Author Topic: Am I the only one? wwyd?  (Read 221 times)

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Offline Grandma Bear

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Am I the only one? wwyd?
« on: February 12, 2021, 06:23:41 pm »
It seems that as long as I've been keeping bees random folks will reach out to me and want me to take them to the beeyards and show them around. I get that at least 3 times a week...several from Facebook or other social media. I try to explain that I don't invite folks to our beeyards except during the active bee season, and even then only for learning events for folks that I mentor and the vets who come to our beeyards as help for their PTSD. I'm not an unfriendly person, and I absolutely love helping folks learn about the bees and I'm happy to let them suit up and visit colonies with me when it's appropriate and I have time.

The most recent person reached out on FB and is insisting that I let her come "see my set up" now and then watch as it transitions through the season so that she can learn to set hers up when she gets bees. I'm always happy to help others learn, but I don't do so well with all of that when I feel like I'm being bossed into it. Folks seem to believe that beekeepers should be glad to give away their time, allow whoever to come wander around on their property, and some have even been so bold as to say that I should GIVE them bees and help them set them up and work with them for the first year.

Since this comes up so often for us I thought I would ask here what y'all have experienced and what your thoughts are? It's been suggested that DD and I start to charge for the lessons and mentorship that we already do every year and simply refuse to allow anyone not willing to pay come visit...except for our veterans, they are permanently welcome provided they respect our boundaries and we have had no problems with any of them. Am I wrong to be frustrated that people are so curious about the bees that that maybe they don't realize the inconveniences that they request?

Offline iddee

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Re: Am I the only one? wwyd?
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2021, 07:16:02 pm »
Refer them to the local bee club and tell them you don't have liability ins. so you can't take the chance of one of them getting hurt on your property.
“Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
― Shel Silverstein
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Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Am I the only one? wwyd?
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2021, 07:57:19 pm »
Refer them to the local bee club and tell them you don't have liability ins. so you can't take the chance of one of them getting hurt on your property.

Exactly what I was thinking.  And it's not just beekeepers.  You wouldn't allow strangers in to your farrowing barn if you reared pigs and reasonable people wouldn't ask.
I would suspect that the persistent woman is looking for free schooling on beekeeping.  Tell her what iddee(Ann Landers  :laugh:) said and inform her that it doesn't fit into your schedule.
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Offline Grandma Bear

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Re: Am I the only one? wwyd?
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2021, 10:26:06 pm »
Thank you both for the help! DD was a well known insurance agent here for quite awhile...she can handle that easy peasy. We do teach folks about bees, mentor several every year as time allows, and we have a little over a dozen vets who come out to work the bees when they need to (they are very considerate and make arrangements with us). We don't charge anyone for anything that we do except when we sell honey or bees.

You are totally right Bakers...I ran my pig farm for almost 3 years and NO ONE was ever allowed near my farrowing yards/huts. I raised my hogs on dirt vs crowded barns. This really isn't so different and I don't know why I haven't made that connection.

The problem with referring folks to the nearest bee club, and likely the reason I get so many questions and people wanting to visit, is a little over an hour drive away once you hit the interstate which is another 30 minutes away. I miss the beekeeping meetings in NC, it was a very different place to be a beekeeper.

Offline Wandering Man

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Re: Am I the only one? wwyd?
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2021, 11:47:58 pm »
We get lots of requests, too.  Our friends are welcome.  Our most recent visitor is a woman 3Reds often visits with during their daily walks around the neighborhood.  She's fighting an active case of cancer and has been pretty isolated, so the trip to the bee yard was a real joy for her.

We had a camera crew out at our place earlier this week, a day before the cold blew in. 

I've invited an attorney I frequently work with to visit, and he is pretty excited.

We've had our pastor, and a few other friends out.

Of course, we don't live on the property, and so their arrival is always on our schedule, not theirs. 

As far as the bee club, we founded the one in our area.  So, even though we are no longer "officially" the bee club, we feel like we are still ambassadors to beekeeping.  We still enjoy the opportunities to teach people about bees.
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Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Am I the only one? wwyd?
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2021, 10:39:05 am »
We have a beekeeping couple nearby that were once considered commercial but have cut way back due to age.  They open their apiary once a month during the spring-fall. They charge $10 per person and provide education + hands on time.  The fees collected are donated to our local bee club, but that's their choice.  I believe they are strong believers in 'Good Karma'.   O:-)
Something to consider.
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Offline Grandma Bear

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Re: Am I the only one? wwyd?
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2021, 10:09:24 pm »
DD and I have considered trying to start a beekeeping association closer to home to try and help with some of this. We don't shun folks, but the last 2 seasons it has just gotten ridiculous with the sheer number of people who want to come out. We love to educate folks about bees, and we help folks with lessons and mentoring every year...but now it's come down to folks acting as though we owe them our time and access to the property.

SIL doesn't really like many folks here because there are already so many issues with trespassers and cattle thieves, on top of the regular meth users out searching for stuff to cart off. It got so bad with folks just walking up to the house that we now have every single colony placed out of sight on the back side of the property and he worries about liability issues since here even trespassers can sue if injured on your property.

In all truth we would love to be able to do more with folks out here, but DD and SIL work leaving me with 2 tiny boys and soon a tiny girl during the day on weekdays and Saturdays. Plain and simple right now we just don't have the time to spend working with all the people who ask. Thank you for the idea Bakers! We may just have to carve out one Sunday afternoon a month and roll on with it that way. I hate telling people no (except when they are pushy and rude) so that seems like a good way to accommodate the large number of requests and weed out the ones we don't want to take on to mentor or work with.

