Monday, January 10, 2011

2011 Beekeeping Resolutions

Don't wait for the last minute to get equipment.
Maybe all spring you were able to get equipment the day before you needed it. Then suddenly in mid summer you'll find the supplier is out of stock and you can't get what you need. This happened last year with supers. My hives had their supers almost full and I couldn't get any medium supers or frames with foundation. You can often find supplies farther afield but shipping costs really add up. Plan ahead and make purchases in winter too. That way the costs are spread out more.

Stay ahead of them
If you don't let them get ahead of you then you won't have a panic to catch up. They had all their frames filled and capped and I didn't realize they'd used up all available space. Then I couldn't get equipment to give them more room (see #1 above). Yikes! We were forced to do extractions right away to give them more room.

Stay on top of the Mites
Don't let those pests take down your best hive. It might be booming now but keep an eye on it so it doesn't end up in trouble later. Recharge your sticky boards regularly. It's a balancing act figuring out which is the best mite treatment. Formic Acid works great but its temperature reliant. I'll pay more attention to the weather when choosing a treatment.

Go for Power Every Time
Go for Power when it comes to an Extractor. We run our extractor for at least 20 minutes with 6 frames at a time with our radial extractor. Hand turning for that length of time would be exhausting, especially if you have more than one hive.

Spread Out Your Costs
Buy your equipment in winter too. You'll have more available money and more time between pay cheques to purchase equipment. More time to paint or nail frames together too. There's nothing like trying to nail 20 frames together in the rain while standing in the bee yard because the bees have filled every available cell in their super.

Think Twice about the Relatives
Is your brother eyeing your bees? Is Dad thinking he'd like to help out. Now this may be a blessing to have extra help but remember close relatives can be full of advice and opinions too... Before involving more family members you might want to read I've Created A Monster.

Take the Fall Harvest Earlier
There's no question in my mind that the fall harvest must end earlier. The bees need time to rebuild their stocks once the honey is taken from them and in southwestern Ontario the weather often turns cold by the second week in Sept. I ended up with hives which weren't as heavy as I would have liked. The good news is that I had some supers in reserve so I could give back to them. This year I'll do the last harvest the last week of August, allowing time for the bees to restock and for a decent mite treatment before winter.

Stop Worrying
This will be my most challenging resolution. I have worried about my inexperience and what it can do to the bees. It's a miracle they live through my mistakes. Last winter was not too cold and nice and short followed by a hot summer. Let's hope 2011 is another great beekeeping year.

Here's wishing you the best 2011 ever, even if you don't have bees.

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