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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Green,Wisconsin,USA
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    107

    Default Are beekeeping clubs worth it?

    What do you folks think? Are beekeeping clubs informative? We're thinking of forming one, but I've been tangentially involved with one near my hometown and its degenerated into non-stop arguing, really bad advice, and a lot of outside folks trying to exploit people for financial benefit. If you have a successful club, how do you avoid these pitfalls? And what makes a good one work?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Bunker Hill, IL
    Posts
    503

    Default Re: Are beekeeping clubs worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by smith View Post
    What do you folks think? Are beekeeping clubs informative? We're thinking of forming one, but I've been tangentially involved with one near my hometown and its degenerated into non-stop arguing, really bad advice, and a lot of outside folks trying to exploit people for financial benefit. If you have a successful club, how do you avoid these pitfalls? And what makes a good one work?
    both clubs ive been involved in consisted of mostly beeks that were keeping current hives. I dont know how you try to exploit someone for finacial benefit at such a club. It ran most like the other clubs ive been a part in. (jeep club, ham club, bee club, board game club)

    I think local clubs are worth it for new people wanting to come out and actually work bees and see what its all about. You can also arrage club buys on equipment or nucs durring various parts of the season and save on shipping etc.

    I will admit, it can be like around here, lots of very opinionated people... some think they know it all, but for the most part i would call the clubs ive been part of "worth it"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,947

    Default Re: Are beekeeping clubs worth it?

    Bee Clubs work best when there is a purpose to the club; it may be the education of new beekeepers, getting enough money in the treasury to buy an extractor for members to share, having a formal mentoring system. In many areas clubs are a way for people to stay involved in their hobby during the non-season. What is important is that club leadership not allow strong closed minded personalities to take over the club.

    So if a just washed behind the ears new beekeeper attends a club meeting wanting to know about top bar hives and keeping bees without medication, the best course is not to have the crowd appear close minded with a "can't be done message."

    Instead in the above scenario I think it is ok for the older members to say "That is not the way we keep bees and so we can't offer you specific advice - but here are some things for you to think about -how a colony develops, what it is going to need for winter stores, etc" and for the old timers to be ok with someone wanting to raise bees for reasons other than honey production.

    The club should be encouraging of experimentation so long as there is follow through and a reporting method back to the club.

    You're never going to stop the "I could have told you those bees were going to die without mite treatments" type comments. Instead a good club should look at the larger issue - asking the new beekeeper how they intend do deal with mites - are they going to be making/monitoring mite counts? The goal should be teaching the new beekeeper as much about the biology of the honey bee than anything else.

    Of course I've heard things at bee meetings that are out there, even for me. Not every person will find a good beekeeping home in their local club. Not always is it an old way versus new way conflict, but that is many times at the core of the matter. Someone attending a club meeting for the first time might not agree with what they are hearing but they should recognize that local knowledge can be precious and that someone who has been keeping bees and producing honey for 40 years, probably knows a thing or two about bees. Likewise the old timers should recognize that some things about beekeeping don't change - queens laying eggs, being one example.

    Some bee club members are attending for a chance to socialize with other beekeepers; some because of intellectual curiosity about the program/speaker; some just because they like keeping bees and beekeeping, and some, as is often suggested on this forum, may be attending because they are considering starting with bees.

    I think clubs can be very informative. Sometimes there is much chaff to sort through to get the informational gems. On this forum you're not going to get truely local information - I couldn't possibly tell you from Maine what bees are foraging on now in Oklahoma. I can tell you that the wild brambles (Raspberries/Blackberries) are blooming here and that honey bees (and native pollinators) are all over the blossoms.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,664

    Default Re: Are beekeeping clubs worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by smith View Post
    What do you folks think? Are beekeeping clubs informative? We're thinking of forming one, but I've been tangentially involved with one near my hometown and its degenerated into non-stop arguing, really bad advice, and a lot of outside folks trying to exploit people for financial benefit. If you have a successful club, how do you avoid these pitfalls? And what makes a good one work?
    U belong to the beesource club. How would u answer your questions w/ that in mind? Safety in numbers. Potential aid when u need it. On hand advice. Mentorship. Comradery. Find a meeting hall and put the word out. If enough interest is out there they will come. Then u figure out organization.

    What makes a good one work? Just like any organization. The folks that do the work. The 20%, if that. The maintaining of respect amongst the participants. Promotion of mutually interesting topics. Setting a specific day of the month to met and keeping it. So people can plan for it. Field trips and demonstrations. Simple stuff at first.

