Good Advice For Every Beekeeper, from A Successful Beekeeper

(The following is brought to us by CATCH THE BUZZ (Kim Flottum) Bee Culture, The Magazine of American Beekeeping, published by A.I. Root Company.) 11/30/12

The most basic and essential advice for anyone with hopes of becoming a successful professional beekeeper is to “ignore” the ideas and advice commonly circulated by small-time beekeepers, especially those who try to be different and make things more complex than necessary and follow only advice and suggestions from successful professional beekeepers.

That good advice is generally offered quietly and without the evangelism that accompanies the propaganda circulated by the various beekeeping cults.

The main keys to achieving success in any business that depends on livestock are very simple:

The first rule for anyone who keeps livestock and is serious about doing a proper job, with profitability and success as the goal, is to ensure his/her livestock is properly fed at all times, with feed reserves on hand.

The second rule is to keep all livestock in good health and avoid wasting time and resources on livestock which does not show promise.

Culling losers promptly is essential to success – in the beekeeping world it is not simply letting all the bees die, but requeening with better stock.

Colony starvation begins long before the bees run right out of feed.  As the amount of stores in the hives dwindle, bees forage more desperately and brood rearing is cut back, resulting in disease and reduced populations.

Failure to feed livestock that is approaching starvation is an indication of the worst sort of ignorance and lack of competence.  In advanced societies, starving livestock is illegal, and even criminal.

For some reason, bees seem to be an exception and many incompetent beekeepers promote various abuses of honey bees.  Maintaining inadequate reserves in hives is one of the most widespread abuses and the cause of a great deal of colony loss and disease.

Beekeeping basics are really simple -- too simple for many it seems.

 * Keep the colonies healthy and treat, eliminate or requeen any which are not.

 * Provide good housing for the colonies with appropriate room for the population and time of year.

 * Feed any colonies that may come anywhere close to running out during a dearth generously, and well in advance.  The time to feed for dearths and/or winter is as soon as any honey flows are over and any surplus is removed.  The weights should be checked again routinely.