- Spouses or friends who don’t like bees or support what you do.
- Having someone else keep bees on my property along with mine. Schedule and treatment conflicts all year.
- Community feeding too close to the hives my first year causing robbing.
- Neighbors who don’t support beekeeping. Yes, you should tell your neighbor you have bees. It’s a bad idea to keep that information from them.
- Dropping a hive while moving it.
- Thinking I could lift a double by myself and tripping on a bear fence with almost no bee suit on.
- Not leveling the ground. As hives built up and started storing heavily to one side, a 4 story box fell sideways and started dominos with the rest of the colonies.
- Tipped the top deep up from the back to look for swarm cells and lost it rite down the front of the second deep, hit the ground and half the frames out.
General bee and queen bee murdering
- Kill a queen on a colony
- The first time I used a cloak board, killed half of the hive field bees and some brood by closing the top half all the way
- Killing them by starvation. Sometimes you have to feed even if you didn’t take honey
Locked off a hive mid summer. Shifted it. Forgot to unlock. Cooked the whole hive.
- Pinching a queen when I didn’t need to.
- Putting a box of about 35 queens under the truck to keep them in the shade while working…forgetting they were there, then backing over them.
- First year, killed brood larva thinking it was hive beetle larva.
“I Just Didn’t Know Any Better!”
- Banging the hive with the inner cover to get the bees off. Can you say, “wake up girls?”
- Not knowing that yellow jackets can take down a colony. Also confusing wasps with bees.
- Robbing hives. Letting the beesclean up honey spears to close to the Bee yard caused robbing.
- Excepting a dare to pop a lid and sit down on the hive bare assed…Yes, this really happened!
- Walking near the hive with my really long hair down sitting dearth and getting bees stuck in my hair!!!
- Bringing comb with bees into house or shed.
- Leaving the door to the house wide open in early spring. Bees came right in. Won’t do that again!
- Cutting out all queen cells without making sure there was a queen in the hive. Rookie mistake.
- Did a cut out and left came back the next afternoon to discover i’d put the hive box right near a red bull ant nest.
Robbing . . having the entrance opened too much . . . too much space for the bees to work
- Also, not removing wedding ring before inspection.
- Painting the inside of newly built deeps and putting bees in the next day. Caused them to swarm.
- Scraping off swarm cells after the hive swarmed(I thought it hadn’t though)… Big mistake but I learned from it.
- Took my cell phone with me, someone called me while I had a semi-aggressive hive opened up. Evidently they didn’t like the ringtone.
- Getting drunk and working bees with no smoke or gloves and veil. I paid for that one!!!
- Warmed up a bee with my breath….It woke up and stung me in the corner of my mouth…I looked like the godfather for a week!
Making my first harvest of honey. Taking it back to the kitchen and having half the hive follow me to the house wanting it back. You have never seen someone move so quickly to close all the windows on the house.
- Foundation Vs. Foundation-less – This is a common disagreement but the agreement is that it works better for established hives. Work with your mentor if you want to go foundation-less.
- Flow Hive – Also sparks some interesting discussion. I understand it works in some areas but not so well in others. Again, talk with your local beeks for more information.
- Using a bee vacuum that was way too strong and making split bee soup 🙁
- Not keeping up with a x-combing top bar.
- Using a Queen Excluder when you don’t need to.
- ALWAYS have a empty hive ready to go.
- You never know when you’re going to need more equipment or resources to make a split or catch a new swarm.
- Not bothering to light my smoker. Never again.
- Running out of fuel in my smoker while working a “hot” hive. I won’t ever do that again!
Inspection & Treatment Malfunctions
- Too much Formic Acid at treatment.
- Put apivar in my hives my first year because i was told – with no mite check. Check first, before you treat.
- Idiot me opened two side by side hives at the same time just two feet apart.
- I sprayed my mangos with insecticide during flowering period. Lots of dead bees.
- Burnt the queen with the oxalic acid vaporizer. Check with your mentor on how to use the equipment.
- Put on perfume and open the beehive in the morning to check. Bees didn’t like my smell.
- Finally, don’t wear dark colors or the color RED!
- I wrapped and insulated for winter only to find a river of soupy wet dead bees in the spring.
- Replaced inner cover backwards in late winter. Bees couldn’t ventilate and temps dropped to around 5 F. Hive was dead within 24 hrs.
- Putting on Candy Board too early or Too Late
- Left the entrance reducer pointing down. Snow buildup and they suffocated. Turn your lower entrance pointing “up”
Trying to Save Time & Money…But Investing in Problems
- Getting free equipment came with foul broad.
- Free Bees that are infested with problems or have attitude issues.
- Changed out old comb and rehived without the queen who was hiding behind about 10 bees in the old wood ware.
Not Placing Hives in the Right Places
- Putting my hives in shade. When they need to cool down, they need ventilation, not shade. Shade only helps the critters that infest them.
- Inspecting inside cells is a pain without the sunshine.
- Set hives a reasonable distance for you. Got tired of walking 10-30’ to see if there were eggs or larvae.
Money Wasting Errors
- Going to the bank for 100k thinking that California was the path for gold!
- Spend way too much money on little return.
- Thinking I could make a living at it.
- Trying to requeen a hive with a laying worker. Lost two expensive queens before I decided that my Mentor was right!!
- Pinching a queen when I didn’t need to.
It’s only a screw up if you don’t learn and grow as a beekeeper
I’ve listed out these confessions of beekeepers in some of my favorite social media groups as well as a few of my own lessons learned. And I hope you’re not discouraged. I write this not to scare you away, but to encourage you to try.
Because the absolute worst action you could take from this is to decide you aren’t going to go through with your dream of keeping bees. If you’re afraid to fail.
Not Becoming a Beekeeper is the worst mistake you could make.
Many of these beekeepers stated they wished they would have started earlier. And all of these keepers who gave confessions in order to help you and me learned from their mistakes or else they wouldn’t still be keeping bees.
So, will you take action? Analyze this list and decide how they can help you to become a better beekeeper.
How can you let this list of beekeeping mistakes help you to succeed with your skill and learn rather than to run away?