First Year: Listen to the Bees Mentorship

First Year: Listen to the Bees Mentorship

A Mentorship Focused on the Magic & Science of Bees

This mentorship will guide you through your first year with bees so they have the best chance of living through the winter, but not only living, thriving! Learning will take place both via Zoom and in-person hive inspections in a collaborative matter where you learn not only from Jennifer, the instructor, but from the other mentees and the bees themselves.

Listening to the bees means:

  • Being in touch with what’s going on in the environment (weather, day length, and food supply) in the current week/month.  
  • Inspecting and observing what the bees are doing in response to that environment.  
  • Figuring out what we, as beekeepers, can do to help the bees accomplish what they are working at and mitigate extreme weather, disasters, & mite levels.

The 8-month beginning mentorship will take place mid-March – mid-November to guide you smoothly through your first year with bees. You will:

  • Learn to be comfortable inspecting, including how to use the tools smoothly, keep the bees calm, and what to look for in the hive
  • Be able to ask questions each step of the way, so you know whether what you see is normal for your bees or warrants attention/help.
  • Learn how to test and manage for varroa mites, the number one killer of bees in the East Bay, so your hive stays healthy.
  • Start to learn the different seasons and what the bees are doing. March – June the focus is getting comfortable with the bees and swarm prevention. July-October, as the food supply lessens, the focus becomes mite management, defense, and preparing for winter.

One focus of this mentorship is time in the presence of the bees to pay attention to them and learn to read their behavior.  Inspections will be in small groups of 4-5 people.

The mentorship fosters a warm, fun community of beekeepers that care deeply about their bees. If you listen to other people’s experiences with their hives, you will know what to do in the future if a similar thing happens to your hive. Mentees get to know each other and sometimes help each other inspect, loan equipment, and share extra splits of bees.

What’s Included in the Mentorship:

Personal Help with Your Hive

  • Email/text me detailed questions about your hives throughout the mentorship.
  • I visit each mentee’s hive during the mentorship as part of the hive inspection classes.


  • In-Person Hive Inspection Classes 1.5-2 hrs each
    • We will set dates for 6-7 hive inspections, but weather may cancel 1-2.
    • Hive inspections happen on Saturdays/Sundays between 11am and 4pm, tentatively starting on March 16 or 17.
  • Questions About Your Hive Zoom – 1.5-2 hrs
    Twice per month at 6pm on Wednesday evenings
    We’ll start out with a 30-60 minute class on pertinent topics. For the last hour, we’ll go around and each person gets to ask questions about their hive, and plan for next steps.
    Tentative starting dates: March 13th (Intro & Prep for Inspecting), April 3rd (Preparing for your bees)
  • Homework: Monthly exercise to observe your bees and/or the environment.
  • Access to Jennifer’s Book: Bay Area Beekeeping Guide for Urban Backyard Beekeepers: a monthly roadmap of what to do with your bees
  • Access to Jennifer’s Self-Study Classes on:

Recordings of everything: organized and easily accessible in an online school portal!

Learn everything you need to keep your bees alive and healthy your first year!
(This would take you 5-10 years to learn on your own.)

Mentorship Price:

The 2024 mentorship is sliding scale ($160-200/month for 8 months) which allows you to choose what you pay.  Generous mentees pay higher on the scale which allows the mentorship to be more accessible to people who can’t pay as much.

What Do Students Say About the Mentorship?
Click here to see testimonials from past students & see how they describe it in their own words.

Mentorship Application

What About Mentorships Past the First Year?

I have 2nd, 3rd, & 4+ year mentorships as well. Use the application above to apply for them as well.

The 1st & 2nd year mentorships build a strong foundation of skills like keeping the bees calm when inspecting, spotting your queen, making splits, evaluating queen and hive health, varroa mite management, and swarm prevention.The 3rd and 4th year are for more experienced beekeepers where we dive deeper into bee biology and strategy/philosophy, raise queen cells, and experiment with new things.


  • Email me your questions:

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