A Branch of the British Columbia Honey Producers Association

Beekeepers Mentorship Program

Program Guidelines of the Mentor Program

Program Description

This program operates under the oversight of a Mentor Manager who works with several Mentor Advisors. The Mentor Advisors each maintain communication with up to three Mentors that are paired with two New Beekeepers. 

It is not the responsibility of the mentor to maintain the new beekeepers hive. The mentor is to assist in the search for knowledge by answering questions and to help the new beekeeper to think BEE by suggesting different ideas and paths to explore. The mentor should not have to spend a great deal of time with new beekeepers. Most communication should be by telephone or email. The new beekeeper should plan to visit the mentor’s apiary where the mentor can demonstrate, explain and answer questions about their management practices. The new beekeeper can then put into practice, in their own apiary, what they have learned. 

Mentor Responsibilities:

  • A minimum of five years continuous successful beekeeping experience.
  • Inform mentor advisor about concerns and successes under the program.
  • Contact assigned new beekeepers to discuss and agree upon a preferred time and type of communication.
  • Guide and assist new beekeeper in all aspects of their first two years of beekeeping. Help new beekeepers solve their own problems.
  • Invite new beekeepers to watch or participate when conducting hive management activities in mentor's apiary, or visit new beekeeper’s apiary.
  • Commit to mentoring for a minimum of 2 years.
  • Strongly encourage new beekeepers to become mentors when qualified.
  • Mentors strive to respond to new beekeeper concerns within 24 hours.
  • The mentor manager should be informed if these responsibilities are not being met.

Kamloops Beekeepers Club Responsibilities:

  • Provide opportunities for education of accepted beekeeping practices.
  • Schedule seasonal field days and education sessions to enable senior beekeepers to share their beekeeping experience.
  • Promote and encourage sustainable beekeeping.

Mentee Responsibilities:

  • Register apiary and comply with provincial and local requirements for keeping bees in BC, and in a municipality.
  • Must be a member of the Kamloops Beekeepers Club and attend regular meetings and field days.
  • Successfully completion of a recognized beekeeping course.
  • Commit to the two years of participation in the mentor program.
  • Respect mentor's time and privacy, and practice punctuality when visiting mentor’s apiary.
  • Have all equipment assembled, painted and ready for package or nuc before install date.
  • Read from various sources (books, class material, magazines, internet) of beekeeping information. Recognize that beekeeping is a lifelong commitment to learning.
  • Keep records of beekeeping and hive activity for review by new beekeeper and mentor.
  • Learn what to look for during a hive inspection.
  • Observe natural cycle of local plants, and flowers blooming.
  • Seriously consider becoming a mentor when qualified in the future.
  • Make an effort contribute to club projects (field days, Day of The Honeybee etc).

Beekeeper Mentorship Program Links

This is a list or resources as links that are suggested for the BITs “Beekeepers-In-Training”, in conjunction with the Mentorship Program.


  1. Extension University and Ask an Expert (articles, webinars, seminars, videos, ask an expert) http://www.extension.org/bee_health
  2. BCHPA http://www.bcbeekeepers.com/ 
  3. BC Ministry of Agriculture (Apiculture) http://www.agf.gov.bc.ca/apiculture/ 
  4. American Bee Federation (archived ABF Convention education seminars) http://www.abfnet.org/ 
  5. Andy Giger’s B-Eye http://andygiger.com/science/beye/beyehome.html and http://andygiger.com/science/beye/beyeold.html 


Scholarly Papers

  1. Diurnal Behavioural Differences in Forager and Nurse Honey Bees Apis Mellifera Carnica (K Crailsheim, N Hrassnigg, A Stabentheiner) Adipologie 1996 27 235-244
  2. The honeybee queen influences the regulation of colony drone production (Wharton/Dyer/Huang/Getty) Oxford Journal of Behavioral Ecology Vol. 18 Issue. 06, 2007 http://m.beheco.oxfordjournals.org/content/18/6/1092
  3. The Ups and Downs of Bee Navigation (Laura Blackburn) Journal of Experimental Biology doi: 10.1242/jeb.002089March 1, 2007J Exp Biol 210, 845-853
    http://jeb.biologists.org/content/210/5/845.full research paper http://jeb.biologists.org/content/210/5/i.2.full article
  4. Vision and air flow combine to streamline flying honeybees (Taylor/Luu/Ball/Srinivasan) Nature’s Scientific Reports: Scientific Reports 3; Article 2614; 10 Sep 2013 doi:10.1038/srep02614