Last Saturday I taught two sessions at the Kalamazoo Club’s annual bee school. This Saturday I’m teaching two at Albion’s bee school. I’m glad I’m an instructor because I learn so much.
I know that’s likely not what you want to hear from an instructor—that she’s still in the steep part of the learning curve—but continued education is one of the blessings of honeybees!
Part of my on-going education comes from questions from students, and part comes from conversations with other beekeepers. An often-cited frustration about beekeeping is the variety of opinions, usually offered as absolutes. On Saturday I asked two experienced beekeepers how to do a fairly advanced maneuver. I got two different, contradictory answers—each different from what a master beekeeper had once instructed told me. One thing you need to learn early in beekeeping is that there’s generally more than one way to skin a cat.
As the bitter cold continues to threaten honeybees, there isn’t much any of us can do for them now. But, we can think about the soon-to-come (right?) spring season. I’ve always appreciated this quote from Ralph Ziegler, published in the October 1925 edition of Modern Beekeeping.
“…we are inclined to wonder how many of those who started with bees last spring are still beginners and how many are real beekeepers.
All have no doubt made mistakes.
Those who have blamed themselves for their errors, taking steps to correct them and prevent their happening again are real beekeepers, while those who blame the bees, the weather, the package bee shipper, the equipment manufacturers and everything else in sight are still just beginners.”
As we look forward and plan for the season ahead, let’s keep learning how can better keep this critical insect.