Role of Mentors in Learning to Keep Bees
If there is one thing you will hear from all of us about learning how to keep bees - you can watch all of the videos, read all of the books, make all of the woodenware and think you are ready - and then the bees will start their lifelong lessons.
To successfully learn to keep bees, one of the critical components is to find a mentor, someone who is willing to take you under their wing, answer your questions, take you out to the apiary and show you bees on the frames, have you assist them in making splits, do inspections - all of that hands on beekeeping that is hard to pick up in class or even just watching videos.
However, you as a beginning beekeeper need to do some preparations. Learn the language, have the basic equipment, open up a hive a few times. That's why we recommend starting with a bee buddy, someone who is starting when you are. You can then compare notes, share information, visit each other's hives and double the learning curve by observing and sharing what you see your bees doing.
Once you have some basic familiarity and comfort with bees, you are ready for a mentor. Find someone who lives close by, then you can pop into each other's apiaries. A mentor is someone with several years more experience than you have, who is willing to outline a training plan for you and work with you to build up your skills.
Being a mentor is also a wonderful way to learn, because you have problem-solving as well as thinking through what information you already know.
Can't Find a Mentor?
Take pictures, share on Facebook. bring to club meetings and ask, we can all benefit from looking at what your bees are doing and trying to identify a behavior.