muddled thinking swarming

To gleefully bludgeon a beemudgeon

I dearly want to poke this guy in the stomach with his own hive tool, over and over again until light dawns in his pea brain . . .

Yesterday I wrote about the new beekeeper whose rip-roaring hive was throwing swarms like tantrums—one right after another. Using sound beekeeping principles she had raised a boisterous hive that grew too big for its own comfort. After the third swarm, she opened the hive and found both deep brood boxes crammed with honey—something she hadn’t expected.

I explained to her that checkerboarding the brood boxes early in the season would have relieved some of the congestion and broken down the honey barrier. I discussed some other techniques for swarm management as well. But in the meantime, she’s talking to her neighbor:

[A] beekeeper I talked to suggested that I created the hive congestion in the first place by wrapping the hive during the winter. He said it kept the bees too warm which resulted in less honey consumption which then left less space for the queen to start laying in the spring. What do you think?

What I think I cannot publish here. What I will say is this guy is a beemudgeon. A while back I wrote about the Seven types of beekeeping advice to avoid. Number 6 describes this guy to a T:

Be wary of curmudgeons, or let’s call them beemudgeons. These are people who give advice that contradicts whatever you are currently doing. They are know-it-alls who know nothing and get attention by saying the opposite. If you change, they change. They breed faster than mites and hang out in places where they can inflict the most damage.

Can you see why I have periodic falls from civility? This guy is saying it is her fault the bees swarmed because she took good care of them. Reading between the lines, he is saying that if she just starved them half to death they would not be vigorous enough to throw swarms. And if that’s not bad enough, he says that warm bees don’t eat as much as cold bees when we all know the opposite is true—there’s nothing like a warm winter to cause bees to burn through their honey supply faster than the speed of flight.

There’s not a beekeeper on earth who wouldn’t be pleased to have a strong colony with a good supply of honey in the spring—not even this guy. But since he’s a beemudgeon, he has to say the opposite: she is an inept beekeeper because her strong overwintered colony has too much honey. What???

Give me that hive tool!



  • This really irritates me too, Rusty, to put it mildly. I also love it when people who are not beekeepers and can hardly tell a wasp from a bee tell me about how to manage a hive.

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