Three keys to successful beekeeping

Newbies and oldies alike, if you’re looking to step-up your beekeeping game, you need to read this. If nothing else, test yourself to see how many of these things you already do because YOU are awesome!

Do you have the makings of a successful beekeeper? Of course you do! But while you probably already practice most of the following things, we beekeepers always have room for becoming more extraordinary than we already are.

Three Keys to successful beekeeping:

Key #1- Have a plan. What are your goals?

The key to being successful in anything in life, having a goal will increase your chances of success by 100x.

A ship without a destination can still be steered but the chances of of making it somewhere are greatly diminished.

Do you know why you keep bees? Perhaps it’s as simple as trying to support pollinators or make honey for your family. Or maybe it’s bigger and you keep bees as a living or to supplement your income.

There’s no one reason you have to choose but when you know WHY you keep bees then THAT reason will be the driver towards accomplishing your ‘WHY.’

Here’s an example from my own experience:

  • I keep bees for several reasons but the one I’m going to use in this example with you today is this: because I want to earn a living doing it.
  • That means I needed to figure out how to make the that amount of money keeping bees and while I have chosen several methods to accomplish this goal, I’m going to share the two big ones.
  • I want to make $100,000 annually as a beekeeper. To do this I have figured out that I need to:
  • Sell x amount of honey AND
  • Sell x amount of 5-frame nucs each year.
  • Knowing how much honey a hive can make in my area from two honey/nectar flows AND how many 5-frame nucs I can make in a season, I have figured out that with a margin of error (hives that won’t produce anything) I need to keep 150 hives.

So now everything I do is constantly working towards that goal in mind. And by so doing, I know that two years from now (fall of 2023) I should be at the number of hives I need to begin reaching my financial goal.

Key #2- Do things on time.

Doing things on time will make you a beekeeping ninja.

Most beginners struggle with not knowing WHAT to do or WHEN to do it. That is half the battle but once you learn those things you must do them on-time.

How do you do that? Discipline. I know when and how to treat for Varroa Mites but I hate doing it. It’s a tedious, time-consuming task.

There have been times where the enemy (procrastination) has crept in and allowed me to experience the regret of putting things off. It’s not worth it.

But when I am disciplined and do what I know should be done and when I should do it…well, there’s nothing like that feeling of accomplishment. Knowing that my bees need me helps to keep me accountable and it feels good setting them up for success.

So, knowing that I can be negligent I have found a way to treat for mites 60% faster than I used to. I’m not getting into that method in this article today but just know that if there’s something you don’t like doing, do yourself a favor and try to get the same results by thinking smarter. There’s always a way if you think about it long enough.

-To learn more about how I treat for Varroa Mites, check out this article!-

Key #3- Be Consistent.

Once you know WHAT to do, WHEN to do it and HOW to do it, KEEP doing it! This doesn’t mean that you can’t change things up and try out new things.

It means that if you have to wrap your hives for winter, wrap all of them. If you use entrance reducers during a dearth, make sure that all your hives get an entrance reducer.

In years past I have been horrible about not getting entrance reducers on all my hives on time. Some hives would have them while others did not.

Well I fixed that problem this year. I decided to go with a permanently installed entrance reducer. It will be affixed to the bottom board and never be removable. (Though it can be if needed for repairs).

In fact, the creator of the reducer I use doesn’t call them entrance reducers but prefers to call them entrance protectors. I’ll be writing a separate article about soon so watch for that.

What’s great is that they don’t affect or inhibit airflow which I’m a HUGE proponent of for hive health.

I take consistency pretty seriously because of my personality. All of my hive bodies are the same color and all of my hive covers are another color. Do what works for you but when you do, be consistent and have fun with it! This is discipline and it will follow you around wherever you go.

If you're interested in learning more about the custom-made entrance reducers I use, click here to go to the website for Fortress Hive.
Temporarily installed just to watch the protector in action. Jonathan Hargus

There are definitely more keys to successful beekeeping coming in my next articles but for now, these three make a solid foundation for the ones to come.

Incorporate these three keys in your practice and you will have the foundation for more and be well on your way to being the successful beekeeper that you already are. The best part is that when we improve ourselves…everyone benefits, even the bees.

If you’re a happy beekeeper, then drop me a LIKE down below to let me know that you want more articles like these.

Until next time,

~Weeds are Wildflowers, Let them Bee!~

Jonathan Hargus/Always learning new stuff

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