Mentor Spotlight: Trevor Riches

Meet Trevor Riches! He started as an Apprentice with the OMB program in 2012. He is now a Journey student and mentors several Apprentices in the Sheridan area. He is among the most involved and enthusiastic beekeepers in Oregon. He is a regular attendee and volunteer at beekeeping events around the state, so be sure to introduce yourself. Be prepared for an engaging conversation about beekeeping (of course!).


How did you get started in beekeeping?

My grandfather kept honeybees and I remember him giving me pieces of honeycomb as payment for helping him with his hives. I always wanted to keep honeybees myself but life got in the way and it was not until later that I was able to do so. I took several classes, read everything I could (I have an extensive library of books on beekeeping and honey bees). I joined the Willamette Valley Beekeeping Association and took their beekeeping school and the rest, as they say, is history.

How are you involved in the beekeeping community?

  • I belong to Willamette Valley Beekeeping Association,Oregon State Beekeepers Association, American Beekeeping Federation, The International Bee Research Association, and The Cascadia Queen Rearing Association.
  • I mentor 5 students in the Oregon Master Beekeeping Program.
  • I am ready to talk bees and beekeeping with anyone who has a question.
  • I am Chair of the Fair and Events Committee for the Oregon State Beekeepers Association.
  • I am an Asst.Welsh Honey Judge after attending University of Florida Bee College this Spring and plan to be a fully Certified Welsh Honey Judge next year (2015) when I return to the University of Florida’s Bee College in St.Augustine, Florida.

How do you stay informed of new developments in beekeeping?

I subscribe to American Bee Journal, Bee Culture Magazine, Bee World(IBRA Magazine), and read the various papers from IRBA plus newsletters from the WVBA and OSBA.

Each year I attend quite a few conferences and schools/workshops.

I am constantly reading trusted internet sources.

Of course the Master Beekeepers Program website is a great source of information.

How has your beekeeping style changed over the years?

I try new concepts and new hive configurations to try to improve my ability to keep bees. To this end each year is different in some respect or another, striving towards the ultimate method(s) for looking after my bees.

What is your most proud moment in beekeeping?

A proud moment was that first jar of honey that my bees gave me! I am very proud of my students who make every effort to be good beekeepers.

What have you learned through mentoring OMB students?

That there are a lot of really nice beekeeping people out there!

What have your bees taught you?

How little I know about honey bees!

What is the number one thing that you hope your mentees learn from you?

I hope they learn how to be a enthusiastic, patient, informed beekeeper, and have to the ability to absorb new information that is creditable, and to pass this information on to new beekeepers in their turn.

Never give up, the learning curve to keeping bees can be pretty brutal. Sometimes it’s the beekeepers fault, other times Mother Nature will throw you a curve ball. Throughout it all persevere, read, and learn and you will improve.