

Suggest you enquire of the audience "who already has bees ?" - which should give you some clue (maybe ?) about existing beekeeping knowledge in the room - but if even a single person hasn't got bees, or has zero experience then it's reasonable enough to cater for total absence of knowledge in your talk.

Hope at least some of the above is useful - sorry if I've been saying the obvious - just trying to help ...

LJ
A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping - http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com

Offline jvalentour

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Re: First year problems
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2017, 09:06:16 pm »
Little John beat me to it.
Just to expand on his thoughts in an abbreviated version

Nuc or package.
Location of hive.
Plan for growth of hive. Frame count mediums or deep
Non hive equipment needed
Supplier
Delivery
Installation
Days 1-10
11-20
21-30
30-60
Winter prep, robbing, neighbors
SHB Varroa
Fall
Winter

Assuming beginner, home owner, small presence. Assuming Ohio River Valley timeline.
Hope that helps. Seemingly, many of my errors are burned into my soul.

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: First year problems
« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2017, 10:09:32 pm »
Tell newbees to ask their supplier what they use to treat their bees. They will have to do the same as the supplier to keep their bees alive.
Jim
"If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed.  If you do read the newspaper you are misinformed."--Mark Twain

Offline Acebird

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Re: First year problems
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2017, 09:09:49 am »
"you can't possibly know beforehand what you genuinely don't know - so therefore you can't ask questions about it."
Fortunately you can by joining a forum and seeing what typical problems newbies make before YOU make that same mistake.  A forum is better than any book you will ever read.  It is current, not out dated and it is happening now.  They are real situations and some are od ball not always happening the way they are suppose to.  And most importantly opinions, you will get multiple opinions for causes and solutions.  So you can address a confusing situation before you are actually in it.  No instruction, no class, no book will give you that advantage.  Those methods of learning are good for learning the basics but not good for solving or avoiding unexplained problems.  For that you need experience and the fastest way to get it is with a large forum with lots of people who have already made mistakes.
The first thing I would tell newbies is there are three stages of beekeeping, 1 Panic, 2 Learning, 3 Confidence but still learning.  One for sure occurs in the first year.  Two might not occur until the third year.  Three might take five years.  The faster you can acquire the experience the shorter the time span will be to get to the third phase.
Brian Cardinal
Just do it

Online iddee

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Re: First year problems
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2017, 10:12:12 am »
"you can't possibly know beforehand what you genuinely don't know - so therefore you can't ask questions about it."

You can ask when you think you have a problem, but before you act on it. Not only possible, but also necessary if you want to keep your hive alive.
"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

*Shel Silverstein*

Offline shawnwri

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Re: First year problems
« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2017, 04:21:59 pm »
Thanks for the suggestions.  Unfortunately it is a winter meeting so demonstration possibilities are limited but I think I can fill the hour.

Offline FlexMedia.tv

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Re: First year problems
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2017, 12:33:55 am »
Take plenty of pictures. Not only to document what you did but it helps when you try to explain to somebody else. I don't know how many times I have posted pictures on this forum and asked what it was.

Art
See my blog and watch me bumble through starting hives:

http://beekeeper.flexmedia.tv/

Full time State Trooper. Part time Beekeeper. If you ever see me run, Run!

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: First year problems
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2017, 11:09:27 am »
http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslazy.htm#stopfightingbees

"There are a few rules of thumb that are useful guides. One is that when you are confronted with some problem in the apiary and you do not know what to do, then do nothing. Matters are seldom made worse by doing nothing and are often made much worse by inept intervention." --The How-To-Do-It book of Beekeeping, Richard Taylor

http://www.bushfarms.com/beespanacea.htm

"There are few solutions as universal in their application and their success than adding a frame of open brood and eggs every week for three weeks. It is a virtual panacea for any queen issues. It gives the bees the pheromones to suppress laying workers. It gives them more workers coming in during a period where there is no laying queen. It does not interfere if there is a virgin queen. It gives them the resources to rear a queen. It is virtually foolproof and does not require finding a queen or seeing eggs. If you have any issue with queenrightness, no brood, worried that there is no queen, this is the simple solution that requires no worrying, no waiting, no hoping. You just give them what they need to resolve the situation. If you have any doubts about the queenrightness of a hive, give them some open brood and eggs and sleep well. Repeat once a week for two more weeks if you still aren't sure. By then things will be fine."--Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm  auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
-------------------
"Everything works if you let it."--James "Big Boy" Medlin

Offline UrbisAgricola

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Re: First year problems
« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2017, 06:47:43 pm »
This may be adding only a rhetorical point to what others have said above, but my first piece of advice to anyone is to get in there and do it.  That is where everything comes together.  Like riding a bicycle, you can read every book on the topic, and that is great, but you will never learn from a book or talking to people.  It is in reading and talking in conjunction with getting in there and doing it. 

10 minutes of working in a hive (someone else's then yours) will eliminate dozens of questions.
We all do better when we all do better.