How long do most newbies stay with beekeeping? - Page 3
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  1. #41

    Default Re: How long do most newbies stay with beekeeping?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    A bee club I joined for a while ran a regular beginner course, it was conducted over several weeks, entirely in a classroom, they did not even look at any real bees. At the end the people emerged confident, ready they thought, for success, and some of them came my way wanting bees. Probably around 1/2 of them I actually talked out of getting bees I could tell it just wasn't going to work. They could get them somewhere else but I didn't take money from fools.

    I also noticed that despite the "success" of this class in terms of good numbers attending every time, the club roll never actually grew. I had to leave the club because I started getting phone calls from large numbers of people who had done the class, got some bees, and now had problems, I couldn't attend meetings any more cos I got literally mobbed every time it was just no fun. So the theoretical way stuff was being done was all wrong. I actually started my own course which had almost no paperwork but we actually worked bees, by the time people finished they could confidently approach and open a hive, manipulate brood, requeen, identify and remedy problems, stuff like that. It was all done in the field, not a classroom. Best I'm aware, everybody who did that course is still successfully keeping bees.

    So my opinion the reason for high nubee drop off in bees is the difference between the idea of beekeeping and the reality, plus that all pursuits have a high drop off rate for the same reason.
    I agree with a lot of this in that no amount of classes can prepare you for the real thing. I sat through two years of classroom work before opening a hive. The first year I didn't feel ready so I waited. When I actually dumped the package into the box I was completely overwhelmed, and I was the one stalking the instructor when things got crazy my first year. But the point is that I did dump the package into the box, no one was looking over my shoulder.

    Trying to train someone in a hive that does not have a basic knowledge can be frustrating. Really, some people are difficult no matter how you try to teach them. I won't teach adults anymore, my first attempt was a total drain and time waister. I would rather teach my students who would never get to experience small scale agriculture otherwise. With them, all my teaching is hands on.

    I also agree that as far as hobbies go beekeeping is cheap. I know people who are very happy to loose half of their bees and replace them with packages every year, and use honey sales to re-coop. Many people are happy to sort of make it at something. Where the time commitment comes in is when you are not satisfied unless you excel.
    Last edited by Margot1d; 02-18-2015 at 05:26 PM.

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  3. #42
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    ElDorado,Arkansas,USA
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    Default Re: How long do most newbies stay with beekeeping?

    How long do most newbies stay with beekeeping? Well I am still a newbee after working them for 35 years!

  4. #43
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    San Francisco, CA
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    Default Re: How long do most newbies stay with beekeeping?

    We require new members to take a beekeeping 101 class and work an apiary for four hours before they can order bees through us. We also encourage them seek out a mentor on their own from a list of our senior members.

    We give them a realistic view of what happens your first year and warn them that their bees probably won't live past the first season unless they continue their education through mentorship, coming to meetings and actively participating in the club functions and classes.
    We have some people leave after they hear this. It's like they think they're going to get goldfish that you only have to feed daily and never do anything else.

    We have others that become obsessed, come to every meeting and become sideliners.
    My opinions are based on whatever OD Frank says because he thinks he knows everything!

  5. #44
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    Norfolk County, MA, USA
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    231

    Default Re: How long do most newbies stay with beekeeping?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    Andy Rooney was saying one day something to the effect that the less you understand about something, the simpler you think it is. You assume that people's jobs are simple because you simply don't understand the details of what they do. Your picture of it is simple because you're missing those details.

    I remember a "for better or worse" cartoon where the wife is describing her day of fixing lunches, making breakfast, dropping off the kids, taking the dog to the vet, doing laundry, picking the kids up and taking them to soccer, bringing them home... then her husband asks, "what did you do the rest of the day?" Obviously he was not getting all the details that went into each of those things...

    Beekeeping seems simple when you don't understand it. Then you try to learn it and it seems unnecessary complicated. This leads to people obsessing over things that don't matter to the bees. People get obsessed about what size box or what kind of hive and the bees thrive in any of them. The differences are minutia and the beginner has no context for how unimportant some things are and how important other things are, or the real significance of something. All of that can feel overwhelming.
    So what you are saying is simplification is the key. As a person who makes his living with his hands I can say matter of factly that simplification is the key. Trying to overcomplicate things especially with tiny insects even scientists haven't entirely figured out is part of the problem. There are a lot of posters here on Beesource who seeem to be extremely pre-occupied overcomplicating every process including posting in threads.
    Think about it....Buy American

  6. #45
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Roy, Wa
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    Default Re: How long do most newbies stay with beekeeping?

