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I'm so new to bee keeping, I don't even have a hive yet. Or even a cute, bee-related screen name. :) Actually, I'm just reading, visiting forums, etc to learn all I can so I can decide if I'm up to the challenge. I'm glad I started with books about honey bees first, rather than about bee keeping.

Some of my favorite books so far....

Books about bees in general: A Short History of the Honey Bee, by Readicker-Henderson and McCarty; The Buzz about Bees : biology of a superorganism by Tautz, Sandeman, et al (I love how they compare bees to mammals!).

Books about beekeeping: A Book of Bees by Hubbell; Beekeeping for Dummies (yeah, yeah, I know. But it has actually been much more helpful to me as a complete novice than some of the others, like The Backyard Beekeeper by Flottum (which I particularly didn't like) or Hive Management by Bonney.

I'm excited about Storey's Guide To Keeping Honeybees coming out late this summer. Storey's are usually pretty useful. I hope it's not too, um, industrial.

What's funny to me is when I first started talking to my co-worker about beekeeping she asked if I were going to get some hives and I said I didn't think so as it seemed really complicated: queen excluders! top feeders! Super!? I didn't even know that there was only one queen per colony. Or that worker bees were all female! Go ahead, laugh. It's funny. But after several books I told her I was definitely going to get two hives this fall so I could put them together over winter and be ready for Spring.

It's amazing how many false assumptions I had about bees (and probably still have and don't even know it!). I saw two swarms where I work last Spring. Last year I'm all "Oh, no! They're probably Africanized bees out to make a kill and drag it back to their lair!" Now I want to hug them and pet them and love them. :p

I was a little confused at first by the vast differences of opinion on keeping bees (not unlike advice on gardening!), but now I'm beginning to see how things will suit my needs and/or how I'll just have to experiment. I'm seeing how a lot of things are suggested for climates/situations much different than my area. It seems a lot of books don't make it real clear that much of their advice is for beekeepers with four distinct seasons, especially that one called 'winter.' I see active bees all year long at my house, so I'm currently trying to up the winter blooming vegetation around my place. (Another thing learned, bees don't like just any ol' bloomin' thing! I'm starting to have a different viewpoint about 'weeds.')

My goals are to manage no more than two hives. I have no desire to go into any kind of business. I became interested because for several years I've enjoyed interacting with the bees that flock all over the hummingbird feeders (except the one time I was stung, that wasn't fun, but it was my fault). I usually just blow gently on the bees and they move enough I can get the lids off the feeders then I can kind of shake them off. Now I read you're never supposed to blow on them?! Well, it never seemed to make them mad. Yet. :) I also like watching the bees sit on my tea cup in the mornings when I'm sloppy with the honey. And last year I watched one sip wine for about ten seconds before I decided it probably wasn't good for it.

This winter I decided to find out more about them and have just became fascinated by the idea of managing a hive or two. It also makes me wonder where the many bees around my house live. It's not like I was completely ignorant, I knew wild bees made honey. Somewhere. But I never really thought about each bee having a home and a job. I guess I just thought they only did that if they wanted to. :doh: (Hey, at least I never thought bees came from dead oxen!)

I've been reading through the forum, but I've got a long way to go. I'm not yet ready to contact some local folks to ask if I can watch them work. I know now is the time I should be doing that, but maybe by late summer I'll feel confident enough to catch some of the end of summer work.

Thanks for letting me join the forum. I look forward to taking advantage of your collective knowledge.


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I am also starting out this Bee Keeping , have been reading as well, hahahaha also read the dummy Book! Also inherited a couple of Beekeeping books from my Father who is gone now, and raised Bees and even had and sold fine tasting honey. I highly recomend finding a club or mentor to help you learn , then try it out , you can start this spring . We ordered 2-3 Organic Bee Packs from an interesting family in Salem ,Arkansas who raises them very successfully in Langstrom type hives( we might still use TBHs Top Bar Hives due to the simplicity and cost ,learning experience ,or use both to decide for ourselves what we like. I hope to see you round this fine group to compare notes , and challenges. Enjoy , AJ and Denise

PS you have an advantage living in AZ - there is a wonderful Lady there Dee Lusby- who holds a kinda seminar , I think they are having one soon, mentors folks ,has a Organic Beekeeping group on Yahoo, here is a link to check out ,

also this fellow has a informative site-

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Welcome, weeds are really indigenous flowers. They grow better, resist draught, pests and diseases better, and the birds, bees and butterflies prefer them. I get into that at my web site
I have another page that encourages keeping it simple at least the first year. Start with a bottom board, cover, supers with frames and a few tools. The only three you "need" are veil, hive tool and smoker. While you are getting comfortable with the girls you can use long pants, long sleeve shirts and seal the openings with rubber bands, velcro, tape or whatever to keep them from getting trapped. If you look at my pictures from last years class, I have to encourage the new-bees to wear the veil. Incidentally, bees sting leather by nature. Plastic gloves let you feel without mashing bees (sets off alarm pheremone) and still offer protection. I like the latex painters gloves.
For the last two years everyone walks home with what they need for a year for $50.00, ok plus $50 for the queen and workers.
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