I am considering beekeeping, but I live in an urban area? Is it possible to do this? How do I get started? How much does it cost? Thanks.
Go for it. I started last year with just 1 hive in my backyard. I live in a city and have lots of people around me. I *DO* have a privacy fence that forces the bees to fly above people's heads as they leave my yard. It was such a successful year that I'm putting in a second hive. I'm using Buckfast bees and got 2 supers of honey out of my hive last year (their installation year) so they worked pretty hard for me. It was a very wet spring and summer so I had lots of clover nearby for them to work on. Hope it works good for you.
I'd be interested to know how you started your first hive. Did you start with a nuc or packaged bees and queen? I always encourage startup beekeepers to start with packaged bees on new foundation even if it's a little riskier. There's nothing like watching the progress of 3 pounds of bees on sheets of wax, turn it into comb and fill it with pollen, honey and brood. It's a great way to see the whole process from the very start, just as it would be for a new swarm. I learned so much my first year by looking into the hive every chance I could and follow the changes taking place. Inspite of my intrusions, the colony grew and was in great shape heading into winter. The other advantage by going this route is you won't end up inheriting another beekeepers diseases that could be on the frames from the nuc.
Yes I had a 3 lb. package w/queen. Everything was new...brood supers, frames, foundation...the works. A good friend gave me the hive kit as a Xmas present and got me started down the slippery slope.
I was very fortunate in having a good year for bees here in Oklahoma. It really helped me to give my hive a good start. The only blip in the process happened the first week after installing the package. My friend had given me foundation without crimp wires and no edge banding. Just a plastic sheet with foundation imprints. When I installed the package half of the foundations failed and fell down from the top bar. But I didn't find out until I got into the hive the next week. The bees had already started their own comb and I had to remove all foundation and start over again. Fortunately I had another brood super and Duragilt foundation ready to go right away. After switching everything the bees took off and never looked back.
I estimate I got around 60-70 lbs of honey my first year. It has been a very enjoyable hobby so far. I'm glad my friend got me started in it!
Anothr suggestion on "getting started" is to
join a local organization composed of experienced BeeKeepers, as immaterial of how many books you read on the subject,I have found that there is no substitute from learning from someone who has been through it all.
By all means do it! You'll love it once you get started. I would advise you to get a few cheap books though. They will, at the very least, get you familiar with the terminology in the business. Once you get started and see the wonderful little creatures are you'll be hooked! I got started with the help of another beekeeper. He set me up with an old hive and I put it on my roof (in a protected sunny area). Don't discount the fact that you'r in an urban area, it's a plus! The bees will have everyones fruit trees, yard flowers and vegitables to pollinate year round. My urban roof top hive makes hundreds of pounds of honey every year in So Cal where I live.
My advice is- Read up, get a hive, and experiment. Don't be afraid to get in the hive and dig come spring time. Observation will teach you as much as reading.
Enjoy and God bless! HarrisHives@aol.com
You can keep bees most ANYWHERE - but sometimes it's best not to let your neighbors see your hives everyday. Your bees will suddenly become the reason why they were stung 2 miles away, and why the kids won't go outside. Before you beekeep, plan the site and build privacy fences. Make the bees fly up (6'-8') before they go out and your whole neighborhood will stay 'quiet'.
We had fifteen hives on a downtown (still relatively rural community here in Castle Rock, CO) property and was forced to move them off. The neighboring carwash owner saw the hives once my trees (15-20' row) lost their leaves. He never saw a single bee, but wanted to force the issue. Now I have to fight town hall to return them.
....\\....to your feeder"
..........Castle Rock, CO