    Anything is simple if you know what you're doing.

    Until then, it can be complicated.
    Lauri Miller.
    Carniolan Hybrids. Glenn, Latshaw & Wild lines.

  7. #46
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    Cumberland Va.
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    4,869

    Default Re: How long do most newbies stay with beekeeping?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lauri View Post
    Anything is simple if you know what you're doing.

    Until then, it can be complicated.
    G

  8. #47
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Tulsa, OK
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    4,656

    Default Re: How long do most newbies stay with beekeeping?

    I think 1-2 years is the limit for most people. The main reasons people quit are lack of perseverance, too much physical work, too hot, too much worrying, and not being comfortable with on-the-job learning.

    I have been team-teaching a beginner beekeeper class, and one thing I've tried to stress is the importance of perseverance and that you have to keep bees for several years to learn to keep bees. You need the book knowledge to learn how to keep bees, but the book knowledge is just the foundation to actually learn to keep the bees. What I have suggested is that learning to keep bees is sort of like learning to roller skate -- you can talk about it all you want, but you only learn to do it by doing it, with full expectation that falling down is part of the process and nothing to be embarrassed about. That is a life lesson I wish I'd figured out when I was 16, but it took longer for me to get it.

    The people who stick with it, in my experience, seem to have the following traits or practices:

    1. Enjoy learning by doing, experimenting, and not worrying too much. It seems like people with a background in agriculture, skilled trades, and medicine most consistently fit this description.

    2. Have a social network involved of some sort, including a combination of family being involved in beekeeping activities, mentors, and/or a bee club. Husband-wife beekeeping teams seem to be some of the most successful.

    3. Keep enough hives that they can absorb losses, make splits, and not need to buy bees. It doesn't seem like many beekeepers stick with it if they only have 2 hives (although there are exceptions). Most people either quit or get more than two hives. I don't necessarily recommend starting with more than 2, but people who stick with it usually go from 2 to 4 or more within a couple of years. Swarm catchers/trappers also fit the bill.

    4. Physically able to do hard work and take the heat. I think 8 frame mediums or horizontal hives would be a good idea for a lot of people.

    For me, the heat is the only aspect of beekeeping that makes me think about quitting sometimes. A lot of the beekeepers I know who have stuck with it have told me they had moments in July/August working bees and nearly having a heat stroke and thinking it was time to quit. I tell newbees that getting a full ventilated suit is worth the money, because you can be virtually naked underneath. If you live up North, I don't want your winters, but I really don't want August in Oklahoma either.

    Our bee club, after a long time of talking about it, has gotten a formal mentor program started where newbees are paired with mentors. Last year was the first year to have a real/formal mentor program. I don't have any real statistics, but the generally impression I'm getting is that it is increasing the retention rate.

  9. #48
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
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    Dallas, texas
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    Default Re: How long do most newbies stay with beekeeping?

    Beekeeping is easy and fun with little commitment. Not sure what you guys are getting at.

    Roy

  10. #49
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    Mar 2013
    Location
    Oxford, Maine
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    Default Re: How long do most newbies stay with beekeeping?

    It is not easy being a newbie beekeeper.
    I threatened to throw the towel in on it after losing both hives
    early winter last year. But then i found out that buying southern package bees for northern climes was probably not the best approach to getting colonies through the winter here.
    Throw Varroa mites into the mix which i didn't treat for and it was probably a sure setup for disaster.
    This winter the two colonies are local bees from overwintered nucs and seem to be doing well. One MAQs treatment in August , yup, caved in on treatment free for fear of more disasters.
    Looked in on them yesterday . They were into the mountain camp sugar that i put on a month ago. Lots of bees in both hives.
    Optimism is a good thing, experience is even better, not that I have much of that yet.
    Perserverance ,money and knowledge seem to be the key ingredients for
    successful beekeeping

  11. #50
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: How long do most newbies stay with beekeeping?

    Quote Originally Posted by woodsy View Post
    One MAQs treatment in August , yup, caved in on treatment free for fear of more disasters.
    Don't feel bad. The people who benefit most from new beekeepers with treatment free ideals are the package producers.

    Quote Originally Posted by woodsy View Post
    Perserverance ,money and knowledge seem to be the key ingredients for successful beekeeping
    Well perserverance and knowledge anyway. Once those are acquired in sufficient measure not a lot of money is lost.

  12. #51
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    Olmsted County, MN USA
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    86

    Default Re: How long do most newbies stay with beekeeping?

