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Yes Grasshopper there is more to it.........

 I think we make our own luck. I think the more prepared we are the more luck we have. Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance. The 5 P's of any endeavor.
If you are one of the newcomers to beekeeping you probably didn't have a real mentor, if you were lucky you had a club or an association where you could get some information, maybe.  I used to watch in the spring all the same people with the same results year after year.  The results from overwintering were not good. So what do you think happened, I would ask people. I tried to make it a learning experience, it surely is what I do when I look at my dead outs. Figure out a lot of stuff... the cause, the reason, is it a trend in my yard like a virus, was it just a brutal winter or did I fail in some way.

The first few years I had hives I was death on wheels. No questions asked you landed in my back yard you died. It wasn't until my third year I took this all seriously, and evaluated my sources and realized I was better off finding extractions and swarms, making increase on my own, even my first attempts at grafting and queen rearing. Even my worst recollections of making cells somehow managed to live through the following winter. Year 4 I was greeted with survivors. I was an expert. Figured this thing out no problem, no worries, just a few minor tweaks and I was set for life.  easy grasshopper...............there is a lot more to it.

 I realized I needed help or guidance. It was obvious I was just doing stuff because it was what was recommended without really seeing it, or understanding it. The nuances of the hive were completely beyond my perception. I looked and didn't see, what is now obvious. I remind myself of this, quite frequently, wondering what revelations will come next. The changes in management and timing, application of different equipment, genetics, experiments, all come with questions. The key is the foundation of insight. That's why I enjoy teaching in the yards, I can show you, look here is a healthy vibrant hive or conversely, here's one on its way out.

Randi Oliver has referred to bee clubs as Taliban. I think he's humorously spot on. Different talabans, different priorities. I can almost tell what club a person is from based on what they ask me. I made it a point to go to as many conferences, symposiums, operations as I could. I was a sponge for information, still am. It was seeing more and thinking more yielded more insight. At the end of it all, the best place was in the yard with the bees. There was the school, the great Church. Yet, to make that work, and proceed quicker, we had to fill in a lot of blanks.

Practical beekeeping is quite a bit different from the books and certainly from the universities. It is based on observation on what bees prefer or their natural momentum , yet observation without a frame of reference is like a kaleidoscope. Pretty with no focus. Bee Improvement is just common sense applied to practical management. That why we teach it. The principles are educate the beginners, make the old ways obsolete though better equipment and management through our research and experiments, and breed better locally acclimated stock. Easy right? Well understanding the concept is but working it out is a bit more of a challenge. Im excited about what weve been doing the last 5 years and see some great results, both in my management and in my bees. I do not see a better way than applying these concepts to my own yards and to teach others the methods to do it.

The old ways have some merit, I mean the biology has not changed, the triggers have not changed, yet the environment and challenges of modern beeking has really upped the learning curve. Set it and forget it hasn't worked since tracheal and varroa showed up. Add to that the toxins and monoculture and lions and tigers oh my.

So a new paradyn arises from observation and insight, making the old system obsolete. For myself, I realize now that the direction I've taken is off the reservation. I digest a lot of information and put it into play and decide what's a keeper and what is not. I further digest it and make it understandable for others to apply if they so choose to. I am always amazed by the predictability of the beekeeping community around here. First, its blasphemy, then its ridicule, and then folks start taking your ideas and presenting them as their own. Flattery is the best form of appreciation I guess. Still, in beekeeping, the alpha male and the egos seem to rule the donut table at the meetings. The old dogs have nothing to add because they keep it all to themselves as they paid dearly in colony loss, and then we have our less experienced mockingbirds, talking about stuff like they have done it, and gotten it. All in all its blind mice chasing cheese, the mice the beginners and the cheese is the information. Folks, unless your speaker is a qualified and respected master your wasting your time at these clubs. Then amongst the masters, you have old school, new school, and way off the reservation school.

I prefer a more tangible approach. As I had mentioned in an earlier post, you need to qualify your sources for latitude, species, and equipment. This should eliminate 80 % percent of your you tubes and books.  If your thinking about a mentor, if he/she is all suited and booted, your probably gonna learn a real crap way of keeping bees. We have a bunch of those here. You might consider a bee school or a practical class in the field, as since most of the clubs are not in a position to do that where do you go?

This is why we started our school. To raise a new generation of beekeepers who at the very least have the biologic and management foundation, along with the vocabulary and insight of trends (expansion or condensing), and of course the maladies. I am far away from where I would like to be as a person with bees, yet I reached a point outside of 2 or 3 similarly skilled people, there is no one to talk to locally. We have outgrown the well-traveled path, which is awesome. It creates an opportunity with new thinking and fresh ideas, new disasters, new successes. The school accelerates the process from killer to keeper. Probably gives the first year people a three or four year jump. That's just the beginning. Until you take a priority approach to your hives you will fail. It's that simple, and we can't teach that part of it.

It bungles the mind how much money people spend on replacement bees year after year. I would give it up like I almost did in year three. Expensive, and a real confidence killer. Well, it was my fault, but no one warned me about some basic things like you had better get serious, real serious. You had best be prepared to learn a lot fast, and then a whole lot more after that. Have I scared you away yet? The world does not need more packages from the south here in the north. It does not need more half-hearted attempts at beekeeping. It does not need a 3 yr expert experimenting with stuff they know nothing about, and it sure as heck does not need hobbyists who have no idea of diseases.
As a beginner, you can expect to lose hives. Case closed. You will be challenged, frustrated, and unsuccessful. I do not know if its really much different anywhere else. If Your Dad didn't have bees or your Grand Dad, you're on your own. That really stinks for you as there a lot of things you're gonna need to figure out quickly.

The bucolic flow hive dream of amber gold flowing on your pancakes is nothing but more fake hoohah. Your desire to help the bees might just backfire. Let me explain,
You probably buy your bees from the oh so happy and merry experts who's job it is to sell you anything you desire, even if your desires are not defined. You will have a hazmat suit, a hive tool and a bunch of wood and wax. Ok so now what. Well, you're on your way to something and that has a winding path written all over it.
So be graceful in your failings and in your success and yes grasshopper there is a lot more to it than what they told you at the bee store or the club or the flow hive infomercial.

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