A mentor is a person who can show you their hives, look in your hives, and/or answer questions via email and phone. If you’ve only ever read books, listened to presentations, viewed slides, mucked about on your own, or watched — God forbid — YouTube, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you can learn after getting a mentor. The key ingredient needed for learning about bees? Work with bees. That makes sense, right? But if you only have a few hives and have been instructed to only open a hive once every three weeks (and then only keep it open for 15 minutes max), how can you learn what you need to? The benefit of having a willing mentor is incalculable.
But what about your mentor? Do you, the needy protegé, just get all this for nothing — like winning a lottery? The prize of “x” amount of advice per month, for life? Hopefully not. Some people give their mentor homemade pies or jams. Some pay them for gas or bring a six-pack. Some mentors need help with heavy lifting. Perennials have been known to change hands. Very rarely is a per-hour fee charged.
And you, mentors, you shouldn’t let yourselves get burned out. You are needed! If you feel you’re being taken advantage of, speak up! People are generally nice, but sometimes they don’t think and simply need a friendly nudge.