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So how long do you think this rush of new beekeepers will last? Myself and what seems like thousands more are starting to keep bees which leads me to believe this would be short term burst of new people. Anyone else think this or what say you the long time keepers?
 

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I think it will last as long as any fad. When bees are not the topic of the day the number of beekeepers will ween.
 

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this is not the first cycle. it will slow down when the public figures out that it is not all that easy at all times. in the meantime we will get quite a few good beekeepers and some used stuff on the market. after awhile it will pick-up again.
 

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I've often wondered about this. I came into beekeeping last year with an animal husbandry point of view, though there was some aspect of 'doing good' to my decision also. I see a lot of folk at bee club meetings who are wholly into bees as a hobby, are entirely excited, and have little to no understanding of the many aspects of keeping bees or any indication that they are interested in knowing. Mostly, they take a 'set it and forget it' approach. Or, they try everything they have ever heard of to address an issue without actually trying to figure out what the problem is. Some of those people seem to have dropped off the face of the Earth but some persist. So yes, there are a lot of folk who get into beekeeping as part of a fad mentality. I see the same sort of thing at work (a college), when students enroll into a course that sounds really exciting only to stop attending, then drop the course, when it becomes clear that it isn't all fun and games. Perhaps it is human nature to do things in such a way.

But, many new beekeepers (and college students) do wind up going all in and do take the time to learn, make mistakes, and deal with the unexpected issues that arise. They seem to have an idea of what they would like to accomplish in the near and long term. If that is true, then I think that after the 'fad' phase is over, if it does end, there will still be more beeks around than there would have been without the fad mentality. They'll need additional, more in-depth advice from those who have already blazed the trail. I don't know when that will be, but we will need you.

More of my thinking on the topic has to do with what I imagine long term beeks are experiencing now that the demand for frames, foundation, packages, etc. is increased. Here we have a group of people, some of whom are commercial, having to compete for supplies with a host of newbees on top of everything else that they have to deal with. I also wonder how some of the suppliers will do when the fad phase wears off and the demand for new equipment wanes.
 

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I do think the hobby beekeeping fad will be like all fads. It will fade back somewhat.
However with the commercial guys needing lots of packages and some equipment I think those of us that stay will always have a market for our local bees and honey.

I don't know what the ratio of equipment / bees bought by commercial guys versus hobby beeks though.
 

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This is an interesting thread. I'm new this year, with 3 packages, and what drew me in was how well this fits into my overall retirement plan of hobby farming and hopefully doing some farmer's market stuff. (I'm 50 but I'm thinking 10 years out.) I'm a vegetable gardening addict, I have chickens that I enjoy, and now I have bees that have totally hooked me. These hobbies help me get through a stressful job in corporate America.

My local club, the NEKBA, has grown so much this year that they had to get a bigger facility for meetings. I can't always make meetings with my work schedule, but when I have I've enjoyed them, but have also been intrigued by the mix of people involved. There's old school hippies, folks who are looking to make money from beekeeping, those who are trying to save the planet, and folks who love honey on a hot biscuit, like me. I predict half of these folks will fall out in time. The truth about beekeeping is that it requires a lot of preparation, actual work, and there's stress involved.

What I am sure about is that I like most of the beeks I've met, and have been helped a lot with good information from my club and this forum. I have encountered a beek or two, and seen a thread or two here, that basically say "beekeeping would be better without all these new people." That bothers me some, but it is what it is.
 

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Personally I see this as normal. New folks arrive, all excited. Some last. Most fade away. A couple years later something happens to pique interest in beekeeping again, and new folks jump in. First it was "back to the land" then "organic" then something else until this recent "the bees are dying and they need us!" This will pass too, but we'll get some fine new beekeepers out of it before the rest drift onto the next new thing.

I don't see this as a bad thing--we always need new blood--just kinda how life seems to work.

:D

Rusty
 

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the cycle adjustment will be for the suppliers more than the commercial beekeepers. a bunch of small starter type orders versus larger competitive bid orders. the bigger supply houses will adjust. most of the smaller " internet back to nature suppliers" will go out of business.
 

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IMHO you see who is serious or not....like the thread about Morgan Freeman, the serious ones take class after class, read, more classes and read and start your own library on the subject. We have a few new Beekeepers (newer than me) who took one class and that was it....they call to have their hive looked at and you can't even get in them....very sad and I hve to confess very angry at the same time. There was a post earlier with an image of a frame, and the beekeeper was wondering what the "orange stuff" was. There is no excuse for not learning....um, I really am in a good mood....:eek:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
This is an interesting thread. I'm new this year, with 3 packages, and what drew me in was how well this fits into my overall retirement plan of hobby farming and hopefully doing some farmer's market stuff. (I'm 50 but I'm thinking 10 years out.) I'm a vegetable gardening addict, I have chickens that I enjoy, and now I have bees that have totally hooked me. These hobbies help me get through a stressful job in corporate America.

My local club, the NEKBA, has grown so much this year that they had to get a bigger facility for meetings. I can't always make meetings with my work schedule, but when I have I've enjoyed them, but have also been intrigued by the mix of people involved. There's old school hippies, folks who are looking to make money from beekeeping, those who are trying to save the planet, and folks who love honey on a hot biscuit, like me. I predict half of these folks will fall out in time. The truth about beekeeping is that it requires a lot of preparation, actual work, and there's stress involved.

