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Hello, I have a question about this bee keeping stuff.

I am interested in the whole bee thing. Scared to death of bees but guess that is why I am interesting in starting a hive. However, I want to know what the laws and regulations are in Spokane County. If and when I do get into bee keeping for my own personal use (and then maybe someday for selling) I just want to go about it the right way.

We get cold winters here in the northeastern part of Washington as we are about 1 hour from Canada.

I am wondering do I buy bees at a certain time of the year? Do I buy them from only Washington state? And how many are in the hives. I have seen where they talk about 3 lbs worth of bees and a queen. How many queens do I need?

So very new to all this so any help will be greatly appreciated. Maybe this time next year I will know a little bit more about those little tiny things that scare me.

BTW, I am getting much better around them when they are on my raspberry bushes. It's the wasps, yellow jackets and hornets that I really hate!

Thank you so much for your time.

Debbie
 

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Welcome to Beesource!

The rules regarding beekeeping in Spokane County (outside of the various cities in that county) vary based on how your property is zoned. More on that here (search the document for 'beekeeping' with Control-F once you have the document loaded):
http://www.spokanecounty.org/data/buildingandplanning/lud/documents/Zone Code 2008 for internet.pdf

Each hive normally only has one queen. A 3 lb package is a common way to purchase bees, there may be 12,000 or so bees in that package. A booming full size hive might contain up to 60,000 bees or so. Most packages sold in Washington are imported from more southerly states. Generally, packages are only available during the spring. Bees are also sold in mini hives called 'nucs' (short for nucleus hive), and are also sold in full size hives. Generally a package is the most affordable option.
 

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Welcome, lots to learn and well worth the experience. It's probably too late for this year but that gives you lots of time to study and prepare for next spring.

I'd read everything here: http://www.beesource.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?275-How-to-Start-Beekeeping

Then every page here: http://bushfarms.com/bees.htm

Then join this club: http://www.inlandbeemail.com

It would also be great if you are able to find a beekeeper in your area that might let you come shadow them on visits to an apiary this summer.
 

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I buy bees from Sunrisehoney.com in your immediate area. Good folks and good bees and I come 5 1/2 hours to get them. Talk to them. They sell a five frame nuc that is all brood and honey for $110.
 

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I was in the same place you're in right now this time last year. Read everything you can find about beekeeping this winter. My favorite was Beekeeping for Dummies. Also, there are a ton of good videos on YouTube that will help you understand bees and beekeeping.

Join up with your local bee association and attend every meeting and workshop you can. Also, take a class in beekeeping. WA State has a wonderful program for apprentice beekeepers that is usually taught by the local associations in the Fall or early Spring. It's well worth the cost and time to attend.

I started beekeeping this year and have not had to purchase any bees. If your association has a bee team that does carve outs, and collects swarms, join them in the spring. I've filled 3 hives, and have a 4th nuc that I collected just from swarms and cut outs. This is a free service that is offered by my association to the public for the purpose of keeping them from being sprayed.

Your equipment and safety gear will be a pretty big expense in the beginning, but keep an eye on craigslist. Sometimes you can find some really good deals from people getting out of the bee business. Although I recommend that you don't use anything but new wood frames, and woodenware unless you trust the person you're purchasing from.

Beekeeping is a wonderful experience. The more I've learned, and participated, the more fascinated I am in these little creatures and how they work.

Good luck
 
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