I was lucky enough to attend another round of Bee School these past three weekends, which finished up yesterday. So. Much. FUN!
I got in touch with my teacher earlier in the year about my losing my hives in the fire and along with advice and commiserations, he offered a spot in this season's classes to help keep my skills up. So whilst this round was a generous freebie, once again I can happily say: bee school is the best school!
The location had changed - closer to home in a pretty riverside setting, and conveniently located next to my GP... not that one was required ;) - however the format was very similar to last time round. We suited up early on the first morning, and had plenty of time at the hives during all three lessons. I am such a fan of this type of immersion class - book-learning on my lonesome is my happy place... BUT when it comes to a skill like beekeeping, I really believe you need hands-on experience with a teacher guiding you, in the moment. You need the same things shown to you week after week until they have time to sink in. You need repetition, clear examples, and a teacher with endless patience for the "stupid questions". I'm not sure I would have the confidence to open a hive on my own if it weren't for this early guidance through the process before tackling it solo.
By week three, everyone was confidently lighting smokers, opening hives, conducting hive inspections and even helping our teacher transfer a swarm hive into a new box. I'm sure many of us will realise we still have questions now that the course has ended, but they'll be questions we might not have thought to ask (or known WHO to ask) before taking the course. And isn't that great?!?! To realise that, actually, there's HEAPS I don't know and I want to learn the answers. My mind is wandering to Rumsfeld's "known knowns, known unknowns, unknown unknowns" tangled truism, but it is so very true. Part of learning is realising how much more learning there is still to do.
Anyhoo, if you're interested in exactly how the course runs, you can check out my previous post and further information about the course can be found on the Canberra Bees website. While you're there, I definitely suggest joining the forum because it's an amazing source of information and support if you're starting out in beekeeping. Much of the advice is Canberra-region specific, but the "Renegade Bee Keeper" (or RBK, who runs the site) is unbelievably generous with his expertise and I'm sure he would happily help people further afield if he can. And because I've heard from lots of readers who've bought or been gifted a Flow Hive, I should mention that it's also a great spot to get advice about using, and adapting, Flow Hives.
And for all you beeple-people, a little bit of #queenspotting to end the post...