What I am sure about is that I like most of the beeks I've met, and have been helped a lot with good information from my club and this forum. I have encountered a beek or two, and seen a thread or two here, that basically say "beekeeping would be better without all these new people." That bothers me some, but it is what it is.
That is pretty much what I was thinking and I figured I would get it out there. I am a small gardening addict myself and I love honey so for me this was something I looking at for a while and then started up. I figure this is not the first jump beekeepers have experienced and like most here have said some will leave and some will stay and have a hard but (i feel so far) rewarding hobby.
 

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somehow we have the idea that taking classes makes us smarter. classes are just a tool to expose you to knowledge. back in the 1960 there was no internet. I got bees, hives and dadant's big blue book out of the sears catalog. I never had a teacher or a mentor, I did not know that there was such a thing as a bee magazine. I did not know or talk to another beekeeper. I did manage to winter bees, I did manage to sell honey, and I did manage to produce perfect 4x4 bass wood squares of comb to sell. classes are great but if you can read you may do just as well. the best thing about the classes is the interaction with others, they are not a substitute for studying and learning from experience.
 

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I have been wondering about the increased population of bees in NYC. The NY times has an article about London and how there are too many bee keepers for the available forage. As I start to mentor people I wonder how they expect to be successful when they don't read, study, ask questions on Beesource. Then I realize that they are going to have a hive near me, less forage, more pests. I am happy to have great queens that mated this year and I am happy to see other beek's bees around the neighborhood. Everyone needs to find their own path. I just have to be more careful about managing my time and energy so it my hobby does not become a chore. Otherwise I too won't sustain the fad.
 

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;)margot1d... I will let you in on a secret, some of what bees get into is not flowers and sweet stuff from trees. In new York city you have lots and lots of other stuff.
 

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When I started keeping bees in 1973, I was a hippie on a commune in the Virginia mountains, learning from the family of moonshiners down the hollow.

That was a "Mother Earth News" wave that crested and ebbed. Some of us that were flotsom on that crest went on to run college bee labs, conduct research, and care for the observation hive at the Smithsonian insect zoo.

The same will be true of this wave. Some folks will professionalize their interest, for example, local to my college-town community, they have organized swarm recovery far better than the dusty Police-Ag Commission phone list ever did.

The irritant for me will be those that after 18 months of owning a backyard hive decide they are post-graduate experts and start prattling their "knowledge" loud and uninterruptedly all over. This "instant expert" syndrome is driven by the YouTube videos and such: a strict corrective separating what is actually learned through observation and experience, and what is parroted from unreliable sources is essential.

The folks working the hives day and night in my region are all immigrants, from Argentina, Peru, Mexico, Guatemala and the Ukraine. There is an unfilled and substantial commercial niche to serve and integrate this group in a way that is not being done. In terms of total hives under management, the youthful skidsteer operator that has built his own local yard to the magic 400 colony number far exceeds the well-heeled backyard hobbyists.
 

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I really did not mean to get in beekeeping at the time I did it always interested me though. I have had several family members that did it and failed, but they never had a foothold. I have a guy that called me and asked if he could keep a hive in my yard. My wife said no so we took it to my dads. A few weeks later the same guy called and had a swarm and she wife said yes and it has grew from there. Now I get 2 to 3 calls a week to come get swarms and do a cut-out. I love it I am a carpenter and it fits me to a T. My garden kicks tail and my wife loves them for the flowers. I have all kinds of people wanting my honey, all I can get is sold at our farmers market. I just rather raise bees and let them have the honey, I really hate to take something they work so hard for..... Call me crazy!
I have also heard at least 5 new people at my place of business that are raising bees now lots of cotton in this area and lots of alfalfa. I thought it was just a area thing did not realize bees hit the world market all of a sudden.. by know means do I know what I am talking about but i do love my bees
 

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IMHO you see who is serious or not....like the thread about Morgan Freeman, the serious ones take class after class, read, more classes and read and start your own library on the subject. We have a few new Beekeepers (newer than me) who took one class and that was it....they call to have their hive looked at and you can't even get in them....very sad and I hve to confess very angry at the same time. There was a post earlier with an image of a frame, and the beekeeper was wondering what the "orange stuff" was. There is no excuse for not learning....um, I really am in a good mood....:eek:
At first glance this seems reasonable...until I thought about it for a bit. All the classes and meetings and discussions and youtube videos in the world do not a beekeeper make. Getting your hands inside that hive week after week and season after season is what makes a beekeeper. Watching YOUR OWN bees year in and year out is what makes a beekeeper. Learning the cycle of your own bee yard--what blooms, when it blooms, what they actually work--makes a beekeeper.

I've been at this for over 20 years and, yes, I have some books. I research. But I've never taken a class or belonged to a club. It's not a social activity to me. But I know MY bees. Not somebody else's. Just mine. When I do something, I know WHY I am doing it or I don't do it at all.

TIME is what makes a beekeeper. Time and curiosity.

JMO

Rusty

edited to add: making your own mistakes and then getting yourself out of the mess you just created is a BIG part of what makes a beekeeper. If you don't allow yourself some mistakes, how will you ever learn anything?
 

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This is funny. I'm new to this but didn't even know it was a fad.
Im in my second year, and I didnt really know it either, I always wanted some and was able to finally do it. I dont see me fading, but Im just a guy looking to grow to 20 or so. G
 
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