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.
I started beekeeping when I was 15 years old. I got a hive for christmas from my aunt and uncle. I have since then maintained between 3 and 8 hives until about 8 years ago. I am returning to beekeeping at 32 years of age with 4 top bar hives. 3 at my home, one at my friend's house. Its really his hive that I am building for him and I am helping him get started in beekeeping.
Not an oldtimer, but I have more than a few years experience.
>> ..and don't get me started about the internet. You can't blindly trust ANYTHING you read on the internet.
And this is different from any other media exactly how? The Internet is no worse, and no better, than any other source. You're right that a lot of people seem willing to blindly trust what they read, but that trait isn't limited to the Internet. For example, just because something is reported in the paper pages of Bee Culture, I am not going to blindly trust it. I will consider it, compare it with other sources, and make up my own mind.
Sorry for the strong reaction, but it irritates me when people imply that all the information you see on the Internet is somehow useless or tainted. It's a source, like other sources. What you see must be vetted in the same way as information from anywhere else.
You may argue that information in traditional printed publications is subject to an editorial review, and is therefore more reliable. While this is true, you have to consider the quality of the editorial review. I have to say that some of the material in the two big US beekeeping magazines is of very low quality in terms of factual accuracy, quality of writing, and usefulness. Some of it, of course, is excellent.
Just like material on the Internet.
My mentor is similar to Dragonflys'. He is about 74 and loves his bees. He's a very gentle man of few words but has lots of experience. I don't see him much anymore, but I do know he tries new things as evidenced by the aluminum? foundation I found in one of the brood boxes I bought from him.
What's really fun, is when he listens to some of the things I do or have heard of and seems interested in trying them. He once told me he was proud of me for sticking to it--I imagine he had a lot of people starting out with bees but as someone mentioned earlier, the average time period for someone sticking with bees is 5 years.
by the way--when I first started I was a very pregnant 36 year old.