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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    Default What do you like the MOST about your beekeeping org?

    Other than the social aspects, what do you like the most about your local beekeeping organization? We are in the process of starting up a new association in our area and, while we have a list of potential benefits to members, we are, of course, biased by our own interests and would like some suggestions from other beekeepers as to how the group can best serve it's members.

    I guess, conversely, it would be useful to also know what you do NOT like about your association- maybe we can avoid the same mistakes, lol.

    Thanks in advance for your input.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Greensboro, N.C.


    #1...Acceptance and assistance concerning new members. In ours you will feel like you have been there forever, the first visit.

    #2...Education is priority. We have a speaker every month. Whether it be a queen breeder, allergy doctor, college research professor, ETC., or one of our members, we always have someone giving a presentation on something concerning bees and beekeeping.

    #3...Having the older beeks willing to be contacted for help between meetings. I have never heard of one of our senior members turning down a request for help or info from a newbie.

    #5...New info being brought up be any member reading, seeing, or hearing of new information, and the welcoming of such info.

    #6...Camaraderie...I have never met a group as friendly as our club. I have never witnessed or heard of a short answer or other snide remark from any member. They are just a great group of people.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    lewisberry, Pa, usa



    I belong to two county clubs. Let me give you my take on each.

    Club #1,

    They are very active. So active with a week long state farm show, agriculture events, short courses, Keystone livestock expo, county days, 4-H programs, and so on. And while I think clubs should promote, and be active in the community, this club meetings borders on "recruitment hours" as they are always looking for a volunteer for this, and a volunteer for that. For the retired guy that can take time off almost every month to some extent, its no big deal. But for the members who just want some fellowship with beekeepers, its quite a schedule of events that makes you feel like your not doing your part.

    Club #2,
    Is 12 or 14 guys who somehow feel that geting out of the house one night a month is the primary reason to belong to the club. Of these 12 guys, 8 are old-timers, with a few dozing off by the time the meetings end.
    I could go on and on, detailing whats wrong with each. Both clubs to me are missing the boat so to speak.

    If I was to belong to a bike club, I would expect to occassionally ride. If I belonged to a horse club, I would expect to occassionally see a horse. For the many years, in both bee clubs....Want to guess how many beehives I've seen of another beekeeper in conjuction with a meeting or meeting event? ZERO!

    Two things that keeps membership low is the monthly meetings, or lack of. Due to a schedule of events, meetings are not scheduled this month, or that month. And so, sometimes several months go by between meetings. I feel a regular meeting every month would be more helpful for the casual member. Half the times, I can't even remember when the next meeting is.

    Next weekend is my annual picnic. I'll be conducting a paper survey to see what the interest may be for a backyard beekeeping club. No bylaws, no dues, and the like. Just an email list of beekeepers who may want to get together a few times throughout the year to visit someone's apairy, eat some snacks, and have a good time.

    I think there are beekeepers who just want to talk bees, and see what others are doing.

    I know you wanted what I like "MOST". Sorry. But maybe this will help in knowing what not to do..
    Last edited by BjornBee; 07-22-2007 at 04:43 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Bangor, Maine


    We (my girlfriend and I) joined a small club covering two counties here in Maine and the best things are:

    - we meet every month
    - usually have speakers with interesting info
    - everyone is interested and shares
    - old-timers and newbies alike are willing to discuss anything and help each other out, and not just on meeting night
    - the chapter is part of a larger state-wide club

    We have a 3-ring binder that was put together with tons of good info for any age or exprience level beekeeper, and add to it as we find more info. We are putting together a bee school program for next year, and we're putting together some club products to sell at local stores and fairs.

  5. #5


    Last edited by Carolina-Family-Farm; 07-22-2007 at 08:06 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Willington, CT USA


    All that Iddee said and then some. Our club makes it educational and fun. The people are as nice as you could ask for.

    Our club also keeps a few hives. Every month we do something relevant i.e. April we show how to set up the hive and introduce a package of bees.

    Today we did did honey extraction (at the hobbyist level).

    Next we are prepping for our display at the county fair. All members can volunteer and sell their bee/honey products. Packaging and pricing guidelines are established in order to make it educational for the public and fair for everyone in the club (large and small producers).

    In the fall we do mite treatments and prep colonies for winter.

    In Feb our club teaches a 4 night course on bee keeping - open to the public $25 (cost includes 1 year membership in the club). We actually assemble a hive top to bottom and can order bees for the spring.

