What does it mean to be a successful beekeeper? People have many opinions of what determines success to them. To some, if you do not keep a certain number of colonies, make a certain amount of money, or achieve an outdated survival rate, you are just playing around (unsuccessfully). Here are some of the questions I ask myself.
Do you keep bees every season and have an absolute ball doing it? Yes.
Do you lay out a large amount of money every year to keep bees? No. Practically no money, except for equipment (which everyone needs).
Do you contribute negatively to the overall gene pool of honeybees by propping up unfit colonies? No.
Do you earn some income from your bees? I do. Not much, but enough to cover most of my equipment.
Are you constantly learning more each season by studying your bees? Yes. And by learning from other people.
Am I off base with this? Are there any other questions I should be asking myself? I may not meet the criteria others set to be considered successful, but if all the fun I have messing with bees is wrong, then I don’t wanna be right.
4 thoughts on “Am I a “successful” beekeeper?”
Great questions! The first is my favourite.
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To take it just a little farther: Do you refrain from using chemicals that are not healthy for bees? (in or out of the apiary) Do you plant pollinator plants that are good for the honeybees AND your local native pollinators? Do you make the effort to spread the word about saving the bees (and all the other insect species that we are losing)?
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I never use any treatment methods whatsoever on my bees. Planting for bees is one of my favorite things to do. I go a little more nuts each year with planting. I’m currently killing several huge patches of grass for the spring. To be honest, I don’t spread the “save the bees” message much at all. I feel that it encourages more people with no knowledge of the insect world to pick up beekeeping as a hobby when the last thing bees need is more people fighting all their battles for them and compromising the gene pool with package bees. Just my two cents.
I promote saving our pollinators by discouraging any pesticide use (including glyphosate) and promoting pollinator plantings. Though the focus is often on honeybees–I promote those things that would, as easily, provide food and habitat for native pollinators as well. I treat my bees with mineral oil and essential oils.