1. I will not cry over each bee that dies.
I accept the fact that it happens on occasion. However; I still reserve the right to raise them from the dead if they are willing (see Lazarus Bees).
- 2. I'll always put greenery on top of the flames in my smoker.
I never needed the smoker until the time when I didn't add the greens--that's when I accidentally burned a couple bees. Not good for future hive relations.
- 3. I'll spend more time watching from the outside.
I did my inspections based on the schedule in the books and also when I could tell from the outside there were problems. I do feel I interrupted their activities more than I would have liked so next year I plan to open the hive much less.
- Spend more time talking to children about bees.
Gosh that was such a blast, spending the day at the school and talking to classes. There were so many questions (from the teachers too) that it's clear people want to know more about bees. If you want to read some bee facts see this cool tidbits that I wrote about bees at Honey Bee Facts and Honey Bee FAQ's or a Powerpoint presentation on presentation on honey bees for groups.
- I'll seek more mentor advice.
The books have to be generic because beekeeping in Florida just isn't the same as in the Great White North (Ontario, Canada) but the local mentor knows best the area and what works and what doesn't. There's not much point in getting winterizing hive advice from a Florida beekeeper when you live in southwestern Ontario.
- I won't bring home any bees for my dead bee collection, kept in alcohol, unless I am certain they are really, truly, completely dead.
(I confess I put my dead queen in a zip log baggie in the freezer. She's in there somewhere with the frozen peas--why? 1-because I'm a little crazy and 2-so I can look at her through a microscope).
Three times last summer I brought home 'dead bees' that came back to life after I'd got home--I think this Lazarus thing is becoming a theme--and so I had to feed them honey and keep them over night and then return them to their hive the next day. I bet they had a rapt audience for hive stories that night!
- If the bees want to requeen, give them a queen instead.
I lost way too much time in summer waiting for the hive-made queens to hatch, mate, and lay their eggs. The number of workers dropped too dramatically and it did effect the hive's production to the point they had a lot of catching up to do. Then the lovely queen got lost on her way back to the hive after mating and perished... Now when I want to see her I have to open the zip lock baggie in the freezer... yes #6 above and unfortunately that queen really was dead. The purchased, marked and mated queen slipped into the hive very nicely.
- I'll make a vacation time in the fall to stay for the whole Annual Beekeeper's Convention.
A lot of the most up to date info is shared there and it's a great time to network, relax and see Niagara Falls. There's no where else where I can find people willing to listen to my stories about bees or fact sharing. Pretty soon people in the office are going to turn around and go the other way when they see me coming.
- Remember that everything that can go wrong probably will.
Make great use of these mistakes, accidents or nature's messing with your head by writing about it. Yes, most of this stuff is going into my children's book (aka Lazarus bees - who could resist using that one?) Also, by sharing via the blog, hopefully I can spare someone else the pain of the same mistake.
- When lifting frames from the hive, I will smoke the bees away from my fingers...
Do I need to explain that one? (2 stings on my pinkie finger in about 2 minutes). When invading the deep and doing a really thorough investigation the bees will be much more stirred up than usual. Don't forget to keep an eye on them, not just the frames.
- Collect more comb honey to eat.
That was so good it was hard to share. Would you believe that certain family members actually had the nerve to say "is that all I get?"
- Make major changes to the hive either at night or early in the morning.
We moved the hives at night and that went well, with no bee losses but a change of adding winter wraps in the day time made their entrance look very different. 100+ bees perished, unable to find their way into the hive when returning because it looked so different.
- Girls rock at beekeeping.
It may be a male dominated hobby but there are a lot of girls into beekeeping. I hope one day to be like Melanie and wear a Bee Beard. I might even make it a goal for lets say 2011?
- Blogging is Awesome for Beekeepers
Thanks to blogspot and all the blogs available on the internet. Beekeepers are so willing to share that they make learning on line in the comfort of the home or backyard a real pleasure. God bless each and every one!
Happy New Year everyone. I hope 2010 is an awesome bee year.