Hi, I'm thinking of starting next spring. I've tried to contact local beekepers but they seem to be in the bee-removal service. I'd like to find out any local conditions and problems for the area.
Also, the bee suppliers I've found on the web seem to ship in April- my fruit trees start blooming late Feb early March. Is there any supplier that ships early? Thanks for any help. Dave
If you act right now, now is a great time to get bees. Considered Top Bar Hives? Look at that discussion group for lots of references. It takes about a week to read all the material you can, after that you really aren't going to learn a whole lot more until you get some bees. So I would start working on getting them now. The season for starting a new hive started 2 weeks ago and will last for another month to 6 weeks. So get prepared to do it now.
As far as getting bees in February. Unless you have a local beekeeper willing to sell you a whole hive as is, then the answer is no. Bee suppliers don't ship bees until late march, early april. Its a matter of seasonal management, they wouldn't be doing their own bees a favor by taking from them so soon.
Look into the TopBarHive route. A hive can cost as little as $25 dollars if made from new materials, and the bees will cost between $30 and $60 per package depending on who you get them from and their pedegree.
Michael Bush on this board is supplying NUCs, and BuckeyeBee sells packages. There are lots of other suppliers and I don't intentionally leave them out. These two are the ones I am most familiar with.
Scot Mc Pherson
"Linux is a Journey, not a Guided Tour" ~ Me
"Do or not do, there is no try" ~ Master Yoda
[This message has been edited by Scot Mc Pherson (edited April 19, 2004).]
I am not in your area, so I can't offer direct help. However, you are on the right track looking for local associations, and I suspect there will be responses from people on this forum. I did a Google search and came up with several hits, including the California State Beekeepers Assn at http://www.californiastatebeekeepers.com/
As the previous response suggests, if you want bees in February you need to get them going this season. Given that you have flowers in February, I'd suspect that your Winter shouldn't pose a huge challenge. If you start now you'll have that much more time to enjoy the bees.
As for top bar hives, my personal opinion is that new beekeepers should stick with standard equipment when they're getting started so that they can relate to the reference material that's available. This is an illustration of what you'll run into with beekeepers ... ask ten beekeepers a question and you'll get at least eleven answers. And each one will be the "one true way" to accomplish the task at hand.
Daveh, how could I be a help, to you? I am not that far from you. E-mail me or by phone. Walt