    Then again, the best club I have belonged to met at a Chinese Buffet Restaurant, no dues, no officers, no newletter, no guest speakers, no field trips. Just someone to call the other beekeepers and set a time when most could make it. Talked bees, of course. But talked about other stuff too.
    Mark Berninghausen To combat Ebola, please consider supporting http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org


  5. #5

    Default Re: Are beekeeping clubs worth it?

    I was asked to be the VP for our local one. For me it is passing on the Knowledge that I have pick up here. Our club at this time is geared more for the beginner. I Visited a club to the south that I did some learning.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    East Peoria, IL
    Posts
    398

    Default Re: Are beekeeping clubs worth it?

    I've been working hard in our association to make your $20 annual dues actually worth something. Last spring we did our first "group buy" on equipment with moderate success. We are working on setting up a club apiary at a local part with club hives that can be used for demonstrations for new beekeepers to learn along side a more experienced person charged with maintaining hives there. We will also be able to allow members that live in town and other places that have ordinances against keeping bees to keep a few hives there, they just need to stay on top of maintaining them. Our website got updated with a swarm/colony removal page and a lot of swarms and a few cut-outs have been done by members that may have not known about them before. The newsletter format was updated and went from a one-page front/back to 3-pages front/back with some good content aimed at newer beeks and some recipes and DIY sections. In the last year we've had a lot more "young" people join and I hope some stick around a take an active part in promoting and sharing their new knowledge.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Worcester County, Massachusetts
    Posts
    3,681

    Default Re: Are beekeeping clubs worth it?

    A club need not be more formal than a potluck. A club need not have a board and bylaws. I held a free queenrearing workshop the other day....i didnt have to ask permission, and atendees learned a lot.

    Deknow
    The perils of benefactors; The blessings of parasites; Blindness blindness and sight -Joni Mitchell 'Shadows and Light'

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    6,020

    Default Re: Are beekeeping clubs worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Dewey View Post
    What is important is that club leadership not allow strong closed minded personalities to take over the club.
    That's a good point, because dominant or strong minded people do naturally gravitate towards leadership in clubs.

    If starting a new club, that gives you a good opportunity to write a sort of constitution that the leadership must abide by. It would say (for example) that the club is supportive of all hive designs not just langs, and also supportive of non mainstream management methods such as treatment free beekeeping. That means that people can be in a leadership position, but if something comes up that grates on them, they understand they have to bite their lip and let somebody else deal with it.
    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
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,797

    Default Re: Are beekeeping clubs worth it?

    What makes a good club is participation. Having said that I don't participate in my club as much as I should. That doesn't make it a bad club because it has good participation. People have their own ideas. Listen and learn what you want to. Argue if it suits you. Only buy what you want from whom you choose. Enjoy the cookies and the good people in the club. It is what you make of it.

    The people that would make great leaders are too busy so be thankful that there is someone holding the club together.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    SNOW SHOE PA USA
    Posts
    1,268

    Default Re: Are beekeeping clubs worth it?

    BEE SOURCE and hands on and all the books and it's my fourth year and things are great no club need here. I have 10- 3 deep{brood} hives 8 nucs and 4 banked queens and lots of honey and not many mites thank you BEE SOURCE.
    Say hello to the bad guy!
    year five==== 31 hives==== T{OAV}

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,113

    Default Re: Are beekeeping clubs worth it?

    Whether a club is worthwhile or not is going to depend on having a core group of enthusiastic participants.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Springfield, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    458

    Default Re: Are beekeeping clubs worth it?

    Clubs are no different than other groups that form around a common topic; a wide range of motivations and personalities will always be present. There are beekeepers, beehavers, beewanters, beesellers, beeusers and beesavers. Good leadership and a common, overtly stated goal seems to help a club to serve its membership well. So, too, does a good dose of tolerance and a sense of humor.
    Pete. New 2013, 7 hives, zone 6a
    To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,664

    Default Re: Are beekeeping clubs worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    What makes a good club is participation. Having said that I don't participate in my club as much as I should. That doesn't make it a bad club because it has good participation. People have their own ideas. Listen and learn what you want to. Argue if it suits you. Only buy what you want from whom you choose. Enjoy the cookies and the good people in the club. It is what you make of it.

    The people that would make great leaders are too busy so be thankful that there is someone holding the club together.
    lol, just like how u keep yer bees Brian? Participate, my friend, participate.
    Mark Berninghausen To combat Ebola, please consider supporting http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org


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