Mentoring is overrated. When involved with someone at a bee meeting and they want me to come by to show them I will, a few times. At the next meeting I’ll ask them how the bees are. If they say they haven’t checked since the last time I was there I ask them if they read any books if they say no and they want some more help sorry I’m very busy and don’t have time. It’s not too hard to tell who is serious or not.
I’m really not that serious
I knew what the end of the story was as soon as you started it -- you did fine, probably did more than you really should have, but an 11 year old boy typically has the attention span of a gnat on a hot plate. Don't despair -- it's sad to see a hive die out when you know what would have taken care of it, but it's not yours and you will teach a better lesson by just waiting for them to call.
If they don't, well, you needn't worry about it. Who knows, in a few more years the boy might decide he wants to keep bees again, and this time don't do any of the work, let him do it all and ask you what to do when he can't figure it out.
You will, I think, find other people to mentor who will really be interested, and that will be very rewarding. You do have to tolerate millions of repetitious questions though. All new beeks, even those with lots of "book learning" are going to have no hands on knowledge and endless questions that have fairly obvious answers. I certainly did, but I should have had someone look at the hive more, I'd have saved that first one from starvation.
Good luck -- some lucky new beek is going to get a real jumpstart on beekeeping from you someday!
funny, that's what happened to me.....
journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives
uh, I thought real men drink beer and fish?
"If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow
So many excellent points made above.
BTW, I want someone to design a beesuit that lets me work the hives AND drink beer at the same time. It will require a specially-designed veil.
I'm a writer, and almost everyone who finds out says they want to write a book. I used to always offer my help, until I realized that 99% of the people were unwilling to even sit down and type. Same with your mentorship and bees. Sounds like they wanted you to do all the work so they could just sit back and enjoy the bees. I agree that you should try to get the bees/hive/equipment for your own. Do it for the beezers, and let these people find another "hobby."
[QUOTE=BTW, I want someone to design a beesuit that lets me work the hives AND drink beer at the same time. It will require a specially-designed veil.[/QUOTE]
That is available already:
The add specifies water, but you can cheat.
Only $30 from Target: http://www.target.com/p/h2o-ripcord-...water backpackthe removable 2-liter Cyclone bladder provides easy access to hydrating liquids with a patented no-leak, high-flow bite valve.
The "bite valve" means you control the flow "hands free"! And since it holds 2 liters of beer you can have a real buzz while inspecting your hives.
USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft
People like to try new things, and some things work out. Some things don't! It is quite possible that the 11 year old expressed an interest in bees that, upon his actually experiencing bees and beekeeping, did not blossom into a passion. It is also very possible that his parents killed the interest through something I see a lot, which is a parent who both lacks the understanding of when to step in and support the kid in a new learning curve, and pressures the child to excel. The subtext ends up reading something like "get this right and do me proud, or I will be upset...oh, and this cost a bundle of money, so don't screw up". Or to put that another way, things are all about them, not the child.
Finally, and I am just putting this out there...the chronic disorganization and foggy communications are typical of families in which alcohol or some other large issue is a problem. Sounds like the family system is stressed out for some reason and just could not take on that one more thing, including a stranger in the house seeing how they roll.
I'm sure you did what you could and more. Maybe your expectations were too high or too attatched to results. Not your fault.
Squeak Creek Apiaries
I help a family started out with two hives of brand new equipment and package bees that I sold to them. In all the spent $500 on the bees and equipment. During the first two months they had only inspected the hives once each. They were very strong, duoble deeps and I was impressed. The family seemed to want to get rid of the so I just randomly offered them $100 each for the hives. They said, "They're yours!" So I moved them to my best yard, and got three supers of honey from each hive this fall. I would just offer them a reasonable price, and get the hive off their hands.
Benjamin Schneider - http://prairiewindbeesupply.webs.com/
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.
All 11 year old boys are not the same. I know some 11 year old boys that have done some amazing things and stuck with hobbies started at younger ages right thru adults. Now this may not be typically but I would not throw all 11 year old boys under the bus just because of their age.
I mentored a group who will remain nameless here. I had great hopes of promoting beekeeping through this group. We set up an apiary and I elicited donations of bees and equipment from various bee suppliers and had a sign made up acknowledging their largesse. Even though the apiary is at least a 2-hr drive from my home, I gave the standard NC State Beekeepers short course in beekeeping and spent several days at the apiary instructing as to work that needs to be done over the course of the year. My instructions were never followed and there were at least 3 visits that I made that were to undo the problems that arose since the bees had been ignored or worked improperly. I was in constant state of worry for those poor bees from the onset and to be truthful, when the cool weather set in in this area this year I just let go of the project and convinced myself to refuse to worry about it any more. I'm pretty sure that if there are any bees left at this point that they won't make it through the winter. I initially was blaming myself, but I've comem to the conclusion I've done all that I can. You should do the same.
People are buying bees with less regard than they buy goldfish, kittens and puppies. My experience from the '70s bee boom and posts here indicate that most of this equipment, bees long one, will soon be for sale at pennies on the dollar, or free even. When everybody you chat with gleefully exclaims "Oh we are thinking of getting some bees" you know the world has turned upside down.
Needed for goldfish - bowl, flakes, net, water.
Puppies - collar, leash, bowl, kibble, brush, water, pooper scooper
Kittens - bowl, cans, kibble, water.
BEES - well, you know the list as well as I do....Plus knowledge, training, common sense, reading, studying... a lot more than pets.
OdFrank, the hardest part of my first year was the neighbours. They turned out to be very fussed about the bees, very controlling and negative, intensely conventional. Which is astonishing, as you would never know the bees were even in our yard if you could not see them. Our patio table is maybe 20'-25' away from the hive, and honestly, we never noticed one there or in the house (aside from ones that I accidentally carried in on equipment). Nonetheless, that negativity really takes the fun out of beekeeping. I suspect neighbour issues drive a lot of new beekeepers out of the hobby.
Fortunately for me, I have found beeyard space in surrounding agricultural land. Not every urban beekeeper has that option.
I am planning on keeping one hive here at home, but honestly do not expect that to go well from a neighbour point of view.
Then, next spring, you have a private location for that hive.
USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft