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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Altamont, NY USA
    Posts
    91

    Default Frustrated Beekeeping Mentor

    I'm feeling like the worst mentor in history. But I don't know what I could have done differently!

    I was asked by my bee club to mentor an 11 year old boy and his family in beekeeping. I was thrilled to do it.

    My husband and I have helped them through every stage, from assembling the hive in December, to helping them install the bees, showing them how to do inspections, and helping them to harvest some honey.

    However, one thing I noticed - this is a very busy family, And somewhat disorganized. Every time we went up there, it seemed like they had misplaced equipment, etc., so we couldn't always do things the way I thought they should be done. They lost the hive tool, a queen excluder, a smoker, etc.

    And, the boy has just lost interest. The only time they go in the hive is when my husband and I contact them, and say, hey, would you like us to inspect the hive with you? They never go in it themselves, and never call us with any questions, etc.

    We went up there about a month ago, and suggested they put on the entrance reducer (which they lost, so that didn't happen), and to put out some wasp traps, because there were several around the hive. Then, we had them over to do some extracting, which was a really nice time.

    We went up there today, and the hive is a disaster. It probably won't survive the winter. It is under terrible attack by wasps, and has been robbed out, with many dead bees.

    They hadn't even looked at the hive in a MONTH. I'm going to help them try to save it, but all I could think was "why didn't you at least look at it and call me????".

    My husband says not to feel bad - that a mentor is there to answer questions and help, not to do the work for them. But I still feel like I failed somehow.

    Has anyone else mentored someone like this? Was I unrealistic? Not do enough?

    Thanks!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,639

    Default Re: Frustrated Beekeeping Mentor

    my opinion is that you have already gone above and beyond the call of duty.

    if the family hasn't got to the point of being able to care of the hive by now, i don't think they ever will.

    i would offer to buy it from them for a very reasonable price, (maybe less the time you have spent on it), or see if they want to donate to a more deserving home.

    i would not spend any more time of my own on it for them.

    just my 2 cents.

    and i'm not that bad of a person, really.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,308

    Default Re: Frustrated Beekeeping Mentor

    yeah, I'd offer them 25-50 cents on the dollar on it, just for the equipment, as the bees like you said may not make it thru the winter. They obviously no longer care. "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink."
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,787

    Default Re: Frustrated Beekeeping Mentor

    You are a mentor to assist them with their beehives. Stay home and wait for them to call you, instead of you calling them all the time. These are not your bees to be worrying about.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  5. #5

    Default Re: Frustrated Beekeeping Mentor

    One of the neat things about doing classes is that at the end of the season there’ll be several folks who are serious……and they far overshadow the majority who don’t get bitten by‘the bug’. And really, most do lose interest. So, if you do it one on one you can expect more failures than successes….but those successes will feed your spirit.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Palermo, Maine, USA
    Posts
    731

    Default Re: Frustrated Beekeeping Mentor

    It sounds to me that they really are not into beekeeping. Were they the force behind starting this, or did perhaps someone in the club talk them into it? Maybe it is time to re-evaluate their commitment.
    Like us on facebook This is the place to bee!
    Ralph

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,097

    Default Re: Frustrated Beekeeping Mentor

    Quote Originally Posted by RayMarler View Post
    You are a mentor to assist them with their beehives. Stay home and wait for them to call you, instead of you calling them all the time. These are not your bees to be worrying about.
    I agree. The failing is not with your mentorship. Wait until it occurs to THEM that this hive is no longer of any interest. Then, do as you will.
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    6,015

    Default Re: Frustrated Beekeeping Mentor

    These people will never successfully keep bees.

    Looks like they will lose the hive to wasps because they failed to take your advice to put on an entrance guard. They lost it? If they were interested in the bees they could have made another. But they are not interested, unless you do everything for them.

    Personally I wouldn't offer to buy the hive. They'll get to thinking they did you a favor.

    Tell them that because they did not take your advise the hive is now in danger of being wiped out. Emphasise it is THEIR fault, you DID tell them what to do. Advise them what they now need to do, and walk away.

    No doubt they won't do it and the hive will die. If they ever come back to you offer advice by phone but don't go there unless asked. If you go there don't do any work for them make them do it and stand there telling them how. Then say what they have to do next but only go back if invited, and maybe mention there are other things you could be doing with your time.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,514

    Default Re: Frustrated Beekeeping Mentor

    I do not want to add more sour to your story, but it seems to me, you just did too much for them - THEY should call you and ask for help. If people are so irresponsible, why you should worry more than they are? Another thing - sometime we have a tendency to "overmentor" - it may be overwhelming especially for the boy. I personally would talk to them and explain to them your frustration. Tell them, how you feel - reasonable people could change the course, unreasonable - they just do not deserve your time. I would not buy anything from them, but I would offer to try to find the new home for their bees (kind of late)... Good luck!
    Серёжа, Sergey

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Chester Co, PA, USA
    Posts
    269

    Default Re: Frustrated Beekeeping Mentor

    Actuslly, IHO, The clue is in the 1st sentence "an 11 year old boy". No eleven year old boy I know should be the starting stimulus for beekeeping unless another family member is ready to take responsibility for it when (not if) he looses interest. As A Cub scout camp counselor for 6 years and the director for 4 years, and Mother of 3, I have known A LO of boys! this was a loss just waiting to happen. With luck, the family learned an expensive lesson.
    Meridith

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    S Hadley, Massachusetts USA
    Posts
    690

    Default Re: Frustrated Beekeeping Mentor

    My theory on mentoring is that I am here to guide not to do.

