My first real experience with beekeeping was in attending a 1-hour presentation held at our community library. It was the first time I had actually spoken to a real-life beekeeper and if anything, it calmed any reservations we may have had at the time, 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 exactly the harvesting went, what equipment we needed etc. and the next year we invited a bunch of family, friends, and neighbors over to see us harvest our honey.
The “tour” started out at the hives where quite a few people were a little 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 exactly is involved in removing the trays and gently brushing off the bees. Everyone made it through the whole 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 and two of our friends got hives of their own.
- Start a Blog/Facebook Page/Youtube Channel
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 consider joining the Keeping Backyard Bees community as a contributor.
- Share Local Beekeeping Events on Social Media
As in my example at the library, 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.
- Offer to give a beekeeping talk at your local community center, library or child’s school
You don’t have to be an expert to talk about your experience. If you have a year or two off beekeeping under your belt you can share some basics to beekeeping and what you’ve learned with those just starting out.
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, try to seek out beekeepers and ask if they’d be willing to give a community talk.
- Support local beekeepers
Does your neighbor sell honey? Or a local orchard or farmers market vendor? 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.