by Ginger Davidson www.GeezBeezHoney.com
As the year draws to an end, it is a time to reflect. It is also a time to plan for the future; but right now, I’m stuck in the reflecting frame of mind. My beekeeping passion started without a club and without a mentor. In the first 2 years of this hobby, I started with 2 hives, a Beekeeping for Dummies book, and a lot of perseverance. I jokingly tell others that I experienced every possible scenario and problem imaginable during these initial years. A quick view of the propolis stained pages from the book which resided in my beginning toolkit can quickly ascertain these claims. I will admit that I wasn’t very profitable and my bees didn’t flourish but I did learn a lot.
I can certainly tell stories that occurred over the past 13 years. Some are sad while others are sure to make you laugh until tears run down your face. But what about this year? What special things happened in 2014?
I could tell you about the 5000+ kids that had an opportunity to view my bees in an observation hive or the happenings with the USDA NC-SARE research grant which has taken up a considerable amount of time during the past two years. Maybe you’d like to hear about the politics endured with state associations, the first queen that I instrumentally inseminated which laid eggs, the experience of marking 800 drones with tiny paint dots as they emerged, the successful formation of a local beekeeping club, the thousands of miles driven to assist other beekeepers, the hundreds of emails and phone calls responded too, the nucs and queens that went to beekeepers young and old, or the dozen or so presentations given to the non-beekeeping community about our crazy winged friends called the honeybee?
Yes, these are things of special note but instead, there is something else that I want to share. It is something that made me smile. To some it won’t mean much, but to me it means a lot. First, let’s set the stage. We are at one of our local monthly club meetings. There is a new attendee who recently found our club through our wonderful website. I don’t want to embarrass her because I’d like to be sure she comes back; but she was very new to beekeeping and had a lot of questions. But, I have to ask: Who doesn’t have a lot of questions about bees? Right? If someone had all the answers, this beekeeping thing would be easy and we’d all be succeeding at it.
This scenario seems pretty normal for our meetings. So, what about it made my day and year for that matter? What could it possibly be?
Well, you see, the questions were being answered by club members who had just started keeping bees this summer. They had regularly attended the meetings and unbeknownst to themselves, they had learned a ton. They were giving great answers!
This thing we call a bee club, it does work. It does have a purpose!
Although I’d love to visit with every person who keeps bees, I realized I just couldn’t physically do it. By using this club as a tool to teach others instead of adding even more miles onto my vehicles, I had hoped to be able to spread my knowledge and experiences even further and watch it grow exponentially. Heck, I’m hoping to learn some things too.
So when you ask me to come to your bee yard and I ask if you might have time to take some photos of your bees and attend the upcoming meeting, I’m really not shirking my duties. Instead, I’m able to tend to my bees – with 70 hives and counting that’s a lot for one person to do along with all my other responsibilities in life. And you win too! You win because not only will I be at the next meeting; but you’ll be able to pull from a vast array of experience from other beekeepers too. Others win as well! They get to hear about your bees and it just might help them keep their bees healthy.
WIN! WIN! WIN!
As you can see, our club is for beekeepers of all experience levels. There is something for everyone to learn or share! The 2014 December meeting marks the one year anniversary for the Hanover/Madison chapter of Southeastern Indiana Beekeeper Association. Bring a friend and we’ll see you at the meeting!