Many new beekeepers and prospective beekeepers are urged to join beekeeping clubs and organizations to learn more about the art of beekeeping. Even experienced beekeepers find themselves with questions and want to connect with other beekeepers in the area. Locally, your state’s Beekeeping Association is one of the best resources for you to tap into. Leveraging the knowledge of local beekeepers is essential to becoming a successful beekeeper in your area. Go to Beekeeping Associations for your state listing and also local area clubs.
A great deal of information is available to you online, especially YouTube, but online content will simply kickstart and augment what you learn from your bees. One of the best solutions to this never-ending quest for knowledge in a constantly changing environment comes in the form of beekeeping clubs and mentors.
Our monthly meetings always have a speaker, from out-of-state or locally. Recent topics included common mistakes in beekeeping, small cell beekeeping, making mead, increasing your hives, and swarm catching. All of these topics can be found online, but to have an experienced person to talk to about it is invaluable. We also have an annual state meeting with big name speakers from around the country.
Library of Beekeeping Books and Equipment
I can pick up any number of books that aren’t readily available online. Videos, posters, bee veils, gloves, hive bodies … you name it, I can borrow it on the honor system and return whenever I am finished with it. I recently borrowed a bunch of posters and child-friendly bee books for a presentation at a local nursery school.
Our Central MD Bee Club orders nucs from a Georgia supplier which are then sent by truck to a central location for pickup. Order them in advance and you are sure to get one. I even had one that failed to take after a few days, and got a new one to replace it.
Honey Sales and Show
Any excess honey that my bees produce can be sold at our beekeeper’s booth at the state fair. I mark it up to the price I want, and they sell it, taking a small commission. I can also sell anything else bee related there, such as beeswax, pollen, honeycomb, honeybee posters, etc. I can also enter my honey products into the judging contest and win prizes.
From May until September, before our monthly meeting, experienced beekeepers open up the resident hives where we meet and answer questions. We also have a Q&A before each monthly meeting dealing with local conditions and situations.
Localized Bee Issues
Local is the key word here. At our meetings, our local beekeeping equipment representatives are there and can take orders or bring requested equipment. Also, the local seasonality of plants and flowers are always discussed as this can vary from area to area. My honey flow is totally different from 2 or 3 states over. Local laws and regulations are covered at bee meetings which can be confusing as they change from area to area.
If you are interested in swarm catching, clubs usually maintain a list of people in the area who want swarms.