How did your bees do this year?
The bee-work season leaps out of the gate in the spring, and then for the rest of the year, it seems to never let up. But now there is finally time to reflect and make plans. What are your goals for 2019?
Do you want to increase your number of colonies next year? How will you do that – buy more bees or make increase from your own hives?
Do you have enough equipment to house the new colonies? And what about time – how much time will additional colonies demand from your already-busy schedule?
If you want to make splits, which of the dozens of methods do you plan to use? Will you let the colonies raise their own, open-mated, queens, or do you plan to buy queens for them?
Was swarming an issue this year? How can you harness the swarm instinct to add colonies (if that’s your goal) or just successfully navigate through the swarm season without adding any more hives or losing your bees to the trees?
Do you want to try to increase your harvest? (Weather and forage opportunities permitting. Those are always wild cards!) Or maybe, you’d like to try a different type of honey product, such as comb honey or a single-varietal honey. What about the other hive-products such as pollen, propolis or beeswax? Perhaps you’d like to try your hand at raising nucs or queens.
Then there’s the management of pests and diseases. Even highly successful beekeepers know that there is always room for improvement because of the ever-changing challenges. What can you do better next year?
Or maybe what you’d really like to do is sharpen your bee-handling skills and deepen your understanding of the fascinating biology of honeybees.
The options are nearly limitless and the choices are all yours. But we know from experience that the most successful beekeepers think about – and set - their goals ahead of time. Because in a few short months, the intense demands of supering, swarm-managing, splitting, harvesting, and keeping a close eye out for problems will occupy all the time you have to give to your bees.
So, use the time now, while your hives are quietly wintering, to think about 2018 and what went well (and plan on doing more of that), what didn’t go as expected (what you can do differently), and what new things you’d like to add to your beekeeping experience. Then set your 2019 goals accordingly.
We’d like to help by making sure you have the timely information-resources you need to be successful in reaching your beekeeping goals. We invite you send us an email telling us what your 2019 goals are. This will help us set the topic-schedule for the Betterbee Newsletter so that it best matches what you need to know. Thank you for helping us make the Newsletter more useful to you