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Discussion Starter #1
Last night I attended my first association meeting. I was a few minutes late and nearly missed what they evidently consider their elections. it was basically asking the crowed if they where okay with the current officers keepign their offices. I have no idea how many people made a noise at that point but I am pretty sure it was not a majority. and as many noises could have been in objections as it was in support. At that moment I decided this is more a Bill and Lauren beekeeping show rather than an association.

Lauren then proceeded to do a presentation on reversing hive bodies for build up and the use of a division board (double screen board) to make up a double queen colony. All in the interest of getting a double deep and a honey super full of bees. I use checkerboarding and continual upward building.

These are things I was doing 2 months ago and have hives that are 5 and 6 boxes tall at this point. He also stated that the flow will start on May 15th. I find the flow is on now. Same story as last year.

They are also reporting it will be a bumper year again for swarms just like it was last year. yet although swarms are early and plentiful they do not seem to think this correlates with honey flow.

Someone asked at one point if he had ever heard of checkerboarding. He had never heard of it. He did describe in his presentation that a queen will move upward in early build up but then move down again as the top of the hive is filled with honey.

I am very interested in seeing how my build up compares to others as it translates to honey production. One change I am making this year is that I will consolidate brood back to the bottom of the hive as it starts to get spread out through 3 and 4 supers. I am now starting to see what I call fat fraems. these are frames of honey that are drawn out past eh top bar of the frame. This is becoming one of my signs that the flow is on.

He has had top bar hives in the past but finds them heavy on the management requirements.

Beyond that they talked about packages the association has ordered for it's members and obtaining queens. Lauren stated he prefers to order queens to insure they are well mated. He believes that the extra effort queen breeders make in producing drones makes a difference.

It was interesting but I did clearly see that the idea of just keeping the same people in charge effects the full range of information shared. It did not appear to me there is a lot more information in the room. not that is willing to speak up anyway. I have sent them an email offering to do a presentation on my effort with side expansion and checker boarding over the past two years.
 

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Group dynamics can be interesting. I am sure you have seen some interesting group dynamics where you work, worship, or play sports. Oft times people are okay w/ the way things are and are willing to let those who do the doing do it. It isn't necessarily healthy for the longevity of the group, but, basically, people are lazy.

Twenty percent of the people in any given group do all the work. And, unless they are pressed into service, the other 80% are happy to let them. This is something I hope to do in the association I am involved in, get more people to participate. We need to identify talents and interests and exploit them, in a good way.

Give your personally new association w/ this club a chance to grow and don't set your expectations too high, lest you become discouraged and get disappointed enough to disassociate yourself. You never know where things will lead.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Mark, I am not disappointed. I went there with a mind set to go and see what it was. and it is what it is. yeah I know that sounds hoaky. But hey it beats all those other associations that don't exist at all.

I know very well about the 20%. it is where I tend to be found. It has benefits. It has it's disadvantages as well.

I have been dong what I have been doing in my back yard. feeding bees etc. it will not be the same as i start moving bees further away less moment by moment management and they are left much more on their own. Hence the need to see how other locals are doing it. And if two supers is how it is done I need to find out why. Maybe that is the best it gets in our environment. It is harsh here. many people think bees can't be kept here at all.
 

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Another way to understand people is that some folks are active, independent learners, eager to consider and try new practices. Other folks like to keep doing things the same way. Other folks like to have it all presented to them (might even say spoonfed).
I think a good club makes room for all these types and more, although sometimes it is frustrating.
I applaud your effort to contribute.
 

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We're new beekeepers and didn't want to start out without help. Our regional beekeeper's association is well set up for that. They have an excellent bee school, assign mentors to each student, and have monthly presentations to further educate the members. They have a nuc-rearing program as well, and did a SARE grant study scientifically demonstrating the hardiness of using locally-bred bees. I absolutely love our local association.

They elected a fresh set of officers this year, and like frequent turnover.
 

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Clubs are great for connecting people with people. What they are not very good at is for someone with on-line knowledge comparing notes with other on-line folks. I've found that typically club members are into their craft but not as into it as some on-line folks are. There are a wide range of topics discussed on BeeSource and it is the sort of learning that you think about before absorbing as your own.

Clubs generally have local knowledge going for them - and so I read with some surprise that the local information presented conflicts with your experiences. It may be that the leaders of the club have become that way because no one else is willing to do the job. It makes for quick elections to say "same officers as last year" but the club misses out on a chance to inject vigor into their operation with new blood. I like the idea of having "at-large" Board members with staggered terms. If the club wants to ensure periodic change consider term limits.

I wish I had all the answers but I don't. I'm a member of three different local bee clubs and they each have strengths and weaknesses based in part on the skills of their leaders and the passion exhibited by members. In the end people join clubs to have fun AND learn about their hobby. If you don't find an audience for your talk in Reno come to Maine and I'll find one for you. Just remember, all beekeeping is local.
 

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Local knowledge: having the local bee inspector speak at a meeting. If nothing else, you learn to recognize him and not be rude.
 
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