A Good Mentor?

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Bsweet, Mar 27, 2011.

  1. Bsweet

    Bsweet Member

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    Are we being a good mentor to the people who come for our help with bees?Or do we tell them my way is the best and only instructe them in one way of doing it.I see this in some of the newbee post we get here and it makes me wonder.We see questions like one deep or two ,deeps or medeums or if trapouts don't work why do them,Langs or TBH, wax or plastic? I know that for the most part on this forum we try to cover most of the bases but do we do that on the street or in the field as it were. ? Don't see it much on this forum but there can be some real heated disscuctions on something as simple as rotating hive bodies. Your opinions please. Jim
     
  2. charmd2

    charmd2 New Member

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    If I am giving advice I really try to show at least two view points of view. I know I am still learning daily and I attempt to share all the combined information I have received.

    But sometimes it looks like we get new keeps who come in (not necessarily this site but I am pretty sure I saw this exact question somewhere this year) and say hey I ordered a queen. How long will it take her to lay enough eggs for me to get honey. Then I really tend to loose patience and simply recommend a dummies or idiots book.
     

  3. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I'm sure we are all guilty of that at times, but I try to say in most of my answers if it is opinion or fact.

    Queen excluders and foundation, or no foundation, are two of the most controversial. Deeps or all medium boxes is another one.
     
  4. charmd2

    charmd2 New Member

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    Yeah and those are the ones I have no controversy on at all. I have plastic and wax and foundationless intermingled in hives. I have deep brood chambers and medium chambers. No 8 frame stuff yet but if I find some cheap enough I will have them too.

    Running langstroth, a top bar, and a modified Warre. Fairly confidant I give decent rundowns on pros and cons of any of the above. Really the only time I have problems answering are if I really think someone should have at least searched honey bees on google before buying them.
     
  5. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    I had two real life bk mentors here in my local area. One is super super non-treatment type, and the other told me my bees were ABSOLUTELY going to DIE if I didn't treat them with this, that, and the other twice a year.
    Both nice guys trying to be helpful, both experienced BKs.
    What do i do? I listened to them both intently and respectfully, absorbed everything they told me, asked many questions.
    ....and then went home and did my own thing. lol!
    When you think about it, what else can i really do but that? ;)

    My two different friends who are starting BK this year ask me for answers. I start by telling them that every BK they ask will tell them some different answer, and that includes me- That I'll just tell them what I myself do and my personal reasoning for what I do. I tell them to get as much info and advice from various bks as possbile and to then just make their own choices.
    But you have to get information before you can make any kind of informed decisions. It's the new bk's responsibility to learn and absorb information. My two friends have watched movies on bees and have both read books on BKing and one took classes already, the other did lots of reading and watching online. they have all their equipment ready and have been into my hives with me a couple of times now. They are eager and have put in the time to learn.

    To me it shows carelessness to just order some bees and then tell folks on a forum to 'tell me what to do and what not to do' about beekeeping. Well you might do better to read a simple book than to read a dozen disconnected answers to your post. Like we should retype all beekeeping methods by hand every time someone new shows up and asks how to keep bees? ;) Hey, I've read Beekeeping For Dummies- it's easy and fast to read, sums everything up nicely, and has LARGE TYPE too! Even a dummy can understand it. lol!

    The other side of the coin is, people here on the forum are all too happy to answer specific questions that can't be easily found in chapter 1-3 of a book, help with a special situation, or to allay fears and offer encouragement. A very generous and welcoming group here. :)
     
  6. charmd2

    charmd2 New Member

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    Well said Omie!
     
  7. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    That's actually why I really like this forum. Good open and mostly honest ;) discussion.
    I believe we are all aware of the debates on many of the topics (treatment or no, plastic versus wax, etc.) but we choose to address them in tolerant and friendly tones.
    In my humble opinion, there is no right way to keep bees, they keep themselves!
    We can merely try to show them how we would like them to act but ultimately they "will do as they please" (quote - G3farms). I hope in my posts I only express an opinion on how I address a particular subject and not present it as the only way it can be done (note to self, check back over previous posts to make sure I haven't just made a fool of myself).
    I agree with charmed2 and Omie, anyone that is truly interested in beekeeping should at least have enough interest to have done some basic research.
    And remember, if all else fails...................................ask Iddee! :thumbsup:
     
  8. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    "And remember, if all else fails...................................ask Iddee!"

    That's a sure way to get an opinion, whether it's a fact or not. :rolling:
     
  9. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    over my little life I have kept bees in about a half dozen states stretched over a broad part of this country. I can say with no limitation that each of these places require you to keep bees in a different fashion. I hope to NEVER be so rigid that I might think that my way is the only way. here (Texas) I can say without reservation that there are enough bio regions that even a hundred miles away may require you to keep bees in a different fashion.

    I do think I heard Larry Conner made some statement in regards to 'the second year beekeeping syndrome' where the bee keeper thinks they have it all figured out. I suspect if they would just look into another 1000 hives perhaps they would have a lot more questions and fewer answers.

    oh yea.... I have gotten into considerable trouble on web sites for strongly objecting to ideas that are pretty 'out there' and that will almost invariable lead the new bee keeper to making catastrophic mistakes or were already done 40 years ago and didn't work then either. I suspect that some sites have such a huge commercial bee keeping prejudice that anyone with broad and deep experience in keeping bees is really not welcome and other sites are little more than groups of angry drunks who don't want any sober person hanging out in 'their bar'. If you have been doing this stuff for as long as I have it does make you ask yourself why you are having a heated debate with someone with almost no experience and limited reading abilities.
     
