I have mentioned previously that one of the first things I was told on my beekeeping course was that in any discussion between two beekeepers there will be at least three suggestions about how best to do something.
And there is no denying the essential truth in that observation – there are many sources of information available for the beginner (intermediate and experienced) beekeeper. No longer is this advice just limited to books and association newsletters, but now multiplied by the power of the interweb into a global knowledge-base.
The problem is that many of these sources differ on the advice they give about any one process or technique. It is fair enough to imagine that some ideas and approaches would and should differ for beekeepers in Africa say, to those in the colder climes of northern Europe. Or for many other examples of genuine difference necessitated by things like forage, threats and pests. The real issue is deciding between all the different approaches when the advice relates directly to the circumstances under which you keep bees – the opinions will still be abundant and they will vary, from small differences in the details right around the spectrum, to directly contradictory techniques – Do this, versus, never do that!
So for the beginner, the big question is more often, not How do I do this? As it is, Which of the various ways of doing this suggested to me do I use?
And there is no authority to turn to*, no one to make a final ruling. All you can do is read all the contradictory advice, assimilate all the slight variations in method and try to tread a middle way, and discover for yourself whether that approach to that particular operation works for your bees in their situation.
*okay, so this is not necessarily true, if you have joined your local BBKA branch they will almost certainly have assigned you a mentor who can answer most of your questions from their own personal experience. The problem is that the way each beekeeper does things is often based on what works best for them, rather than any absolute correct way to do it, and so we loop back round to the point I made initially.