    Most of all the experienced people listen and answer questions for the new people. I have learned so much from our bee club meetings. I really look forward to going and cant wait for the next.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Worthington, Pennsylvania USA


    Bee meetings are fun and informative. Since no one has talked about a negative I shall. I only have one negative about the bee meetings--beekeepers like to talk too much at times (me included) --seems like the hard of hearing beekeepers sit in the back and then yell that they can't hear!
    While a meeting is in session someone is at the periphery or in a hallway telling a story about a swarm catch or a good joke--very distracting to say the least.
    "Younz" have a great day, I will.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    berkshire county MA


    I think you need some structure to the meetings. At ours there used to be a half dozen people with their own conversations going which was distracting to people trying to discuss one topic as a club. Now many members get there a half hr or so early to shoot the bull. We have part of the meeting scheduled for a specific thing whether it be a speaker, a video or demonstration about a particular pc of equipment, some time after to discuss that specific topic, and a break for coffee and snacks. As long as the person running the meeting keeps the focus it works out fine. When the meeting is officially "over" little groups for to discuss various things and these discussions continue in the parking lot sometimes for an hour or more. We bring bee related items for a raffle at each meeting. This raises enough to put out our monthly newsletter. We have a summer picnic at the club presidents house and we look at his or her hives. We also do a fall banquet with a honey contest for best color and flavor. Many of us meet throughout the month for coffee and bull sessions. The best things about having an orginization is the friendship and everyone's sincere willingness to help each other out. Need some foundation or a queen in a hurry, or a hand moving a hive? Put out the word and someone offers to help. It's great to here the oldtimer's stories and the newcomers questions.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    New Braunfels, TX

    Default San Antonio Beekeepers Association

    --When I first joined our association, I was brand new to the hobby (hobby for me). I hoped to gain insights in practical beekeeping. I was disappointed. The association seemed to be more of a social group. I made a suggestion to the association that we schedule at least one speaker or presentation dedicated to education for each bi-monthly meeting. They agreed and have tried to get members and/or invitees for each meeting. This has been great. I remember one in particular. We had a leading specialist in allergies speak to us about the difference in bee vs. wasp stings, treatment, and immunology. We once had a speaker on apitherapy. We have also had speakers on beekeeping from beginners through professional stages.
    --Our association puts out a bulletin prior to each meeting recapping the last meeting, and including locally written articles on the hobby. We have an agenda for the upcoming meeting.
    --They kept the social aspect, offering a pot-luck meal at each meeting. We have some members who travel a long distance and this is a nice time to schmooz.
    --Consider including a Wanted and For Sale section in your bulletin, if you start one. Use email whenever possible to save on postage. Use your association's buying power for consolidated orders of supplies and package bees or nucs.
    --Set up good ties with your state organization as they can be very helpful with articles that some members may not have access to read. The state org. has also been a source for speaker when the speaker is in our neighborhood on other business.
    --Try to establish some mentors with local experience for those beeks new to the hobby. For those who want to get into the business, this is even more important.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Lincolnton Ga. USA.


    there are no bee clubs here, the closes 2 clubs are 3 counties away in different directions, never been to a bee club meeting before but might go to BillyBobs one day as a guest, oh his is one of those 3 counties away (the west one)

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    South San Ysidro, NM

    Default Bee Association Dislikes

    Unfortunately I do not have much good to say about our state beekeeping association.

    I sent my membership check in a year ago. They responded several months later with an out of date newsletter (the only one I have received) and a welcome note. Then I pestered them for a while to get a login i.d. for the members only section of the website - which I never got and gave up.

    I joined hoping there would be opportunities to make contacts with more experianced beeks etc. To my knowledge the association has an annual event and thats about it.

    The experience has been more frustrating than it is worth. I have since heard from other beeks that I have met through Beesource that have similar views of the association.
    Last edited by Ardilla; 07-23-2007 at 08:06 AM.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Wheatfield, IN


    Encourage people to be accepting of new ideas practices. Doesn't mean you have to agree with them. But be willing to have an open mind.

    There is not only ONE way to do something. There are different approaches, different methods, different ideas about how to get to the same results. I don't care if you've been beekeeping for 30 years or only 2 years. We can all learn from each other.

    Discourage any attempt by a few to dominate the topics and discourage those who attempt to "BEE THE EXPERT" and all other ways are "WRONG"!

    When people feel free to share ideas and ask questions without feeling like others will attack--- then the club will seem inviting and welcoming to those newcomers who just want to learn and share.
    Last edited by Dan Williamson; 07-23-2007 at 11:55 AM.
    Dan Williamson
    B&C Honey Farm

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Central PA


    "My" local club is the same one Bjorn finds boring. He is correct. They have a few meetings in late winter, a short course in May, and a few meetings in fall. The newsletter usually arrives only a few days before the meeting, so not much chance to plan to attend. More notice about meetings, and more speakers would be appreciated.

