I wanted to share my recipe that I have used to train 50 plus beekeepers over the last 2 years helped them get from zero knowledge to a intermediate level.
For the last 2 years been having 1-week interns that stay on my ranch and live and breath bees for the time they are here. They accompany me on rescues, hive inspections, build equipment and visit clients.
I start my student out by watching More than honey and Vanishing of the Bees. Both are great movies that present the plight of the bees and some of the causes. They also have great images that help people get ready to work with bees. Then we read Beekeeping for Dummies. This book is great as it is laid out well and covers all the basics.
From here it is time to get into the hives. Most beekeepers have one hive that they check 6-8 times a year. This limits how quickly you can gain knowledge about bees. We try to get into at least 25 hives during the week period with several inspections and lots of rescues. The rescues are great because you see where and how the bees live without a beekeeper.
After one week my students generally have the equivalent of 1 years beekeeping experience. For those who don’t want to rough it on the ranch for a week I am working on an alternative program. I will be hosting several events this year to help move new beekeepers in to the intermediate stage.
I will also be inviting people to various rescues. I will personally invite people as I am able but most notices will be made on the google group. https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/bee-rescue. Rescues will start in ernest in February and continue
I will also have several sale days at Island Seed and Feed where I will bring equipment and bees for sale. That’s right this year I am going to be selling bees. My plan is to take rescued bees back to my hospital apiary and watch them for 3 weeks then find them a new home. Let me know if you would like to be on the waiting list. If you are looking for bees for the spring please consider buying 1 or more swarm traps. The swarm traps work great and will get you the bees you need and it is reusable. I recommend that anyone keeping bees have a swarm trap to help reduce some of the nuisance and fear that a swarm can create in our neighbors. We hope to place 100 swarm traps in and around Santa Barbara this year and if we have success like last year this will translate into lots of colonies available.