Offline Grandma Bear

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Re: Am I the only one? wwyd?
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2021, 10:15:11 pm »
These are from one of our "apprentice days". Toward the end of the season we will have several rounds of folks come help with inspections and moving colonies if need be. Somewhere I have a picture of some of our veterans helping me move bees to an apple orchard a couple of years back.





Offline Zweefer

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Re: Am I the only one? wwyd?
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2021, 12:42:52 am »
I believe iddee had it right.
That being said, it sounds like there is a lot of interest in your area. It may be ripe for a new association to be started.  I know here in WI we have both the local and state level associations.  If that is the case for you, I would suggest getting a hold of whomever is in charge of your district at the state level and have them help with setting up a new club.  Our local rep here happens to live in my town so is a member of my association and has personally helped start three others over the last several years. 
Keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.
Henry David Thoreau
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Offline Wandering Man

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Re: Am I the only one? wwyd?
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2021, 09:04:00 am »
It’s not very hard to set up. The state organization may be a good resource for you. They helped us launch. I made the mistake of collecting dues so we could hire speakers and buy equipment for sharing. Then I had to list us with the IRS as a nonprofit. I listed us as a social organization.

My successor changed us to an educational nonprofit and told us we didn’t want to charge dues and we should seek donations. Then he quit. We are reorganizing. Everyone wants the club. No one wants the responsibility of running it.

So, my advice is to keep it as simple as you can.  Try not to do anything that will require an IRS form. And have fun getting to know your fellow beeks and beek wannabes.
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Offline Grandma Bear

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Re: Am I the only one? wwyd?
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2021, 09:19:52 am »
Maybe with all of these folks who have reached out to us over the last few years we should just start and informal gathering of the bee curious? I have zero interest in anymore IRS paperwork, I have enough of that to deal with in my businesses. DD has zero interest in formality and making rules etc. Maybe just start out with an information gathering meeting to see what kind of response we might get?

I think Missouri is trying to catch up with the states like NC who have wonderful beekeeping associations and educational programs....but we aren't NC, everything is VERY spread out once you get out of St Louis or KC areas. 4 seasons ago I had a fella and his wife drive over 2 hours every week to meet with me and learn about the bees because of the lack of clubs and mentors. I hope to see the beekeeping community pull more together around here which is part of why I have struggled so hard with telling folks no when they want to learn about bees.

Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Am I the only one? wwyd?
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2021, 09:32:29 am »
Starting a local bee club was my initial thought too, but Grandma Bear is already spread a little thin.  Should she pursue those thoughts, I would check with a state bee inspector for ideas.  That is, if you have one.  Kansas does not.  The state bee inspector would also make a great 1st speaker.
A group of Board members(beekeepers) could draw up a brief constitution. I would look for someone with bookkeeping skills.  You are going to want to set up a non-profit status.

Missouri IS spread out and the climate at the northern part of the state is much different that the southern Ozark region.  So I would have to assume that beekeeping in Trenton is much different than beekeeping in Branson.

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Offline Grandma Bear

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Re: Am I the only one? wwyd?
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2021, 09:41:38 am »
Starting a local bee club was my initial thought too, but Grandma Bear is already spread a little thin.  Should she pursue those thoughts, I would check with a state bee inspector for ideas.  That is, if you have one.  Kansas does not.  The state bee inspector would also make a great 1st speaker.
A group of Board members(beekeepers) could draw up a brief constitution. I would look for someone with bookkeeping skills.  You are going to want to set up a non-profit status.

Missouri IS spread out and the climate at the northern part of the state is much different that the southern Ozark region.  So I would have to assume that beekeeping in Trenton is much different than beekeeping in Branson.

LOL....yup Grandma Bear is most definitely spread very thin lately! I am wondering though if something along these lines may mitigate some of the issues we have with folks either pestering us to come visit. We know so many folks who keep bees within 25 miles of us that we often simply say "oh well, maybe you can contact so and so and they may have time to let you come out"....but those beeks are dealing with the same issues we are. Maybe we will figure out some way to work out an association, club, or informal gathering to share ideas and support one another.

Bakers...you are so right!! We once lived at the very northeast corner of the state and the weather there and bloom times are weeks different than the folks a few hours south of us.

Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Am I the only one? wwyd?
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2021, 04:55:39 pm »
It doesn't need to be anything formal.  Meet 4 times a year, more if there is interest.  Interested parties can meet for coffee, ask questions, share a personal experience, and talk about something timely.  Plan on meeting for an hour, stay 2 hours if you are having a good time.   At our local bee club meetings we can't get people to go home!  We get charged extra if we stay late.
Covid and winter makes it more challenging but by summer things might be better.  It will be really interesting when we are able to get together again.  No one will want to leave!
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Offline Grandma Bear

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Re: Am I the only one? wwyd?
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2021, 06:38:27 pm »
It doesn't need to be anything formal.  Meet 4 times a year, more if there is interest.  Interested parties can meet for coffee, ask questions, share a personal experience, and talk about something timely.  Plan on meeting for an hour, stay 2 hours if you are having a good time.   At our local bee club meetings we can't get people to go home!  We get charged extra if we stay late.
Covid and winter makes it more challenging but by summer things might be better.  It will be really interesting when we are able to get together again.  No one will want to leave!

I'm thinking that sounds like a great idea Bakers! Thanks  :yes: