I've been debating whether I should post this or not and finally decided maybe you all could learn something from it.
I live in a house and on some property where there used to be a sawmill. Someone that knew the mill owners stopped by today looking for the old owners. I wasn't able to help them but they did notice my smoker, and beesuit I had left on the porch about an hour prior to their arrival. We started talking bees.
One fellow was probably in his upper 60's the other in his 50's I guess. The older fellow mentioned he was given a lot of old equipment.I told him that's great if you can get it checked or know for sure whether the previous owner medicated for American Foul Brood. They both asked me what that was. I casually asked how long this older man had been keeping bees. "20 years, off and on."
After I mentally picked my jaw up off the ground I explained to them what AFB was. The younger fellow mentioned that some of the boxes did smell while he was cleaning them up. Then I asked them where they were located, hoping it was far away. Thankfully, I think it is far enough.
We talked more and the younger man, who had been keeping bees for only a couple of years, continued with his questions. He has one hive that keeps swarming-issueing up to 6 or 7 swarms last year and at least 4 already this year. After much quizzing I'm guessing it's because they have never reversed the two brood boxes the bees are in.(he'd never heard of doing that either)
During the course of our 45 minute conversation I used humor and gently chided them and encouraged them to get a book about bees-suggesting "The Beekeepers Handbook."
("oh yeah, we've seen that at Kelley's.")
As they were leaving the younger fellow said he wished he lived closer so he could learn more-he did learn a lot today! I thought I'm glad you don't , especially if you have AFB hives!
They were aware of the varroa mite. But as they left I was wondering how many more of these types of beekeepers are out there and how can we educate them? I realize first they have to want to learn-and maybe that is the main problem there. Maybe they like just living in bliss.