A new year means a new beginning. It’s a time to evaluate where we are in life and to make goals to get to where we want to be in life. Most people make New Year’s Resolutions to lose weight or to stop their bad habits, but beekeepers aren’t like most people--beekeepers are rooted in nature and in tune with the changing seasons of the year. They think more about their bees than themselves. That’s why when beekeepers reflect back on the previous year, they don’t think about how much weight they put on, or how much traveling they did, they think about how many of their hives survived the previous winter and how much honey they harvested after the summer honey flow ended.
Here are the Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions for Beekeepers:
- I will treat for varroa mites 2-3 times a year.
Like it or not, varroa mites are here to stay and are something all beekeepers must deal with at some point. There are many methods to treat for mites, so do some research and decide what methods appeal to you. It is suggested you use different mite treatments throughout the year to reduce the risk of the mites in your area becoming resistant to certain treatment methods.
- I will have my equipment ready before the packages of live bees come in the spring.
The winter is a down-time for beekeepers as the bees produce very few brood and stay clustered in their hives. Use this time to prepare for new bees in the springtime- such as making new boxes and embedding wax foundation into newly built wooden frames. Inventory your bee equipment and order those top feeders and smokers before your packages of bees arrive in the spring. Once you have the bees you will need to act quick, so be prepared.
- I will actually do a mite count this year.
Keeping track of the varroa mite populations in your hives will let you know if the parasites are getting out of control. Monitoring the mites gives you insight into when you have to intervene and treat for mites.
- I will mentor a new beekeeper.
The world needs beekeepers! 1/3 of the world’s food supply is pollinated by bees. Share your love for beekeeping with someone who shows similar passion and help keep the art and science of beekeeping alive and thriving.
- I will split my hive BEFORE they swarm this year.
The colonies of successful beekeepers grow in number. But if a colony gets too big for the space it’s in, it will swarm. Learn the advanced technique of splitting a hive, so you can make your one successful hive into two successful hives. It takes some work, but it’s better than your successful hive taking off to find a bigger space to live.
- I will run for a position at my local bee club
Most cities and counties have local beekeeper associations for beekeepers to meet and share knowledge with each other. Bee clubs also are a great place to learn about best beekeeping practices in your area. A beekeeping club is only as beneficial to its members as its leaders allow. By becoming a leader in your local bee club, you can inspire fellow beekeepers to do what is best for the bees and for the local environment.
- I will put out my yellow jacket traps early
If you’re noticing a lot of yellow jackets menacing your hives, it’s probably too late to curtail the problem. Get your yellow jacket traps out in early spring. Be sure to use yellow jacket traps that trap both queens and workers.
- I will actually write in my bee log this year
Each trip to your hives is a learning experience. Document each trip in a bee log. You can use a notebook or take notes on your cellphone. Note the weather and what flowers are in bloom. Document the “mood” of your bees and the brood patterns. How much pollen is coming in? Soon you will begin to recognize the cycles of the seasons and how your bees react to certain climate conditions. The more you know and can anticipate, the more success you will have as a beekeeper.
- I will read beekeeping articles every month
As a beekeeper, you will never know all there is to know. There is always something new you can learn. Being open to learning and researching the latest beekeeping discoveries and trends will keep you focused on being your best and vastly improve your beekeeping skills. Knowledge is power.
- I will treat for varroa mites 2-3 times a year
Yes, we already said this one, but this is such an important beekeeping task that it’s worth mentioning again. Mites WILL infect your bees! And if untreated, your mite infested bees will infest a neighbor’s honey bees. And their mite infested bees will infest another neighbor’s bees. Be a good neighbor and treat for mites. It’s best for the bees and best for the local ecosystem.
Hap-Bee New Year!