Hi all. This forum was highly recommended by a friend down south so I figured I'd sign up and see. I used to work for a commercial honey producer in Oklahoma back in the '70s then, for various reasons, didn't do anything with them again until a few years ago. I learned a bit about bees back then, but there's a whole lot more that I didn't learn, so I'm working on catching up. I had 6 hives this year (bad weather and bears), hoping to overwinter them, but had a pretty bad year and lost the last one a couple weeks ago.
I don't particularly like the term organic, but working "with nature not against it" and using lower-technology solutions pretty much fits my lifestyle and the management of the rest of my farm (hay, mohair, pigeons, eggs, landscaping trees, firewood, and misc. forest products). So, though I've been lectured, insulted, laughed at, and duly chastized by many successful beekeepers, I'm pursuing the TBH and natural/small cell route. Also, even though most here believe it's impossible to overwinter at this latitude (a couple minutes shy of 65 deg. N), I refuse to kill my bees intentionally. I've heard some arguments for it, but it just doesn't fit with my approach to life.
As you might guess from that introduction, I can be a bit independent and I haven't gotten along terribly well with local bee keepers. I'm usually inclined to read a lot, think a lot, listen to a lot of people with experience, then devise my own approach to any problem or project. That seems to bruise the egos of many beekeepers I know. Most of them are perfectly happy to help you as long as you do everything they tell you to and nothing else, but when you start trying things you heard elsewhere or thought up on your own, they wash their hands of you. Problem is, they all give different advice, so if you listen to one then you alienate the other and vice versa. They don't seem to understand that their advice is appreciated and taken into consideration even if it's not followed as strictly as the laws of physics. I hope folks on this forum are not like that.
Anyway, guess I'll go browse a bit and see what I can learn. -Tim