I have now been beekeeping for at least 7 years and in the time have never really succeeded. BUT I AM NOT A QUITTER! In all honesty I have given up trying to do ‘the right thing’. I dont know why, but ‘the right thing’ has never twigged. So last year I thought ‘sod it, the bees have been existing for thousands and thousands of years without us, why the hell am I doing all these manipulations?’ One of my main problems is I can never find the queen. The next is I am knocking on and find the lifting hard.
Not finding the queen appears to be a cardinal sin among some beekeepers. I mentioned it at a meeting to get withering looks. I was told’ well you need to learn how to find her’ I have been sent pictures of the queen to help with my incompetence! I even bought a book called ‘How to do beekeeping without finding the queen’. It was reasonably helpful but still…….
So…………..last year I just divided the hive up in June, working on the theory that the queen was in one hive or the other. The other, I surmised would raise a new queen, and it worked! No swarming, no weekly inspections they seemed better off without me! Unfortunately this second colony didnt survive the winter, although they nearly did, they lasted till March and then popped their clogs. My original colony was bursting at the seams. I repeated this experiment this year, so far so good. Now I can hear the howls of disapproval from experienced beekeepers. It might not work at all. But then I wasnt having much success doing everything as advised, and just ended up feeling a failure, so I dont have much to lose! I will keep you updated. when I looked quickly into hive B today, the new one, the numbers seem to have dropped, so I stuck some more brood in the end ( more howls of dissapproval will undoubtedly come in my direction. They had taken all the feed though, so I also stuck in a comb of stores.
I am not exactly a bare foot beekeeper, I will treat them for varroa and feed them of course. But I am begginging to wonder if bees really need all of this intervention from us. I sat at a beekeepers meeting listening to a talk on the ‘Snellgrove Method. ‘Close entrance A open entrance B or whatever, typically Victorian, its funny how bee keeping also follows the attitudes of the day. Talk about bloody complicated.
So the bees will have to get on without my intervention. What have I got to lose?
Yes, I know, shocking arent I? I can hear the tut-tutting from here.
Disclaimer- dont follow what I have done! Go to a beekeeping group and see if you have more luck then me.