January 2004

George Imirie’s PINK PAGES

New Year Resolutions

Do you remember in years past that many people made all kinds of RESOLVES that they were going to do this, NOT going to do that, stop drinking, stop smoking, clean the garage, DAILY tell my wife “I LOVE YOU”, go to church, stop cheating on my income tax before I get caught, and a myriad number of other “wishful” desires. But DESIRES don’t come about accidentally, rather YOU have to WORK AT IT to get something accomplished! In our liberal society thinking of today, rarely do we hear of New Year’s Resolutions, because it seems everyone wants something “handed to them” FREE for no work what so ever. With a precious few exceptions, it is safe to say that one cannot gain either substance or knowledge without WORKING FOR IT. Pray tell, what has all this crap about RESOLUTIONS and WORK got to do with keeping honey bees?

There are other beekeepers close by to your bees (Not the next county, next state, or next town, but just 4-5 miles away) whose colonies DON’T die, rarely swarm, produce high honey yields year after year, and have such strong colonies that they can sell you nucs and not seriously diminish their colony’s honey production. WHY IS THAT? Is “he” just lucky? Has “he” got a better location? Maybe his “local” bees are better than my “bought” bees. Maybe he has requeened with those fancy new SMR queens or those new Russian queens. WHY AREN’T MY BEES PERFORMING? WHY ARE MY BEES DYING? WHY DON’T MY BEES MAKE OVER 100 POUNDS OF HONEY PER COLONY? WHY DO MY BEES KEEP SWARMING? WHY DON’T MY BEES DRAW 30 FRAMES OF FOUNDATION THE FIRST YEAR? AND ANOTHER 100 QUESTIONS. In NATURE, bees swarm, bees die of mites or disease, normal honey yields rarely exceed 50 pounds. However, the science of GOOD beekeeping is NOT designed to CHANGE natural bee BEHAVIOR, but rather for the beeHAVER to LEARN enough about proper hive management and management care and technique that he becomes a beeKEEPER whose bees can do all those desirable things rather than die, swarm, or make very little honey MY POINT IS RATHER SIMPLE – YOU HAVE TO LEARN MANAGEMENT CARE, HIVE TECHNIQUES, DISEASE TREATMENTS, BEE BEHAVIOR, HONEY PRODUCTION MANAGEMENT, and maybe most important, SELECTION OF A GOOD QUEEN.

It is so easy, and normal for most folks, to place the BLAME for all their problems on the weather, rain, snow, freezing, drought; or a NO GOOD queen from the famous XYZ bee company; or mite resistance to ALL the miticides, or that it is LEAP YEAR. In the final analysis, whether you like it or not, the fact remains that some MASTER BEEKEEPER close to you has NOT had these problems, and his bees are always alive and producing high yield of honey. It does not require rocket science intelligence to determine that your problem is YOU, not the bees.

Why not make a New Year’s RESOLUTION to start ATTENDING the meetings of the Montgomery County Beekeepers Association and LEARN, LEARN, LEARN. Over the years I have brought you HIGHLY prominent and knowledgeable SUCCESSFUL beekeepers to speak to you. Not only am I an octogenarian, but no longer have a voice (perhaps many are thankful), but personally knowing so many REALLY SUCCESSFUL BEEKEEPERS who are bee scientists, bee researchers, queen breeders, Master Beekeepers, or “you name it” in the bee world of the whole U. S., I will keep bringing you these people to our meetings FOR YOU TO LEARN, provided you can ‘get off your butt’ and attend!

January 14th is a great example. You won’t even have to listen to me as I will be LEARNING more new bee research findings at the American Beekeeping Federation meeting in Florida; but you will hear, AND ASK QUESTIONS, of FOUR of my invited speakers, ALL Certified Master Beekeepers, led by Pat Haskell, and assisted by Billy Davis, bee inspector Bill Troup, and Nancy Troup, and it’s ALL FREE. You don’t have to spend money to go to an EAS meeting several hundred miles away to get this much knowledge that my invited speakers are going to give you FREE.

Make yourself a better skilled beeKEEPER to better understand the real JOYS of BEEKEEPING, and make me PROUD of you as a member of the Association I founded, JUST BY ATTENDING THE JANUARY 14th meeting!

Found in my Doctor’s Office

A lack of prior planning on your part
Does not constitute an emergency on my part

Remember my recent PINK PAGE about there is a RIGHT time for everything, and if you miss it, your bees might die, swarm, or produce little honey. You CAN’T do things when it CONVENIENT for you to do it, but to be successful, the “thing” MUST be done at the PROPER time decided by nature. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you should do today! Remember January 14th!

January Tasks

The MOST IMPORTANT thing is make sure your bees have enough FEED to get them through the next 3 months until dandelions bloom; and find a day that is over 55° and NO wind, remove the INNER COVER and check for BROOD. If brood is present, shut the hive up, and repeat it on a warm day in February, but this time, really check out the amount of food supplies, because brood rearing requires a BUNCH. If you are going to order queens or package bees, you might already be too late to get a decent delivery date like April 15th. MONEY helps, so contact your supplier and offer to PAY NOW IN FULL for an early delivery date. PLAN AHEAD – Buy your supers NOW, build and paint to be ready by April 15th

MSBA Meeting on February 21st

Come as my guest, and I will PAY for your membership, if you are not a member. WHAT EXCITING SPEAKERS and TOPICS! WOW! Dr’s. Marla Spivak and Rick Fell. Gosh,’ can’t get much better than those two. Marla will talk about QUEENS (what is more important than a good queen?), and Breeding Bees for Resistance to Disease and Mites. Rick will talk about HIVE EVALUATION and honey bee PHEROMONES. I will see Marla at the ABF meeting and inform her of what a HUGE crowd she will have to talk about HYGIENIC Queens, so you BETTER BE THERE! How much do YOU know about the importance of honey bee PHEROMONES? Rick Fell does, so let him tell you.


OLD Master Beekeeper George Imirie – the “hard driver”

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