BEE BUDDY PROGRAM
What is a Bee Buddy? A Bee Buddy (BB) is an NCBA member helping a new member who has completed the formal Beginner Beekeeper’s Class, i.e., Student Buddy (SB) They support the ongoing mentoring provided by the class instructor functioning as a quick “go-to” person for quick questions, clarification, and other activities based on how much support and expertise the Bee Buddy is able to provide. In addition, this program will help integrate new beekeepers into the NCBA.
Preferred Requirements: Ideally, a past graduate of the NCBA Beginner Beekeeping Class instructed by Carolina Nyrady, DVM but anyone interested in helping a new beekeeper is welcome!
Preferred Experience: One full year of beekeeping in Northern Colorado.
Other: High motivation to help another bee class graduate with the first April – October of beekeeping. The Bee Buddy (BB) is ideally located geographically close to the matched Student Buddy (SB) to expedite a bee yard visit if necessary and share specific geographic and environmental knowledge specific to the Student Buddy’s bee yard geographic area, (foraging, wind, bears, etc.)
Bee Anatomy and stages of bee growth
Basic colony initial, first-year growth
New hive installation
Read a frame for “queen right”
Understand good brooding patterns
Read for parasites/varroa
Seasonal Nutrition (sugar syrup ratios/usage of pollen patties and winter food)
Honey Flow/Forage Northern Colorado
- Bee Buddies will be recruited annually during February and March, just prior to the package pickup in April and installation of a brand-new package and hive by the students.
- At the end of the Beginning Beekeepers’ Class, students will be asked if they want a Bee Buddy.
- Bee Buddies and Student Buddies are first matched based on geographic areas if possible.
- The Program Coordinator for the Beginner Beekeeping Class will “route” geographically compatible Buddies to students in the corresponding areas.
- Both the BB and SB are expected to initial the initial conversation.
- Buddies and Students will connect outside the services of the NCBA and determine extent of relationship, i.e., quick calls, hive observations or checks, etc. based on the individual expertise of the Bee Buddy and how much time the Bee Buddy wants to provide to the student.
- A Bee Buddy can take on as many students as they would like.
How does Mentoring different from a Bee Buddy? In general, the difference is the level of expertise provided and length of time of the relationship. Sometimes, a mentor may mentor for several years or as requested by the mentee. The Bee Buddy program is designed to be short term and cognizant of time requirements.
Should a bee buddy be paid or compensated in some manner? Payment, compensation or in-kind payment is up to the Bee Buddy. In setting up this program, it was felt the relationship would be less time-intensive than mentoring. Students may decide what time of acknowledgment to the Bee Buddy determined on quality of expertise, time provided, and relationship, or the Bee Buddy main deem a hive inspection may request compensation for time, travel, etc.
What a Bee Buddy is not. The Bee Buddy is not designed as a hive check service unless that is the direction the Bee Buddy wishes to take. The BB primary relationship is one of encouragement and verification of beehive management during the first year.
I’m a Student Buddy. How should I prepare for a Bee Buddy?
Try not to be shy. Be brave enough to ask questions and reach out. Every question is a GREAT question. All questions will make you a better beekeeper!
Take time to be specific on what you are observing in the hive or what you are asking.
Demonstrate you are showing what you have learned in the beekeeping class.
Be as clear and concise if possible.
I want to be a Bee Buddy. How do I get started?
Review your skills and bee management strengths.
Determine your personal grounds rules for the relationship. Decide how far you want to drive, frequency of communication, type of preferred communication, etc.
Consider how you will recognize the skills and efforts of your Bee Buddy.
Contact the NCBA Bee Buddy Committee Lead.
Are there “hours” requirements? No. Each Bee Buddy is giving of their own time and knowledge. It is up to the BB to determine how much phone, text or visit time they can provide.
How involved is the NCBA with the project? The NCBA will not be monitoring the program beyond the initial matching email. It is up to the SB and BB to communicate and determine a relationship.
What are things a Bee Buddy may be asked?
How to install a new queen
Laying patterns and Queen-right status
Increasing boxes after initial installation
How to do a particular mite treatment
When/how to administer syrup
Verifying when to put on a honey super
What happens if the relationship is not a “fit”?
Sometimes that happens based on personalities, logistics, time, etc. It is important that both the Bee Buddy and Student Buddy feel comfortable setting boundaries and terminating a buddy relationship in an amicable fashion.
Differences Between a Bee Buddy and Mentor
|When does the relationship start||After completion of the Beginner Beekeeping Class and before the first installation if possible||Any time of year depending on availability of a mentor and expeditious of communication|
|Time Requirements||Shorter sessions, via phone or text||Longer, teaching sessions – 15 minutes to 1-2 hours depending on the mentee needs|
|Length of Relationship (Varies)||Generally, Apr – Oct for the first year of beekeeping, but may extend into a longer-term mentoring relationship if both agree||The Mentee usually defines the longevity of the relationship and when to end. A Mentor may have a pre-designed program of study or learning to offer.|
|Who initiates the relationship||Both||Mentee|
|Who ends the relationship||Either||Mentee|
|Style of Conversation||General Need/Quick Response or referral||Q/A – Socratic method in general|
Disclaimer: The Bee Buddy Program is an adjunct to the Beginner Beekeeping Class. The NCBA, Bee Buddy Program or the Bee Buddy is not responsible for the Student Buddy’s hive management or failure.
To request a Bee buddy (mentor light) or to be a Mentor – email email@example.com