    I never call my clients. I let them go and they can contact me at anytime and I will gladly be there to "guide" them

    I dont take mentoring personally either. So many new beeks have it all figured out anyways (sarcasm). Just yesterday I had a client call looking for a mated queen. I replied "its October" Queen rearing season is long since past. He told me differently. I asked "why do you have a failing queen or queenless situation?" He said no I wanted to try wintering nucs. "Seriously?.....you are going to split a hive now?

    What ever.

    But then there are sweet people who just love to talk about thier bees and jump at the chance to visit one of my out yards to shadow.
    Pearl City Apiary Michael and Loucil Bach

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,759

    Default Re: Frustrated Beekeeping Mentor

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Personally I wouldn't offer to buy the hive. They'll get to thinking they did you a favor.
    I think you are right here.
    If the eleven year old boy lost interest, wellllllll, he lost interest. I am thankful it wasn't a puppy. Let nature take over and I wouldn't make an offer on the equipment. They might think that was your original intention.
    A good mentor is a teacher not a doer.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    owensboro,ky
    Posts
    2,240

    Default Re: Frustrated Beekeeping Mentor

    "...I dont take mentoring personally either. So many new beeks have it all figured out anyways (sarcasm). Just yesterday I had a client call looking for a mated queen. I replied "its October" Queen rearing season is long since past. He told me differently. I asked "why do you have a failing queen or queenless situation?" He said no I wanted to try wintering nucs. "Seriously?.....you are going to split a hive now? ..."

    I get that a lot . The last few it seems just KEPT saying "yeah,I know"
    "Wine is a constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy" Ben Franklin

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kaysville, Utah, USA
    Posts
    392

    Default Re: Frustrated Beekeeping Mentor

    You sound like a fine mentor to me. It seems that the people you're mentoring got into beekeeping on a whim and their hearts just aren't into it. I wouldn't worry about it.
    Don't provoke a hive full of angry bees.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Schenectady County, NY
    Posts
    80

    Default Re: Frustrated Beekeeping Mentor

    Ignoring the fact that the mentee was an 11 year boy, and since there were parents involved as well, well, my 5 cents would be - where is a will there is a way. I had a great help from my mentor, but I think I also showed great interest myself, if I couldn't do few things myself, well then I asked for help. I was later involved in mentoring somebody and realized that I am expected to visit mentee's hives but they won't visit it without me, nor they would attend available classes. Should I feel bad for not being able to go to them when they decide they need to check their hives ? Once again, first do it yourself, it is your responsibility in the first place, not your mentor's !
    Don't feel bad, if these people are not comfortable or organized enough to work with the hives there is nothing you can do.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Freeland, Washington, USA
    Posts
    107

    Default Re: Frustrated Beekeeping Mentor

    A mentors job is to be a resource of information that can be tapped. The age of the mentee or the business of the family is irrelevant. IF they truly wanted to have a hive, they would have availed themselves of your hard earned knowledge.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Livermore, CA
    Posts
    1,403

    Default Re: Frustrated Beekeeping Mentor

    Its not your fault, at all. You did what you could under your power. People sometimes take on something to be cool or just to have it, then soon lose interest when the newness wears off. Not everyone is cut out to be a beekeeper, its not something you can take all your friends and family down to see, like a horse for example. Not a lot of people like bees, just like I hate snakes! If you want to show me your pet python, thats nice, just keep it in the cage!!

    As for offering to take the hive...............its a catch 22. Sure it would be nice to have the extra equipment, but when the hive is back to normal are they suddenly going to want it back for another try?
    Coyote Creek Bees

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,639

    Default Re: Frustrated Beekeeping Mentor

    from steveng:

    >"You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink."

    to that i would add:

    "if you give a man a fish, you feed him for the day, if you teach a man to fish, you enable to feed himself and others".
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,936

    Default Re: Frustrated Beekeeping Mentor

    This current fad for keeping bees for pets will slowly wane away and there will be millions of dead hives available for pennies on the dollar or rotting away in back yards.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,759

    Default Re: Frustrated Beekeeping Mentor

    If this turns true, all the bee equipment suppliers will go belly up. I don't think they are worried.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

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