Ontario Finger Lakes Beekeepers Association

Helping the Honey Bee thru education of beekeeper and the public.

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 Ontario Finger Lakes Beekeepers Association

Mentor Expectations

The goal of these expectations is to show what is expected of the mentors as a minimum. These are guidelines for the mentors to follow to ensure the new beekeeper is support at least 1 full year of beekeeping. By following these guidelines, both the mentor and the beginner will have the same expectations and as a result should eliminate any issues with regards what the OFLBA, the Mentor and the beginner beekeeper expect of each other.

We the OFLBA ask the following of the Beginner Beekeeper:

  • Please keep in mind the mentor service provide by the OFLBA is free, the mentors are volunteers and are not paid anything for being a mentor to you. With that in mind, please remember the mentors have jobs, families and other obligations that may not allow them to be available to you 24/7/365. Please respect that.
  • Please plan ahead for your time with your mentor. Have your equipment and gear ready to go. The less time getting ready while the mentor is with you, the more time learning and hands on with your bees. Also, have your questions ready, we suggest writing them down in advance.
  • Please do not rely on your mentor for all of your info for keeping bees. Your mentor is your guide, please use all of the resources you have to do research, learn and find answers you have in addition to asking your mentor. There is much more to beekeeping then the beginner class and your mentor can provide you. Never stop learning.
  • Please take detailed notes about your hive, such as dates of inspection, what you found during the inspection, age of the queen, queen marked or unmark, fresh eggs found, anything out of the norm and the progress of filling the boxes. It greatly helps to number your hives and to mark the numbers on the hives themselves. Also keep notes on key points your mentor provides you.

We the OFLBA ask the following of the Mentor:

Please visit the new beekeepers location using this as a guideline:

  • January – March, check in with the new beekeeper, see if the hive needs feeding.
  • Spring, do a hive inspection after the winter, talk to them about doing splits, managing swarms, supering up and spring feeding.
  • Sept-Oct, assist the new beekeeper in closing their hives up for the winter; ensure they have enough honey and ventilation. Protect hives from mice and falling over from wind. Explain how to check to see if it is alive during the winter.
  • Early August, cover pulling honey and extracting. If possible, invite the new beekeeper to participate in a honey extraction with you. Inspect the hive, ensure it is ready for heading into the winter.
  • June, within 1-2 weeks of hiving the bees, do first inspection, ensure a laying queen and the bees are drawing out comb. Go over when to add another box. Mark queen(optional). Cover when to stop feeding. Help new beekeeper deal with potential pests such as hive beetles, bald face hornets, ants or mites.
  • May, within 1 week after bees arrive. Help them hive their bees. Give advice on feeding the bees.
  • April, at least 2 weeks before the bees come, to go over hive placement and site preparations. Ensure they have all needed equipment and it is ready. Remind them to place nuc’s on top of the hive.
  • Be available by phone to answer new beekeeper questions and help with hive inspections as needed.
  • If possible give the new beekeeper some hive inspection experience in your apiary, this would be good if you have multiple new beekeepers, you could have a few over at a time.
  • Please plan ahead and let the new beekeeper know if you will be unavailable or away for several days, line up someone else to help them during this time.
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