Welcome, Guest

Author Topic: Beekeeping lessons learned in 2019  (Read 505 times)

Offline CoolBees

  • Queen Bee
  • ****
  • Posts: 1210
  • Gender: Male
Beekeeping lessons learned in 2019
« on: January 01, 2020, 05:16:41 pm »
What lessons did you learn in 2019?

For me the list was long. Here are some of them:

Making Queens - I get more/larger queen cells if I remove the queen and some nurse bees from a strong hive, than if I remove a frame of eggs/brood to make a Nuc split.

Replacing queens - to be more proactive in replacing failing queens, rather than waiting for the bees to do it. I could have saved 2 hives if I'd done that.

Baiting and killing ants - helped a lot this year

Splits - I lost at least 20 split attempts this year. It took me 6 of them to realize that robbing was the main problem that I was having. I lost another 4 nucs before I started using robbing screens. I lost 2 due to a rain storm that blew the lids off nucs and rained them out - gotta put weights on the lids of new hives until they are strong enough to seal everything tightly. Ants, uexpected queen loss, and queens that failed to return from mating, accounted for the rest of the fails. Hopefully 2020 will see better results.

Robbing screens - I learned to make them, and use them. I really didn't get an increase in hives until I got this figured out. Both SS screen door replacement screen & #8 hardware cloth work well for this. I didn't get fancy - just cut a piece of screen, and used thumb-tacks to secure around the entrance. This also kept the YJ's at bay.

Goals - I entered 2019 with 3 viable hives and a plan [that didn't work] to make a honey crop and end the year with 20 hives via splits. I should have had smaller goals. I ended the year with 9 hives instead. ... the good news is that I sold all the honey I harvested within 24 hrs of harvest, for top dollar. I kept 2 gallons for our family - that wasn't enough  :grin:

Pollen - I learned to harvest it. None of it left the house - we ate it all  :cool:

Honey harvest - bees consume more honey in the summer/fall dearth than I anticipated. I ended up feeding 4 hives in Sept/Oct to get them thru the fall. I definitely need to leave them more stores to avoid feeding.

Nuc transitions - I waited too long to transition hives from 5 frame Nucs over to 8 frame hives. This resulted in transitioning very strong, and very unhappy hives - lots of stings happen then. Me thinks I'll move them over sooner this year.

... this is just some of the things I learned ... it was a fun year of beekeeping!  :cool:
You cannot permanently help men by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves - Abraham Lincoln

Offline Troutdog

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 137
Re: Beekeeping lessons learned in 2019
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2020, 09:12:20 am »
Good for you
Gotta go after it and learn.

Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk


Online The15thMember

  • Queen Bee
  • ****
  • Posts: 1141
  • Gender: Female
  • Traveler of the Multiverse, Seeker of Knowledge
Re: Beekeeping lessons learned in 2019
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2020, 03:59:51 pm »
The biggest things I learned this year:
1. Have things that I will need ready way before I need them.  I got caught without enough equipment at the beginning of swarm season last year, and I had a shipping issue with my mite treatments that made them take really long to get to me, and I almost lost a hive as a result.  Be prepared early!

2. Sugar dusting is too soft a treatment to use if I have anything resembling a varroa problem.  I gave it one more go last summer, and I was really diligent about it, and on the big hives it just didn't help.  On the little hives or hives that were broodless maybe it helped, maybe it didn't, but not a viable treatment option on a big booming hive. 

3. I perfected my personal crush and strain method to where I don't make a sticky mess of the entire kitchen.   :cheesy:

My goals for 2020:
1. Start making some of my own equipment.  I have zero, and I mean ZERO, carpentry knowledge, and to save some money, I'd like to at least start building some of the easier to build equipment, like boxes. 

2. Start using my beeswax to make cosmetic products and candles for my family's use. 

3. Expand to 6-8 hives from my current 4.         
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Offline Xerox

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 421
  • Gender: Male
Re: Beekeeping lessons learned in 2019
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2020, 04:43:52 pm »
Things I learned in 2019:
1. How to be a beekeeper
2. How to catch a swarm
3. How to split a hive
4. How to mark queens

Things I want to learn in 2020:
1. How to maximize honey production
2. How to winterize hives better
3. Become a better beekeeper
3 hives died in 1 year. I need to start with two hives.

Offline Bob Wilson

  • Field Bee
  • ***
  • Posts: 606
  • Gender: Male
Re: Beekeeping lessons learned in 2019
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2020, 05:20:19 pm »
Things learned:
1. How to lure a swarm and start a hive.
2. Basic beginner beekeeping.
3. Patience with and trust in the bees doing what they want.
4. SHB infestation problems.

2020 Goals:
1. Complete a full year cycle of beginner learning by making it to spring buildup.
2. Lure another spring swarm for a second hive.
3. Achieve my first honey harvest off my present hive.
4. Lure additional swarms for a friend whose hives died.
5. New empty nester plans to downsize out/away from my present suburban home so I can keep more than just 2 hives!

Offline Skeggley

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 159
Re: Beekeeping lessons learned in 2019
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2020, 09:16:13 pm »
Never underestimate Mother Nature.
This time last year there was a dearth and I nearly lost a colony to starvation, this year I need more buckets.
Don?t blindly follow others just because it works for them in their area doesn?t mean it will work for you in yours.
Honeys here in SW Aus contain the highest antimicrobal and antioxidant properties of any honey in the world yet no one has heard of them outside Aus let alone tried them.
Live with an open mind and, smiles are contagious.  :grin:



Online FatherMichael

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 393
  • Gender: Male
Re: Beekeeping lessons learned in 2019
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2020, 10:02:59 pm »
Almost everything, since it has been so long since I last kept bees.

Offline CoolBees

  • Queen Bee
  • ****
  • Posts: 1210
  • Gender: Male
Re: Beekeeping lessons learned in 2019
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2020, 02:54:23 am »
Good advice Skeggley.

I like that everyone has started adding 'goals for 2020' to the mix - good idea!

My goals for 2020:
1 - get to 20+ hives early in the season, and don't worry about the honey crop. Worry about the honey crop next year.

2 - focus on breeding from lower mite count queens - in the hopes of finding the right genetics

3 - buy a few top quality TF queens to boost the program.

For me the long term [primary] goal is Treatment Free, but I don't want to leave it to "chance". I want to "know" when I get there, and then I want to expand it. So - its inspections, alcohol washes, observing, learning, & growing.
You cannot permanently help men by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves - Abraham Lincoln