    Twenty-plus mentors on our club list for the past two years. None got a call. Can't push a rope.
    Christian (Chris) Schad
    Website: TheBeeShed.com, Facebook: The Bee Shed

  13. #52
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    Jan 2015
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    Hanover, PA
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    Default Re: How long do most newbies stay with beekeeping?

    Quote Originally Posted by roykessler View Post
    Beekeeping is easy and fun with little commitment. Not sure what you guys are getting at.

    Roy
    I would like to believe that there is an element of sarcasm here

  14. #53
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    Feb 2015
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    Dallas, texas
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    Default Re: How long do most newbies stay with beekeeping?

    Quote Originally Posted by IsedHooah View Post
    I would like to believe that there is an element of sarcasm here
    Actually I was being serious but I don't want to ruffle any feathers here. I think everyone has their own way of doing things. To me Beekeeping is easy with little commitment.

  15. #54
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    Jan 2009
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    Default Re: How long do most newbies stay with beekeeping?

    A lot of good observations in this thread. My 2 cents....
    A lack of goals usually isn't a good sign - If you don't expect or desire to get anything out of it you probably won't. But mostly it's just like other hobbies - a lot of the fun plays out about the time you complete the collection of paraphernalia.

    Seriously - only a few people are going to enjoy enteracting with stinging insects in 90 degree southern humidity. The surprising thing is that so many people even try it.
    Since '09-75H-T-Z6b

  16. #55
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    Feb 2015
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    Dallas, texas
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    Default Re: How long do most newbies stay with beekeeping?

    Its so hot here (Texas) I don't open any hives until late night when it's dark only. I have a good breathable suit but not during the day

  17. #56
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    Feb 2015
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    Dallas, texas
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    Default Re: How long do most newbies stay with beekeeping?

    Honestly thinking about this I would have to agree with people living in Northern states having a rough time getting something like this going. If you live in in the southern states it's much easier.

  18. #57
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    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: How long do most newbies stay with beekeeping?

    Quote Originally Posted by roykessler View Post
    Actually I was being serious but I don't want to ruffle any feathers here. I think everyone has their own way of doing things. To me Beekeeping is easy with little commitment.
    Wouldn't worry, nobody going to get ruffled feathers, if you find beekeeping easy then that's your reality no dispute, fact is lot of people find beekeeping easy.

    The thread though is about newbees and if you met any you'd find it can be pretty confusing for them in these days of internet and information overload.

  19. #58
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    Oct 2013
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    Caledonia,michigan
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    Default Re: How long do most newbies stay with beekeeping?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Wouldn't worry, nobody going to get ruffled feathers, if you find beekeeping easy then that's your reality no dispute, fact is lot of people find beekeeping easy.

    The thread though is about newbees and if you met any you'd find it can be pretty confusing for them in these days of internet and information overload.
    I almost gave up before I even started just because of the overload, Becoming a doctor sounded easy compared to a beekeeper.

  20. #59
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Austin, Texas
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    523

    Default Re: How long do most newbies stay with beekeeping?

    While relative newbees, we picked it up fast and are we're pretty active in the beekeeping community. Her background is medicine and adult education and mine is animal husbandry and process analysis.

    Based on her observations teaching beginning beekeeping and hands on classes, I'd say NeilV is spot on. Often times, she can tell within a few hours if someone is suited or not to the hobby.

    Too much time on the internet and on the wrong forums overloads newbees with incorrect and unnecessary information.

    We're involved in a number of beekeeping organizations and community events. The unexpected benefit was being welcomed and assisted by the generations old beekeeping families in the area. Something the folks looking for mentors could pick up on - when you start out giving, the experienced people are more inclined to give back.

    We expanded to 40 hives our 2nd year through splits, swarm catches and removals. My wife still takes losses a bit hard but I just look at hives as a collection of resources. It was a good winter with about 5% loss. Those boxes and drawn comb will be used up in the next few weeks with splits or swarm catches.

    Hard work and heat? We built and maintained a few houses together. We are used to playing hard in the heat, I spent about a decade volunteering for Jeep Jamboree guiding participants over granite boulders in temps near 100 (the guides mostly walk...). We're getting older so we decided on 8 frame and Top Bar Hives from the start.

    As far as beekeeping being "easier with less commitment" .. it's not commitment so much as input. There are high input and low input beekeepers = you can't manage 40 hives like you would 2.
    Last edited by ChuckReburn; 02-20-2015 at 06:12 AM. Reason: edit

  21. #60
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    Default Re: How long do most newbies stay with beekeeping?

    Quote Originally Posted by biggraham610 View Post
    G
    I used to play trombone and a few other musical instruments. The hardest thing about playing music is making it look easy.

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