Beekeeper Life-Long Learning

Thursday 20 April 2023

Beekeeping is not an activity conducted in isolation.  Honey bees range over great distances and there is often overlap in foraging activity with neighbouring beekeepers.  This forced, resource sharing is perhaps why our community is so welcoming of new beekeepers and willing to engage in collective educational activities.  An understanding that we are all in this together.  This is also shown through frequent beekeeping congregations held to mingle and learn.  Through this blog, we report on these specifically when they occur and there seems to always be something happening!

Beekeeper Life-Long Learning 

Last week in the Atlantic region, there were two meetings to discuss beekeeping and pollination.  Held in Prince Edward Island, both were well attended, informative events.  On Friday, the Wild Blueberry Growers Association organized a meeting titled “Wild Blueberry Information Day and AGM”.  Alongside the meeting was also a tradeshow with important supporters of the wild blueberry industry in attendance.  The goal of the meeting was to provide an update on the current wild blueberry industry in PEI.  This was provided through an introduction and welcome from the current PE WBGA president, Benny Nabuurs and a market report, given By Gilbert Lavoie.  An update on the overall North American wild blueberry industry was also provided by Neri Vautour (Wild Blueberry Association of North America).  Information specific to beekeeping was supplied by Cameron Menzies (PEI Department of Agriculture and Land) and the Atlantic Tech Transfer Team for Apiculture.

The following day, a well attended workshop was conducted in partnership with ATTTA and the PEI Beekeepers Association.  Saturday morning was spent in an engaging conversation with a large group of new beekeepers (and some old ones😊).  This was a great demonstration of the enthusiasm for beekeeping and related learning opportunities in PEI. The discussion ranged across many aspects of beekeeping, including queen outdoor overwintering and mite control.

Figure 1 Beekeepers attending the Atlantic Bee Tour 2022, engaged in learning!

The enthusiasm shown in PEI for beekeeping is shared across the whole region.  As ATTTA travels to attend meetings and provide training there are always new beekeepers in attendance.  Most of these events are organized by industry associations and these groups have a number of upcoming events in the works this season.  As a new beekeeper, the best way to engage with the industry is through your provincial associations.  So, make sure that you are a member to open the doors to great social, educational and professional happenings.

Another important aspect of the life-long learning that is beekeeping, is to ensure that you have a mentor.  Every beekeeper, no matter the length of their experience, should have someone with whom they can discuss the challenges of this unique enterprise.  All of the beekeeping associations have a process to support new beekeepers in gaining a mentor.  So, if you haven’t already, take advantage of this opportunity.  In a recent conversation with a seasoned beekeeper with decades of experience, the question was posed, “how long does it take to become a good beekeeper?”  After a moment’s reflection, the answer was, “I don’t know yet!”  The best beekeepers are the ones who understand there is always more to learn.

Reminder – the registration for the Fundamentals of Beekeeping is open!  Details can be found here or by contacting Dalhousie University directly.  

Connecting with ATTTA Specialists

If you’d like to connect with ATTTA specialists or learn more about our program, you can: