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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm retired in Pima County AZ and interested in beekeeping but I don't know anything about it really. I've seen a few documentaries and read some -- that's about it though. I'm not even sure beekeeping is possible where I live here in the Sonoran Desert but I see quite a few bees on my hummingbird feeders and on the blooming trees. We had a swarm ten years ago that I am ashamed to say, the bee remover killed them. I thought he was going to remove them to another location be he killed them. It didn't seem right but maybe that's what they always do. I don't know. They weren't attacking any one or any of our pets.

Anyhow, I have many questions. Hope that's OK.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the welcome.

I'm not finding any local clubs and I'm finding that beekeeping in the desert here has its own problems starting with keeping out the Africanized bees. While this doesn't seem too difficult (according to what I've read) it is the highest priority. I still haven't found any local beekeepers that I could go and talk to. But I've just started looking.
 

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Right now, here in the Picture Rocks area of Tucson, mesquite is in full flow mode. It is the largest honey flow in this area, and is extremely reliable, despite rainfall or none. But in seasons with little rainfall, it can often be just about the only flow, so in those years, in order to harvest any, you'd need to feed them generously, after you take their mesquite honey, or the bees won't do very well. There are quite a few of us here, but I'm pretty sure we're not organized into any particular groups.

There is a USDA honey bee lab. They might be able to point you in a good direction, as far as contacting other beekeepers. Dee Lusby is south of here, I'm pretty sure she's still in Pima County. I know she was teaching her beekeeping methods - and would likely be a good one to contact.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks to all for the welcomes.

@Joseph Clemens, I hadn't really thought about harvesting the honey, just raising the bees. Do you have to harvest the honey? Yes, the bees are on all my mesquite trees now. You can hear them humming from several feet away when there are a lot of them. How can I tell if they are Africanized? I have never been stung in the 18 years I've been here and I get quite close to them when changing the nectar in my hummingbird feeders.
 

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I don't really harvest much honey. Due to the combination of factors: 1) I mostly keep bees to raise more bees and to share them with others; 2) I have diabetes, and a touch of O.C.D.

O.C.D. makes touching sticky honey highly undesirable.

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I don't really know how to tell if a colony is Africanized, or not. I can only tell if a colony exhibits traits that I don't like. That may translate to, "the colony is Africanized", but I don't know and don't really care. I treat all colonies the same, despite where their ancestors may have originated. I eliminate queens whose colonies have developed undesirable traits. I mark each queen that I rear, as soon as I observe that they have begun laying. If, later, any colony appears to have an unmarked queen, I assume I did not raise her, so she and her colony are scrutinized more closely.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
After some investigation it looks like, for various reasons, raising bees is kind of tough here in the Sonoran Desert. I think I will just start feeding the bees and forget about raising them for now. I already do feed the bees indirectly with my four humming bird feeders which are out 24/7 for the last 10+ years. I will add a bee feeder with 1:1 or 2:1 mixture ratio (sugar : water ration).

Thanks for the replies and good luck with your beekeeping. Maybe I will be feeding some of the bees of you local beekeepers. :)
 
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