Becoming a beekeeper can be daunting at first. You learn a lot about bees, hives, queens, mites, diseases in class and more hands on at the field day. you think you’re all set. You’re READY! But, like a couple bringing home their first born child, a billion questions pop up when you open that hive the first time, alone, by yourself. “Am I doing this right?”, “The bees are not cooperating”, “Is there a problem with my hive?”, “Should I be feeding?
The mentoring program connects new beekeepers with experienced beekeepers to help answer these questions and help get them through the first few years keeping bees.
Mentoring can range from just answering questions on the phone or email, to visiting the apiary (if needed) to see the issue first hand.
By having a mentor, the new beekeeper, has a source that is familiar with their operation and past issues, so that each question or encounter, they are not explaining from scratch to each different person they attempt to call. Not only do they have someone to call, they are not embarrassed or put off calling, thinking they are bothering someone.
Being a mentor is not just rewarding to the new beekeeper. The experience makes you look at how your doing or not doing things that help your hives and raise your level of awareness in your own hives. I always seem to come across something that I have to say ”let me look into that and get back to you” or “wow i have no idea let me ask around”. Depending on how many newbees you’re helping, it multiplies your experience without multiplying your bee yard. It definitely makes me a better beekeeper.
We are looking for experienced beekeepers to volunteer to be mentors. If you are an existing beekeeper, even if you just competed one year, you have something to offer. You really have learned a ton of information to share. You just don’t realize it. Call or email a board member for details.
If you are a new beekeeper and would like a mentor please join the FCBA, come to a meeting or just call a mentor on the list below. Please try to contact the mentor nearest to your apiary.
- Jon Deardorff
- Richard Paine
- Timothy Weller
- Brian Shuhart