I don't think that "conservative" versus
"experimental" approaches can be linked to
age alone, but older hobby beekeepers do
tend to be like older farmers in general,
which is to say "slow to change".
Here's a trick - look for someone who is
at least trying something made of plastic
or styrofoam. If they won't even TRY
something "new", something that is being
pushed in all the catalogs, this means that
they are just plain "set in their ways".
If they have tried "plastic stuff", this
would indicate that they have an open mind.
Given that the typical hobby beekeeper
used to keep bees for about 7 years,
and now the average is only 5 years,
finding anyone who has been keeping bees
for longer is rare enough to make their
views of great value, even if they are
unwilling to "experiment" with "new"
(My source for the "years" is the very
exhaustive surveys of the readers of
"Bee Culture" magazine, surveys that have
been done for over a decade in their current
"everything, including shoe size" format.)
Most beekeepers don't even START keeping
bees until they retire. I'm 45, but I'm still nearly the youngest (known) beekeeper
for roughly 50 miles in all directions.
I learned a lot from older guys. My pitch
was "I'll do the heavy lifting if you will
do the talking." Worked for me, but I don't
blindly trust any one person's views any
more than I would blindly trust any one book.
...and don't get me started about the internet. You can't blindly trust
ANYTHING you read on the internet.
Including this posting.