I started beekeeping in Nov, 2007 when a swarm landed in our front yard and friends gave me a hive and caught the swarm for me. The next spring I purchased a package to start a 2nd hive. That new hive did great over the summer, and then in October, the bees disappeared leaving only a few swarm cells and dying queen.... not sure what happened but the first hive is still doing well, and I hope to add a few more hives this Spring. I am in Santa Cruz, CA. so we have a pretty long bee season.