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Thread: Mentors

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Pueblo, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    686

    Default Mentors

    I ran into the beekeeper I used to rent bees from to pollinate our water melons and he offered to let my son and myself follow behind while he inspects 500 hives that are going to be shipped to California for almond pollination. During the course of our lengthy chat he was telling me how horrible varroa, SHB, and tracheal mites have been this season and how much he had to spend on treatments for his bees to which I replied I had started out treatment free and planned on staying that way. He told me he would accept no failures when it comes to beekeeping and not treating was unacceptable and I told him I had to expect losses, even a total loss, at the beginning to start out correctly. We argued for a while until I told him I just wanted to see how he inspected and how he was prepping his hives for the trip to California. The biggest thing that bothered me is that his apiary is 3 miles from my apiary so we have at least a 1 mile overlap in our respective apiaries foraging range. Even though this guy is adamantly pro-treatment there is so much I can learn from him, up to and including which treatments are out there, what they are used for, and when and how they are administered. Even though I don't plan on using treatments it surely can't hurt knowing about them not to mention his 35 years of experience vs my 1 year. This fellow did hire me to help load tractor - trailers with hives as his son is ill so during the morning I expect to tag along on 250 inspections before I start loading skids of hives onto trailers.

    The guy seems very willing to be my mentor but he is very adamant about me treating my bees. I am equally adamant in the opinion of not treating my bees. There is no doubt this beekeeper has been very successful, he has 1500 hives and doesn't lose much in the winter. I do see friction between he and I on the treatment issue though. We'll see if he is reasonable enough to lay off when he understands Im not going to budge on the treatment issue. Hopefully this point of contention won't interfere with a working relationship because I don't have any issues helping him to administer treatments to HIS bees even though its not how I plan on doing things.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    moravia,ny
    Posts
    1,208

    Default Re: Mentors

    It's kinda hard to argue with succes vs beginner knowledge. go with him to understand his program to gain experence then you can judge better.his experence in beekeeping probably is more valueable than you understand. the odds of you being treatment free reduce your chance of survival. good luck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,079

    Default Re: Mentors

    Fantastic opportunity, I wish I had that opportunity when I first tried to keep bees. I may not have turned out treatment-free, but who knows.

    Watch and learn and figure out how you want to do your own thing. But learn everything, including how others do it so you can formulate a plan you think may work better.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    3,019

    Default Re: Mentors

    I am also very new. I see there are a lot of choices that must be made concerning the care of bees. No two people will make exactly the same series of choices. I am pretty sure that with his experience and the gravity of his responsibilities concerning bees. His choices are intelligent ones. Remember he has a lot of work and a lot of other people counting on him to do his part. I think in that situation I would also use every tool at my disposal. I am a back yard keeper and will likely only own two hives for now. I can tolerate total losses due to "Farting Around" with other methods. I honestly suspect that is how most experienced beekeepers see treatment free methods.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Buttonwillow, CA USA
    Posts
    31

    Default Re: Mentors

    You'll find there is a huge difference in attitude towards bees between hobbyist and commercial beekeepers. To the hobbiest, they are almost like pets. To the commercial guys, they are like cattle. You cannot afford to not treat if that has proven to keep your colonies alive and producing. The hobbiest has the 'luxury' of going without treatment, and dealing with a possible total loss, the commercial guys do not. I'm not saying that commercial beekeepers do not appreciate the bees, just in a different way.

    In the end, you can't argue with success!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,079

    Default Re: Mentors

    Quote Originally Posted by mjtracy View Post
    ...you can't argue with success!
    But you can go by a different definition.

    Speaking of mentors, always take the opportunity to gain advice and wisdom, even if you don't plan on using it. You can learn good advice from bad, sometimes just from the tone.

    Beesource offers more than you an assimilate off all the types.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

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