Starting Your Own Beehive
Whether you have a small back yard or acres of land, beekeeping can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. If you’re a budding beekeeper, there are a few things you should consider and do before you start your buzzing empire.
Timing is Everything
Buying and assembling your hive should start in the fall or winter. Give yourself time to learn how to put yours together. Then, order your bees in February or March for an April delivery.
Climate is important too. Depending on where you live in the Pacific Northwest can determine when you should establish your colony. The higher the elevation or colder the climate, the later into spring you may need to wait. When you order your bees, you’ll be given an estimated window for the best delivery date.
Is Your City Bee Friendly?
Check with your local city or county for bee regulations in your area. Some places restrict beekeeping to larger acreages instead of small subdivisions. Search for “apiary restrictions” and your city, state for regulations or necessary permits.
Find a Local Group
In Oregon visit the Oregon State Beekeepers Association at orsba.org. In Washington, one of the best sources for advice and other information is Puget Sound Bees, which has plenty of links and information at pugetsoundbees.org.
Choosing Your Hive
When you’re starting out, it’s good to start small. Get your footing with one hive, especially if this will essentially be a hobby and not a moneymaking opportunity.
There are two ways you can go with your hive.
Starter Kits: There are plenty of small starter kits out there that include everything you’ll need for your first colony. While some are expandable and can be added to other hives, many are not. This means once your colony outgrows your starter kit, they may swarm and leave.
Individual Components: Whether you choose an assembled or unassembled hive, there are plenty of parts that you’ll need in order to give your bees a proper home. Make sure you pick the right size and number of frames, as well as the foundations. These are the plastic or wax covered sheets where bees create their comb. You’ll want thin sheets on the outside of the boxes and thicker foundations with crimped wire for extra support and protection in the middle.
Bees will travel miles to collect what they need, which means you may want to tell your immediate neighbors about your colony of bees. You’d be surprised how many fears are quickly gone when you offer to share in the honey.
Attend a Workshop
Want to get some great advice about beekeeping? Attend our Coastal workshop in your area and learn about beekeeping basics, pollination, collecting, swarming, how to pick the right bees for your region, and what equipment you’ll need for a happy and healthy colony. Check with your local Coastal Farm & Ranch for times and days in your region.
Bee Ready for Spring at Coastal
Pre-order your bees today with this quick and easy form. Just print it out, fill in the order form, and bring it to your nearby Coastal Farm & Ranch. While you’re there, stock up on all of your beekeeping gear, from protective suits to boxes, foundations, smokers and more.
Bringing Bees to Your Property
Even if you don’t have a hive, there are things you can do in your own backyard to encourage bees in your area.
- Avoid using bee-killing pesticides in your garden and on your lawn.
- Plant pollen-rich plants that are good sources of nectar and pollen.
- Create water sources for bees, such as fountains and birdbaths.