You know that moment of excitement you experience when you meet someone that shares a particular interest or hobby of yours? There’s that happy squeal of, “you too?!” and immediate in-depth conversation on something you’re both passionate about. Well, that’s what it’s like when beekeepers meet other beekeepers!
Whether you’re a new or seasoned “beek,” connecting with fellow beekeepers gives you a source of support so you can confidently provide the best care you can for your bees. Here are a few of the ways that connecting with local beekeepers helps you become a better beekeeper.
One major benefit of connecting with local beekeepers is getting their insights on beekeeping in your area. Fellow beeks with hives near you are navigating the same location-specific aspects of beekeeping. And if they’re experienced beekeepers, they may have tips and suggestions to share.
Local beekeepers are familiar with any county or city ordinances for bees and processes and requirements for hive registrations and inspections. If you’re new to beekeeping, the “paperwork” can be a little intimidating or confusing. It’s great to talk to someone who’s gone through it themselves and can share their insights.
Beekeepers with hives near you are also familiar with weather and climate considerations unique to wherever your location. A beekeeper in Southeast Wisconsin, for example, can tell you about their trusted methods for supporting their bees through harsh winters. Regardless of where you live, talking with local beekeepers will have you navigate any region-specific weather considerations there are.
Like so many activities, it’s one thing to read about beekeeping practices and techniques, but it’s another to do it yourself! When you talk with other beekeepers, you benefit from their experiences and lessons they’ve learned from their years working with their hives.
No matter how many educational resources a new beekeeper works with as they’re getting started, it’s always good to have a knowledgeable beekeeper to call when you encounter new challenges, surprises, or questions with your hive. You can share your data with them, talk about mistakes they’ve made and learned from, and get their take on situations with your hives.
One great way to learn from a fellow local beekeeper is through mentorship. With mentorship, less-experienced beekeepers connect with seasoned beekeepers to gain knowledge and helpful tidbits. In our members’ area, Beepods Lab, beekeepers can apply to become mentees or mentors and be paired with another member of the Beepods member community.
Whatever your location, there are likely nearby beekeepers to connect with. Here are several resources you can use to find local beekeepers and beekeeping clubs and associations:
Beepods members have access to our Facebook groups for community beekeepers and beekeeping educators. We also provide a list of regional top bar beekeeping groups for you to explore depending on your location.
Many counties (and sometimes cities) have established beekeeping clubs and associations that you can join. The American Beekeeping Federation has listings of state and local groups you can browse. County extension offices are also a great resource to check with to find local beekeepers.
No matter where you are on your learning journey as a beekeeper, it is always beneficial to meet with fellow beekeepers. Connecting with beekeepers near you gives you valuable insights on beekeeping in your location and the chance to improve your beekeeping skills based on their experiences. Here’s to beekeeping for the bees, together!