Hi from California (originally from Norway)
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    San Fernando Valley, CA
    Posts
    5

    Default Hi from California (originally from Norway)

    Hi everyone!
    I love honey and have been interested in bees all my life. I am also a biologist and very curious about the different species/subspecies out there. Recently I even tried honey from giant Asian honey bees
    I have also tried making art from beeswax (encaustic) but not very successfully (I also paint with oil and watercolor now and then). Beeswax candles are nice though.

    Anyway, so I am thinking that I should finally get my own hive or two. Our yard has a nice nook next to the house with walls/fences on three sides, it opens to the garden on the fourth side. I am wondering if this would be the best place for a hive?

    I also hear a lot of warnings about mites and disease. Someone said that 40% of hives die off during the first year. Are there any natural ways of combating these? The local supplier provides Italian honey bees, and I'm not sure if I should look for other types of bees?

    Any suggestions are welcome!

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Winston-Salem, NC
    Posts
    398

    Default Re: Hi from California (originally from Norway)

    Welcome, I'd start with two nucleus colonies, and face the hive South East, study up, you have a few months yet.
    NCSBA Certified Beekeeper - my Youtube Vlog
    https://www.youtube.com/c/BackyardBeesNC

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Grand Rapids MI USA
    Posts
    1,560

    Default Re: Hi from California (originally from Norway)

    Welcome!
    Yes, mites are a big issue for the bees, read up in the treatment free forum and there’s some treatments that are considered organic. It’s all what your parameters are.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Catskills, Delaware Cty, New York, USA
    Posts
    1,691

    Default Re: Hi from California (originally from Norway)

    Welcome again!
    Proverbs 16:24

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    San Fernando Valley, CA
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Hi from California (originally from Norway)

    Many thanks!
    I have "The Backyard Beekeeper" as my primary book. This one seems pretty good. But let me know if you have other recommendations.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    4,143

    Default Re: Hi from California (originally from Norway)

    Welcome aboard Royalalbatross. Please indicate which area of CA you live in. You do not need to be city specific, but later advice will be different if you live in say Sacramento or San Diego.

    You will probably be able to harvest enough beeswax to make candles around your third year. Your first two years should concentrate on hive growth and keeping them alive from one year to the next. Be careful, beekeeping can be very addictive and what starts out as two or three hives can easily become ten or twenty.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    San Fernando Valley, CA
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Hi from California (originally from Norway)

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    Welcome aboard Royalalbatross. ....
    Many thanks! I am in the San Fernando Valley. I have visited The Valley Hive, which seems to be the best place around here. I was thinking about getting a beehive and nuc for spring, but now that I have heard more about possible complications in various online videos I wonder if I should sign up for a course first and then start up next year?

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Winston-Salem, NC
    Posts
    398

    Default Re: Hi from California (originally from Norway)

    I started last February, with an idea, then in March found a bee school, my bees arrived in April,I grew them from 4 to 12 hives, wasn't very hard for me (so far so good), you can do it. I asked questions here till I found a local Mentor in August I think it was.
    NCSBA Certified Beekeeper - my Youtube Vlog
    https://www.youtube.com/c/BackyardBeesNC

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    4,143

    Default Re: Hi from California (originally from Norway)

    Long gone are the days when being a beekeeper meant sticking some bees in a box and collecting honey a couple times per year. It is a little more sophisticated now and bees need to be managed like any other form of livestock. Get your bees ordered, but do sign up for and take a beginning beekeeping class at one of your local clubs. The cost of the class is less than a package of bees and is well worth the money. It is best to start out with two hives so you can compare them as you are learning. It will also provide you with resources in case you run into a problem.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Gainesboro, Tennessee
    Posts
    1,456

    Default Re: Hi from California (originally from Norway)

    Greetings from Tennessee and welcome to Beesource!
    Splitting a first year hive successfully https://youtu.be/ZfRTreQ-S9c

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Posts
    1,148

    Default Re: Hi from California (originally from Norway)

    Quote Originally Posted by Royalalbatross View Post
    I was thinking about getting a beehive and nuc for spring,
    I recommend you start with two hives. If start up costs are a concern then try and catch a swarm for your second. Cornell University's Dr. Tom Seeley has a good paper about trapping swarms.

    …now that I have heard more about possible complications in various online videos I wonder if I should sign up for a course first and then start up next year?
    Go ahead and start in spring 2020. You can learn as you go. By all means study everything you can get your hands on, but there is no substitute for experience.
    Zone 6B

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    San Fernando Valley, CA
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Hi from California (originally from Norway)

    Quote Originally Posted by JConnolly View Post
    I recommend you start with two hives. If start up costs are a concern then try and catch a swarm for your second. Cornell University's Dr. Tom Seeley has a good paper about trapping swarms.

    Go ahead and start in spring 2020. You can learn as you go. By all means study everything you can get your hands on, but there is no substitute for experience.
    Thanks for the tips! You are not the only one suggesting starting with two

    There are several reasons for me still considering just one hive: part of it is money, as you mention. We also have just a small garden, with that nice "nook" that I mentioned. Finally, I would like the people around me (wife, neighbors) to get used to the bees more gradually.

    Still, I will consider if two hives is an option.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Winston-Salem, NC
    Posts
    398

    Default Re: Hi from California (originally from Norway)

    With one hive, you won't know what normal is, you can't help it along if it gets weak, by robbing from the other one.
    NCSBA Certified Beekeeper - my Youtube Vlog
    https://www.youtube.com/c/BackyardBeesNC

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