Our first experience with beekeeping was attending a one-hour presentation at our community library. It was the first time I spoke to a beekeeper and, if anything, it calmed any reservations we may have had and upped our enthusiasm to the point where we went home and ordered our first hive.
We are living proof that community outreach will help create beekeepers. The presentation simplified everything and gave us the confidence that “if he can do it, we can do it!”
Even if you’re not in a place right now where you can keep bees, there are still things you can do to get your community involved.
Below are 5 ways to get your community involved and enthusiastic about beekeeping.
Host a honey harvest party
We did this our second year beekeeping. The first year we sorted out how the harvesting went, what equipment we needed, etc., and the next year we invited a bunch of people over to experience the honey harvest.
The tour started out at the hives, where quite a few people were nervous about being stung. We told them that while we couldn’t promise anything, the likeliness of them being stung was very unlikely. We showed how to use the smoker, how gentle the bees were, and what is involved in removing the trays and gently brushing off the bees. Everyone made it through the process sting-free!
Then, we showed them how we scrape the trays and extract the honey. Everyone got to taste the sweet golden stuff and many went away with a new appreciation for beekeeping. Two of our friends got hives of their own.
Create an online presence
It’s hard to argue with the effectiveness of social media when it comes to spreading the word about a subject. If you have a hive, take photos, videos and share your experiences with the online world.
You could also join the Keeping Backyard Bees community as a contributor.
Share local beekeeping events on social media
If you see local beekeeping events taking place, share them on social media. Even if you can’t attend yourself, it’s good to spread the word and show support.
Share beekeeping articles like those on Keeping Backyard Bees.
Share company ads that sell beekeeping supplies. Many times people don’t know where to find their initial set up supplies.
Give a beekeeping lecture at your local community center
You don’t have to be an expert to talk about your experience. If you have a year or two of beekeeping under your belt you can share some basics to beekeeping and what you’ve learned.
Be transparent about your experience and don’t feel like you have to have all the answers. If someone from the audience asks a question that you don’t know the answer to, simply say, “I will have to check into that,” and get their information after the talk.
Children are especially interested in learning about beekeeping. Talk with your child’s teacher and ask if you can do a demonstration or art project about beekeeping.
If you are a teacher, librarian, or someone active in the community, seek out beekeepers and ask if they’d be willing to give a community talk.
Support local beekeepers
Does your neighbor sell honey? By purchasing honey from them you are making it possible for beekeepers in your community to continue doing what they do. These are the people who will spread the word throughout the community.
As with any cause… involvement, conversation, and enthusiasm do the most to spread the word.