View Full Version : What's a good time to start for beginner in Florida?

08-11-2002, 02:34 PM

I'm thinking of starting my first hive in Central Florida, and very soon. Is it too late in the season to establish a hive in late August or beginning September? Or should I wait until spring or a better time?

Any input is appreciated.


08-11-2002, 02:49 PM
Entropy, it would seem to me that spring would be the best time to actually get bees. Up here, (Maine) it is far too late to start a colony. Obviously I cannot talk to conditions in Florida, I'm sure though that someone more familiar with the state will give you more advice.
This is the perfect time to start doing your research and making decisions, how many hives, what type of bee, ect.
Florida sounds like a perfect place to keep bees. Short, mild winters, long growing seasons. I'm sure like anything else there are disadvantages, but hey, let's think positive right?
Anyway, great to have you aboard. Stick around, let us know what you decide. Definitely give it a try. I can't tell you how much I enjoy my bees, and I think everyone here would say the same.

Talk with you soon. Good luck.


Maine-ly Bees
David Wallace and Family
Bowdoinham, ME

Michael Bush
08-14-2002, 06:11 AM
I was hoping someone from Florida would answer your question. Since I'm not from there I have no real idea of the weather, the honey flow etc.

If you live in a climate where it never freezes, I would guess you could start anytime, (if you can get bees) but if there's no honey flow you'll have to feed the bees both syrup (or honey if you have it) and pollen substitue (or pollen if you have it) until there is a honey flow. If that's not for several months it could be a lot of work and responsibility.

If you don't have any bees now, I would suggest an observation hive and start it now. That way you can see if there's pollen coming in, and feed it if there isn't, and honey coming in, and feed it if there isn't. If you're feeding sugar syrup you can tell the difference in color of the honey, but generally if there's pollen coming in (yellow to orange colored granular stuff in there legs and they store it in a paste of honey in the cells), then there is probably honey coming in.

You'll learn more in a observation hive in a month than in several years of raising them in regular hives.

If you can't put it in the house you can put it on the north side of a building where it gets shade all day.

I wish I knew more about Florida to give better advice.

08-14-2002, 10:40 AM
At the moment I'm leaning towards buying an established hive with a brood chamber, and then adding additional chambers. I found a supplier about an hour away who boasts having over 1000 active hives. However, I'm still awaiting his reply to my questions.

Since I'm currently looking to do this as a hobby and a learning experience, I have no problems with feeding the bees a sugar syrup for the time being.

Thanks for everyone's help.

E-Commerce Solutions

09-01-2002, 07:43 AM
Entropy: If you have acquired the above hive, begin treating immediately for the small hive beetle. They are devestating to hives in Fla. Roy

09-01-2002, 11:16 AM
before you invest a single dime into some thing you don't know the first thing about I would find a close beekeeper to help you.
you might be buying more then a stand of bees.advice is lot cheaper then a mistake.
48yrs experence=talking=Don

09-01-2002, 11:42 AM
All great advice!

I've talked to a local beekeeper a while ago and figured out that right now isn't a good time to start a hive. He also is currently feeding his bees sugar syrup. So, I'll wait until March or April it seems.

He did mention he lost 15 of his 20 hives to Hive Beetles last year, so I have looked into that aspect a bit. Though I suspect I'll be posting a question later on how best to prevent or minimize those.

Thank You

09-01-2002, 12:21 PM
Entrophy: Roy here again, live in P'cola and small hive beetles cleaned me out before I realized they had infested the hive. Lost two established hives and one strong spring swarm. Beetles became so bad the bees abscounded. Don't know of any solution other than constant chemical applications.

11-10-2002, 01:51 PM
I live in Lake City (north Florida) and started beekeeping last spring. I bought nuc's (10) and now have 10 healthy colonies. I plan to treat with FGMO (tomorrow, in fact) since the inspector found a few varroa and a few shb. This past year, some colonies produced a surplus and some did not. Perhaps I should have fed longer this spring.... not sure, I DO know that I will be feeding some this fall since I harvested some of the surplus!

good luck! BTW, as I meant to have included in the post, I had thought for years about starting w/ bees but season was always "wrong". Last year, I made a deposit for nuc's with two different "bee guys" (Found through Dadant, in High Springs. Things worked out VERY well! Hope this is some help.