  10. Zulu

    Zulu Member

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    As a newbie , and someone who has done a lot of things in life, .......

    "seeing is much better than hearing"

    I believe that asking advice of anonymous people far away is just too easy for many modern people, using the benign tool of the internet. However it is a good provider of idea when stumped, but hands on with someone local can never be beaten. Try and learn to fly a plane from a book or by asking people how via the internet... some might get away with it, many will not.

    I started this hobby by reading, not one book, but a tall stack of them, then I joined two forums and only read and followed along, as I had nothing to say..... then I searched out a local interest group... and my mentor found me ... he called me at home to invite me to come and see for myself... which my son and I did..... and for that I am eternally grateful.... and amazingly he does hang around here too :)

    In a nutshell, while sites and forums like this are helpful, you need to find someone local and learn to open your eyes and ears and ask plenty questions, over many days.
     
  11. Tia

    Tia New Member

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    I think Omie pretty much summed it up. I, too, had three old timers mentoring me at the beginning, and each of them had a different method. So I'd listen to all three of them then go home and try what I thought best. If that didn't work, I'd try the next until I got it right. Now when I mentor, I make sure to give alternatives. I've had newbees ask me why opinions differ so much, and my answer is that we all have different purposes in keeping bees: some for pollination, some for honey harvest, some for bee breeding and some merely to grow the population of the threatened honey bee! Those purposes require different methods.
     
  12. sqkcrk

    sqkcrk New Member

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    When I sell a nuc to a beekeeper new to me, who is maybe a new beekeeper, I tell them to call me w/ any questions they may have. Letting them know I may not have time to answer all of their questions.

    I recommend that they acquire and read some bee books. Some that I have and the newer ones that I don't.

    I also tell them that beekeeping is like gardening. There are almost as many books on each. What works for me may not work for you. What works where I am may not work where they are.

    Keep an open mind and do what makes sense to you even aftyer hearing what I have to say on a subject. The bees can be forgiving and will put up w/ mistakes made by beekeepers.

    Bees die. And, often, even when we have done as much as we think we possibily can and know to do.

    Education is expensive, no matter which school you go to. The formal schools or the school of hard knocks. And if you don't think of your vocation as a beekeeper as a life long educational process, you will be missing out on alot or may not be a beekeeper for long.

    Those are some of my thoughts and more here at once than what I share w/ a newbee. I don't want to overload them all at once.
     
  13. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Hey, Mark, I've got an idea.

    Why don't you and the other nuc and package sellers give all your customers the address of this forum? That would help us and them, at no cost to anyone. :thumbsup: :yahoo:
     
  14. sqkcrk

    sqkcrk New Member

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    I forgot to mention that too.

    "If you can't get me on the phone or would like another opinion, check out beekeepingforums.com. Be sure to ask for iddee." Heh,heh.

    The different forums are good for seeing what many different people have to say about some aspect of beekeep[ing or another, but I still like speaking directly to someone who has bees where I do.

    But, when all else fails, there is always beekeepingforums.com.
     
  15. Bsweet

    Bsweet Member

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    Thanks for all the great replies, pretty much what I expected from the folks here. I to read and listen to the many ways to do something then decide what I want to try, but it seems that some take a mentors word as gospel over a book(IF THEY EVEN HAVE A BOOK). Jim
     
  16. sqkcrk

    sqkcrk New Member

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    I have had a number of Mentors, beekeepers who I hold in high regard. I took the advice of my first real one and got bees. He said I needed them and he was right. The rest of them I have listened to and done what fit what I could do. And sometimes one of them has said to me, "I told you what to do, but you didn't do it." I think a good Mentor tells someone, when asked, what they would do and then lets Nature take its course. W/out being attatched to the outcome.
     
  17. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    Jim I agree with the less heated debates on this forum. I think everyone checks their armour at the door. When I mentor people I try to do it with questions. To make them think things out. When they have to find the answer there is a better chance of retaining what they learned. An example would be. Do you think I need to treat for mites. My answer would be Why do you think you should treat for mites.? let them explain why then ask questions about why they are thinking this and let them answer there own question in the end by them desciding if it is right for them. It works great. And Iddee when I have one asking to get into bees and mentor them the first thing iI do is ask them to look us up on the forum register and be an active part. If we see them here they are serious if not then I can just about bet I wont get another call from them.
     
  18. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    zulu writes:
    "seeing is much better than hearing"

    tecumseh:
    and doing reinforces the lesson. bee keeping is at it heart primarily a matter of practical application.

    I am quite encourage that a number of what I would call 'newbees' HERE have read a good deal before they acquired their bees. I think that is very much a good thing... the very best way to start. I did have a good mentor when I started and it was he that lent me my first copy of abc-xyz which I read from cover to cover before I obtained my first package. it was also his bees (nasty german black bees) that gave me my first lessons in application (along with a good number of stings).