    I first took their short course about 5 years ago. One of the instructor-club members actually told the group, "There are a lot of new things out there for mites. Don't try them. Just use your medicines on schedule like we tell you." Since then, I've gotten to know lots of members who don't use chemicals, but I was so put off by that comment that I avoided seeking a mentor so that I would not have to listen to them urge me to use chemicals. The club as a group needs to have a more open minded approach to chemical use (or lack of) so that new beeks can find mentors with a similar mindset. (that comment was what caused me to learn small cell & find my own path, but there sure would have been times in the first couple years when it would have been nice to have someone experienced for advice.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    tulsa, oklahoma

    Default dont forget the KIDS!!!

    I am a member of a great beekeeping organization and like alot of the other beeks the fellowship, education, and structure to the the meetings make them very popular and well attended. I have observed many of the beekeepers interested in young peoeple attending the meetings with not much success. We need something for the kids, while not taking away from the adult fellowship. I do not have the answer, but would love to hear some ideas. I encourage you to keep the kids at your meetings in mind.


  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Seattle, Washington State


    All in all, I am thankful for our bee club. It is nice to get out and chat with everyone.

    Our beginers presentation needs to structor and upbeatness. More explaining would be nice for the newbies.

    We di have speakers once a month. However, the topic, I think, should be more toward honeybees during the spring and summer. For example, our club had a talk on bumblebees.... informative I hear but could have waited until winter.

    I would like to see more advanced topics like queen rearing, etc.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Charleston, WV


    I was a member of a club in TN and we met every month, same time, same place. We had talks by members as well as outside speakers. Everyone was friendly and helpful, willing to "come over and have a look" at hives betwen meetings, etc. We were very active in the local fair, etc. It was education and fellowship bundled together.

    I am now a member of a local club and it is quite the opposite. We meet on Saturday mornings, typical family time, for a 2 hour rambling mess of a meeting where we rarely learn anything. Folks generally grumble and complain so fellowship is not great. Meetings are every 2 or 3 months so attendance is as random as the meeting schedule. A few of us have tried to suggest some changes but to no avail. I hate to moan about a fellow beekeepers but I have found us, as a group, to be the some of the most friendly as well as some of the most unfriendly people around...

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Princeton, West Virginia

    Default Some great comments on clubs

    I see a little of my club in most of the posts, Good and Bad. I think you have information to start a good organization. Our bee club did not have much structure until the current president took office. We have reelected him for 2 more terms. Structure is important for the organization.

    Our president calls the meeting to order on time and ends it on time. If someone gets to telling a story he brings us back on topic quickly. After the business of the association is covered we normally have a speaker from either the club or a visiting speaker. We also try to have information for the new beekeeper, and new ideas for the old beekeeper. We follow up with a social time with coffee cookies etc.

    We are fortunate that the local extension service has adopted us as one of their support groups. This provides us with a meeting place and a central focus point

    Problems I see are; a few members believe that new beekeepers hurt their sales. I feel that the local honey market is a long way from saturation here in the US. Another problem is the acceptance of new ideas.

    Overall I think they are a good group, several different groups of us get together during the month to socialize or assist with bee chores.

    We meet on the first Monday of each month except Oct thru December and sometimes in July we don't have a meeting if the board feels that there isn't a pressing problem that need discussed.
    What I Smoke has a Sting to it

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2007


    Get to pick the brains of many beeks without having to search all over to find them and the oppertunity to make new and lasting freindships.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2007

    Smile club

    beeks clubs are like any other the person to mold it to your likes is in the mirror
    "Wine is a constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy" Ben Franklin

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    White County, Arkansas

    Big Grin

    I'm currently a member of a state and two local clubs. One club I have not made many meetings due to distance and the other is much closer (driving time) and is on the way home. I hear from the plant board more than I hear from the state club.

    The club I frequent supports a beekeeping training session as does the other one (which is where I was trained). My kids come with me and are always made to feel welcome and they've even told me they are starting to enjoy going. We have a variety of topics each month concerning beekeeping in the area as well as what goes on outside of the area. One member has been to Africa for a couple months and worked with beeks in Kenya. He shared a home video with us that he made while there. WOW!!! The members are always willing to give advise and share experiences. I just wish I was able to get to the other clubs meetings more. I always learn something. My kids will talk with me on the half hour drive home about what was discussed, stories told, videos shown and equipment demonstrated and what they saw as a problem about how bees were handled.

    They just proof read this for me to verify my memory is, for the moment, intact. Since they're home sick I might as well use them.

    I really don't have a gripe about the local clubs, one I have no right to weigh a negative and the other has been good. I just hope none of them read this!! LOL!


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