Beekeeping should bee fun

If it’s not fun, you’re doing it wrong.

Burn out in beekeeping is one of the most common problems beekeeping as a practice has to contend with.  Whether it’s due to frustration with bee dilemmas, dealing with other beekeepers, access to or lack of access, to research and quality information, it can get to you.

You need to make it fun to have longevity as a beekeeper.  Bees can be ornery stinkers, foul tempered and obstinate just as easily as they can be industrious, docile and endearing.  I like to encourage people to engage with the colonies like you would a dog or other animal.  I admit to the habit of talking, even arguing with my bees.  Why?  Because it’s fun.

Being a professional apiarist can be even more stressful.  There are expectations of you by the customers and clients who are paying you.  You likely have pretty high expectations of yourself knowing how your actions and advice can influence and affect others.    Take my advice, keep things low key.  Build being a relaxed, and humor having type of personality with your base.  Your attitude will set the pace for everyone else.  If you keep things relaxed and low stress, others will tend to follow along.  After all, you are the expert.  Lead by example.  It works the same with people as it does with bees.  If you stay calm, they will too in most cases.

Regardless of whether you are a professional or a hobbyist, let your passion take the lead from time to time.  Let yourself be excited and enthusiastic while working  on beekeeping “stuff”.  It’s fine to be stoic and straight-laced when it’s called for.  You are involved in one of the world’s oldest and oft considered “wildest” activities endeavors.  This almost demands that you allow a bit of your eccentricities off the leash unless entirely inappropriate (like at a funeral or a bank loan meeting).

And truly, don’t let stupid suck you in.  There will be people, there will ALWAYS be people, who feel the need to contradict, argue, nag, be contentious, etc… that want to make your life a drag, especially in front of others.  That’s how they build themselves up, by bringing others down. Even in beekeeping, walk away from the stupid.  You can’t fix it, it will not only win, it will try to get it’s hooks into your head too.  Just learn to let things go and just like live bee removals, you can’t save them all.  It’s hard, I know, oh boy, do I ever know.  My truck…. start telling the horniest, worst bee puns you can think of.  Just see how bad you can make them.  Once you’ve gotten yourself to make or even laugh at yourself over those, you’ll be OK.

Beekeeping should be fun.  Bee classes, bee clubs, bee meetings etc… should all be fun.  If not, someone’s doing something wrong.

Author: Big Bear

Owner of BBE-Tech Apiary Services and professional apiarist. Beekeeping instructor at Metro Community College. Exec. Producer, Director and Host of Bee Smart beekeeping project podcast and videos.

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