Re: New from Southern California
Bees4U is a member here on the forums and is in Ventura California. You may want to contact him for information on purchasing packages or nucs when you are ready. You can send a private message or email to him from this link, see the column on the left...
As far as reading material, I recommend this book...
A Practical Treatise on the Hive and Honey-bee
By Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth
Which can be downloaded here for free...
This was the first book I read when I started beekeeping and I recommend it for anyone just starting out, or for anyone with experience with bees. It is a great addition to any beekeepers library. Of course there are many many books out on beekeeping, but I recommend this one as it contains everything about bees and hives of bees that you need to know to get started on the path of beekeeping. Back when I started beekeeping, it was the text book at UCD bee biology lab in Davis, Ca. It covers all the bases and is very easy to read and very well laid out. If you prefer paper copies, the newer editions are available at many online book stores.
I hope you have as much fun keeping bees as I have myself, and hope you can contain your excitement through the winter as you wait for your first hive.
20+ years, raise my own queens, feed when needed, I treat but have not perfected varroa management yet.