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Fall clean-up: it’s time to check the honey and your money

Fall clean-up: it’s time to check the honey and your money

September 16, 2019

Fall clean-up: it’s time to check the honey and your money

I am a beekeeper.  I started my apiary earlier this year with two hives, and I am hoping that one day I will be able to share honey with my friends and family while I learn about these amazing creatures.  The experience has been fascinating.

I feel like a new father -trying to learn as much as I can and doing my very best, yet realizing I am making a few mistakes.  The Connecticut Beekeepers Association has been a great help, offering workshops and training, and I am a proud graduate of Bee School.

A honeybee colony is very organized, and the bees really do have everything under control.  However, the first winter is the most challenging for a new hive, and it is very important to check the hive before it gets too cold. 

Earlier today I did 3 things, and in the process, I realized how these simple steps apply to individuals and retirement plan participants in managing their finances, as much as it does for the well-being of my bees.


Visual Inspection

First, I began with a visual inspection, where I removed the cover on the top of the hive and checked the comb and activity.  The queens from each hive were very busy this summer, as most of the frames were full.  This was a good sign, and I repositioned them to maximize warmth when the temperature begins dropping. 

Consider making a visual inspection of your finances, too.  The quarter is ending soon, which makes this an ideal time to review your balance sheet and financial plan.  Can you remember the last time you checked the beneficiaries on your retirement plan or life insurance policies? 

Today there are many online financial aggregation tools that you can use, or simply just organize all your quarterly statements in a binder.


Check for Mites

The next thing I did was check for mites.  The Varroa mite is a parasitic mite that attacks and feeds on the honeybees.  It attaches to the body of the bee and weakens it by sucking away nutrients the bees need to survive.  It is important to treat the hive for mites, as a significant infestation will lead to the death of a honeybee colony. 

Varroa mites have a cousin in finance that can cause disaster, too – the automatic deduction.  You know, the payments you make for the gym membership you never use, or the music service that you never remembered to cancel.  They were so easy to set-up, yet these seemingly small expenses sap the life from your net income. Removing them can have a significant impact on your finances. 

Consider reducing or removing these parasitic expenses and putting the money towards your savings or other long-term goals.


Supplement the Hive

The final thing I did was supplement the hive.  Since my hives are relatively new, and have produced very little honey, the chances of surviving a cold winter are not good without my help.  I placed a liquid feed outside the hive and a solid feed inside.  The point is that a little extra makes a big difference. 

Have you thought of how you can supplement your finances?  Time and again people tell me that saving money, particularly in their company’s retirement plan, is just not possible because there is nothing left from their paychecks after all the bills have been paid. 

This may be true, however there are options to consider.  Perhaps you can work overtime or get a part-time job.  Maybe it is time to ask for a raise, or begin training for a new position, and directing these additional sources of income for savings or debt reduction.


Applied together these 3 simple steps, will get you and my hives through some stormy weather, and next year we should enjoy some honey and more money.

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