How to be a better beekeeper, 11 different ways.
#1: Read books
Before you pick up your bees pick up a book! There is so much to learn about the bees before you open up a hive. Arm yourself with some knowledge from a few good books before taking the plunge into the world of bees.
#2: Learn from others
Ask 10 beekeepers the same question and you will get 12 different answers! Beekeepers are an opinionated bunch, but there is a good chance that all 12 of those answers may just be correct. Different things work for different people, so find what works for you.
#3: Go slow
Don’t belch out smoke like Puffing Billy! Just a little is enough. Go slow and work with the bees, not against them.
#4: Remember: they produce honey for themselves, not for us
Always leave plenty of honey for the bees, as there are times when the weather may prevent them from foraging, or there could be a lack of flowers.
#5: Less is more
Less smoke; less harvesting of honey; less fiddling in the hive!
#6: Take notes
I’ve already forgotten what I had for dinner last night! Take notes when you inspect your hives – you can always refer back to them and will be surprised how useful they can be.
#7: Get a mentor
Having a mentor can be a godsend. Do you perhaps have a queenless hive? Or a pest or disease you are not sure about? A more experienced beekeeper can be of great assistance.
#8: Plant flowers
Bees need food and that comes from flowers! You can never have too many bee-friendly flowers.
#9: Tell your friends and family not to use ‘cides’
Pesticides, herbicides and fungicides are all harmful to bees!
#10: Swarming is natural, expect it!
The mere mention of the word can instil fear! But ironically this is when the bees are at their calmest. In spring, make sure they have plenty of room to grow. Putting an empty bee box off the ground in part shade works as a swarm trap if some of the girls decide to leave home!
#11: Don’t love them to death
Only open the hive every few weeks, weather permitting. There is no need to open it every other day; this merely stresses the bees. Just let them bee….