MENTORING / I owe so much to Erika WainDecker of Klausesbees, who mentored me in beekeeping.
After attending a year of “Beekeeper 101” classes hosted by the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association and reading everything “bee” I could get my hands on, I set up a beehive that failed within six months. I searched for a beekeeper mentor who would let me tag along in the field, give me real hands-on experience and answer my many questions. I met Erika at farmer’s market stalls and at LACBA meetings. She generously offered her time and shared her knowledge with me on forays at hundreds of hives across two counties. It provided a huge leap for me in applied learning and understanding about beekeeping.
I initially joined her at Klausesbees Cow Hill apiary, my first time at a large field area beekeeping operation. I participated in overall visual maintenance of the hives, learning what to look flight patterns and studied behavior at the hive entrance. I learned proper use of the hive tools and smoker. The day’s job was focused on splitting hives, making two out of one where needed. I learned to clean the wax off the inside lids for later melting, and how to checker brood and queen laying patterns.
Mary Beth Murrill ~M