4/16/12

The joy of mentoring


Yesterday's mentoring crew.


LA Backwards Beekeeper Summer writes:

I wanted to share what a great thing it can be to mentor new beekeepers. They are excited, happy to learn, and love to ask questions. I was a mentee for a long time. I came with Kirk to examine his and my hives every Sunday for over a year. After about 6 months, I started to learn a little about manipulations, moving frames up into different boxes, etc. I made some mistakes. I had a lot of fun! And now, I am a mentor.

Opportunities have presented themselves lately so I have been able to make splits, remove honey, and do cut-outs and trap-outs. I feel it is a whole new level of beekeeping, definitely a step up from going, "Is that honey, or brood?!"

My confidence around bees has definitely been built by being around them every week. Having the chance to see the yearly changes in a hive opens your eyes to what's normal, and you start to notice things immediately when they're off. You become more attuned to the hives. Especially significant is having the opportunity to look in 4 different hives each week - mostly, they're in different stages. There's been fixes we had to do, drone layers to replace, swarms that left an empty hive, ant problems - you just don't get to solve all those problems with one hive at home! Plus, all 4 queens are different and beautiful.

I encourage anyone who's been beekeeping awhile to take a new beekeeper under your wing - chances are, they know less than you do, and you can always learn together.

This week, Kirk and I had several mentees - Michael, Marc, Valerie, Sherrell, and Apple! We got to see a queen in my small hive, split a cut-out Kirk and I had taken yesterday and see a capped queen cell in there, shake some bees into a nuc box to beef it up, and explore Val's hive for eggs. None yet, still waiting...



Apple holds up a frame from a recent cut-out that still has string and masking tape on it.


Kirk and Val look for Val's Queen - or at least some eggs...



Val's bees with some beautiful color variations.



Great view of a queen cell that has been capped since yesterday - we got these from a cut-out. Apple held the frame so I could take the picture - that girl is fearless!


Kirk and I do mentoring in Los Feliz every Sunday. Contact Kirk if you'd like to join us, and we'll show you around a hive (or 4). Please have your veil, gloves, and bee suit with you!

—Summer

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