How’s Your Honey Flow?

Reader Contribution by Kim Walter

Coming in for the landing

So, you have the box, you have the frames, the foundation, the bottom board, the inner cover, the outer cover and most important, the bees. You may have even started attending monthly beekeeping meetings, or, at least, read a handful of books. One thing you may or may not have done yet is to decide what type of beekeeper you will be, or your style of beekeeping.

There are many flags flying in the sea of beekeeping. You have the chemical free keepers, the treatment free crowd, the small cell group, the natural peeps, the top bar gurus, the horizontal keepers, the nudists, yes, I said nudists, the veils/no veils, the gloves/no gloves, the flow hive members, the old school extractors, the combers, and a lot more I may be leaving out. I have been bullied in many groups for not adhering to a particular club when it comes to my girls. I have my own personal rules; no pesticides, no fungicides, no miticides, no corn syrup and no plastic in the hive.

I want to raise, what I see as hardy bees. I want stock that’s built like a tank, not something I have to treat just to limp them thru a season. I will feed simple sugar syrup because to me, a dearth of nectar is not a signal of a weakness or bad genetics but of Mother Nature’s humor-if you will. I also use herbs grown on farm and essential oils thoughtfully in my practice. The great thing about so many different styles of beekeeping is that you can pull what you like from groups and leave the rest.

I may not be in tune with someone’s particular style of beekeeping, but that won’t stop me from learning something really cool I hadn’t known before hand. Don’t poo-poo everything a particular group practices; rather take what you can use towards your own practice.  We all entered beekeeping because of a great love for a small creature that can do the most amazing things!

The bee yard

My point is, do what you feel is best for your hives. Don’t worry about what another type of beekeeper may think about how you keep your hives. Your bees are the only barometer you need to evaluate your success. They really don’t care how the beekeeper down the street is managing their hives. The bees do not convene secretly between the hedge rows swapping beekeeper stories. Never feel bad about the decisions you make for your girls, and if you ever find yourself being scolded for keeping bees your way — .gently remind your fellow beekeeper that you’re following your flow!

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