Greetings Fellow Beekeepers,

I hope this final letter of 2021 finds you all healthy, happy, and looking forward to
enjoying the holiday season and to a more wonderful New Year in 2022!


Today I would like to talk about breaking the rules. We all learn beekeeping, what
to do and how to do it, in pretty much the same way. What I teach new
beekeepers is not always the way in which I keep bees. New beekeepers need to
have the basics first, but I believe nothing should be carved in stone.
I have written on several occasions about some of the ways I have altered my
beekeeping and or tested a new approach that was away from how I initially


I rarely use smoke anymore unless I find my hive unsettled, overly protective, or
defensive. Typically I find this more apparent in the latter part of the season. I just
try to move slowly, carefully, and respectful of the honey bees when I go into my
hives, but I will use smoke if necessary.


I have used the two-queen horizontal system to produce more honey with
success. (You can search for Bill Hesbach’s article in Beeculture for an excellent
description of this). This doesn’t conform to our standard approach and how we
teach newbees but is very worthwhile to know.

I have started to order 2 queens with a package in the Spring so that I can do a
split from day one and create 2 colonies with a single package. I have done this on
several occasions, and it does require a little more work. Again, we don’t teach it
this way.

When we are deep into Fall, as we are now, and we are lucky enough to get a
reasonably warm day, I use open feeding to give my bees a boost. The yellow
jackets are gone now and so all I see are my honeybees having a great old time.
We don’t teach open feeding because there can be many drawbacks to this if not
done correctly.

I place several handfuls of pine needles in a tub and then pour my syrup over the
needles when open feeding. This is to give my bees a safe place to land, feed and

then leave without drowning. I also take out some frames with empty comb, lay
them on their side, and pour some syrup on the comb. This is the only time of year
I do this because if done earlier in the season, this would encourage robbing.


I make candles this time of year and have some pretty ornate molds that require
some form of a release spray. I ran out of it one year and looked around my
kitchen and decided to try using Pam cooking spray and it did the trick. Now I only
use Pam.


As you have ventured further into your beekeeping, I am sure you have tried and
tested some of your new ideas. We do it because we are having a problem and
we are trying to see if an alternative approach can work. And it often does.
As the old saying goes “rules are made to be broken”. If you have an idea and are
curious if it will help you in managing your bees, go ahead and try it. That is one of
the many pleasures of beekeeping…trying new approaches and adding new
beekeeping methods to your arsenal.

This is my last letter as President of BYBA. It has been my pleasure to serve all of
you. I will look forward to seeing you all next year and wish you great success in
your beekeeping for many years to come!

Happy Holidays!!
Rick Glover
President BYBA 2021