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Hi everyone,

I recently got into making candles with beeswax and was searching around the internet for information regarding candle making which led me to this site. I had been thinking about starting to beekeep and have watch plenty of videos and thought it would be good to join this forum and make sure it is right for me. I am from California and have been eyeing some hive available on craigslist but it seems like it is a huge responsibility. Most of the reason I wanted to start beekeeping is because I think it will be good for the environment.

TD:LR, Hi everyone :)
 

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Hi bebop, and welcome. Bees are lots of fun. Now is a good time to be 'thinking' about beekeeping, because it gives you time before the season starts in spring. Depending on where you are in Cali though it may be year-round.

2 big responsibilities are your neighbors, and keeping the bees disease-free. If you have a backyard spot invisible from your neighbors then there is not much problem, but in Southern Cali more aggressive Africanized bees are to be watched out for.

The bees themselves need help defending against varroa mites. Plan to treat the bees to keep mites low. If not then they will probably kill the hive in a year or two at most.

By the way, as far as the environment goes, bees are not native, and no native flower depends on honey bees to pollinate them.
 

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I would not buy a colony now (unless you are downunder), wait til spring. First year losses over winter are very high.

To get bees,
You will need to place an order now for a "Nuc" in spring as reservations are needed.
or You can purchase a complete colony hive and all,
or You can catch a swarm for free
or get paid to do a cut out.

If you spend money, I would want to see that you get a laying queen (you want to see it before hand) and also that you are not receiving a mite bomb.
If you don't see the queen you SHOULD verify with the BeeK satisfaction guaranteed, it is easy to loose or injure the queen.
A newly mated laying queen is preferred as she starts to dwindle in her second season, a third season is a roll of the dice.

You can keep them in a nuc and stack nuc boxes or put them in a permanent hive.
You will need to be prepared to feed them to jump start them, some pollen patty and syrup.
You will need to be prepared to deal with the mite, if not kept in check the mite population can explode.
Do mite washes to monitor levels accurately often enough to keep the mite in check.
The rest is easy stuff.
 

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Hi everyone,

I recently got into making candles with beeswax and was searching around the internet for information regarding candle making which led me to this site. I had been thinking about starting to beekeep and have watch plenty of videos and thought it would be good to join this forum and make sure it is right for me. I am from California and have been eyeing some hive available on craigslist but it seems like it is a huge responsibility. Most of the reason I wanted to start beekeeping is because I think it will be good for the environment.

TD:LR, Hi everyone :)
Awesome!! Good luck on your beekeeping journey!!
 

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You don't need to keep bees to help bees. You can support them in other ways like by planting your own pollinator-friendly garden, or helping out in a community garden with pollinator-friendly plants.

The reality is that there are millions more honey bee colonies in the US now than in the 1960s, and that number has remained pretty steady over the last 10 years. (This link should get you to some data about that: https://www.nass.usda.gov/Publications/Highlights/2019/2019_Honey_Bees_StatisticalSummary.pdf).

However, beekeeping can be fantastic and rewarding, and you can lose hours in the apiary just working with the colonies and watching the bees do their thing! Connect with a beekeeping club in your area and see if they have a way for you to spend time in a beehive. They may have a club hive, or mentors who are willing to show you around a colony. I personally feel that before you invest hundreds of dollars in beekeeping you should really get hands-on first. If you're a little afraid of bees, then even more so. In order to keep them healthy you can't avoid inspecting or managing your bees because you're uncomfortable doing so. But if beekeeping is going to be your thing, you'll know pretty quickly -- the fascination will overwhelm any nerves pretty quickly!

It's worth spending a season as a helper in someone else's apiary learning, as opposed to spending a nerve-wracking season lost and confused and uncertain.
 

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Welcome, bebop.

This is a great place, and the people here are very helpful. That said, please let me be the first to tell you "beekeeping is local" and what someone in Canada says is not going to be the same as what someone in Georgia says, and they will both be right. This brings up the next thing you need to learn: If you ask five beekeepers a question, you are likely to get seven correct answers.

To the beekeeping is local thing - even a few miles can be different, but generally, there will be clubs in your area and they are planning now for the spring. There is no one book, video, or website where you can learn it all.

If I were you I would start with the California State Beekeepers Association and then check out their list of affiliated clubs for a local group near you. Reach out and let them know your desires and they can more than likely help out.

So far (one-year studying), I have never met a beekeeper that didn't want to try to help new beekeepers, especially those who want to put in the work. Someone will always be willing to let you come over and check things out and maybe help in their bee yard.

Finally, I started this scared of bees as well. The more I study them the more enthralled I am by watching them and I forget all about being scared. One thing I did to help out was to go get a "stinging insect panel" which was about $35 at my doctor's office. When I learned I was not allergic, I had no more excuses.
 
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