Why Join a Beekeeping Club?
Many new beekeepers and prospective beekeepers are urged to join beekeeper 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 Beekeeper 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.
Online and YouTube Resources
A great deal of information is available to you online, especially YouTube, but online content will simply kick-start 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.
What a Beekeeping Club Provides (these vary from club to club)
Extraction Rental Equipment-My club provides an extractor with stand and heated extracting knife for $10 for a week
Education-Our monthly meetings always have a speaker, from out of state or locally. Recent topics included “My biggest mistakes in beekeeping”, “Small cell beekeeping”, “Mead making”, “Increasing your hives”, and “Swarm catching”. All these topics can be found on line, but to have someone in person talk about it with a lot of experience is invaluable and you can ask questions. Yearly, we also have a state meeting with big name speakers/authors from around the country.
Library of Beekeeping Books & Equipment-I can pick up any number of books that aren’t easily available from authors that are online, but some who are not. 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.
Nucs-Our Central MD Bee Club orders Nucs from a Georgia supplier which are then trucked up 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 & Show-Any excess honey that my bees produce can be sold at our beekeeper’s booth at the local 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 and win prizes.
Hive Demos-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 every monthly meeting dealing with local conditions and situations.
Local-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.
Swarms-If you are interested in swarm catching, clubs usually maintain a swarm capture list of people in the area who want swarms.
Mentors-An invaluable resource for newbies is hooking up with a mentor. Bee clubs know who lives nearby and can connect you with a suitable helper.