New to beekeping, haven't started yet. Looking for tips

Currently living in missouri, USA but in August we are moving to washington State, USA. I have been watching video after video and reading all manner of articles but wanted to ask directly for some advice/tips. I plan on using the flow hives once we get settled with the move and new house.

Hi Holly n Simon,

Glad to hear you thinking of beekeeping ! Wow ! Missouri n Washington State are a piece apart … What’s dragging you up here to the Evergreen State at the end of summer ??

I live in Washington State 20 or so miles SE of Seattle in the Cascade foothills. With your interest in beekeeping get few basic beekeeper classes under your belt. If there’s a bee club near I’d get involved n if they have a apiary volenteer to help. Get you basic equipment like good bee suits , hive tools, smoker if you want n so on now. Not sure you want your own hive(s) yet because moving hives is not so fun especially that distance.

Another idea too … Should you want more experience some local commercial Beekeepers might enjoy your help … I’ve gain piles of extra knowledge n experience doing just that.

Stay in touch ! Not sure where you plan to land up here but check-out local city n county bee regulation when choosing a place to buy or lease up here if you want to still be a backyard bee dude n dudette.

Good luck n get going !

Gerald :honeybee::honeybee::honeybee:

Thanks Gerald! It’s just holly (myself) so far but my husband is super happy that im interested and he supports me 100% we will be moving to the yakima area becajse thats where i’m from, i left to join the military and now that both of us are getting out we are coming back over there. We didnt plan to start trying beekeeping till next year at the earliest because of the move etc just because i know how hard it is for creatures to move. I had already been looking up classes, events, groups and the atrium there has an apiary so i feel like im somewhat on the right path so far, we are trying to make sure we get a house on an acre or two out in the country and what i dont use for gardening or animals i planned on covering in wildflowers and anything that helps them during each season

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Hi Holly, welcome to beekeeping. I have a few tips. A couple of videos are well worth watching. “city of bees” & “nova tales of a hive”. In regards to beekeeping, the best advice I could give is to learn “bee culture” & keep it simple. Beekeeping is not rocket science, it doesn’t have to be complicated.


JeffH - Thank you for informing this newbie about “city of bees” & “nova tales of a hive”. I watched them last night. I am starting my apiary in January 2018. I am setting up a meeting with my county’s beekeeping association on the 25th of July and hoping to find a mentor. I live on a 95 acre farm with hunting and fishing rights. I grow vegetables. There is plenty of honey suckle and wild flowers scattered all over the farm on the fence rows. My husband and I went blackberry picking this year and made plenty of Jam for the year. Venison in the freezer and mason jars filled with jam, Chili, Spagetti and so much more after the vegetable harvest. My husband does not want chickens and I want to do more than horsing. I have seeds to plant late summer/early fall in different areas for more pollinating flowers (patch). My landlord mows the fields for round bales of hay for his cattle and won’t mind us planting flowers that the cows will probably eat anyway! I’m also preparing for the first time, tree seeds, persimmon, pear, pine and more cedar (localized). (I make a natural wood spray for the hunting season). I have plans to use the Flow Hive system for harvesting honey. One question that is burning in my head that I have not seen an question answer to is:

When I set up my apiary in the late winter spring with new queen and swarm in the brood box, then the 2nd box on top of that for nectar stores and finish it off with the flow hive system (I’ve done a lot of research already), do you think I will I be able to harvest honey the first season?
I do want the hive to survive their first winter here in Tennessee. Winters change from year to year. We normally get temps down to 20’s and severe winters down to 0. Again, it depends on the winter and mother nature, but usually not a lot of snow. I grew up in NY, so the snow in TN is dustings instead of INCHES! Except for those winters that are unusual. Yay for me! LOL…
Again, thank you for the 2 videos, very informative for this newbie! Anymore I can kill time watching while waiting for January 2018 to get here? giggle

  • Maureen

You will be lucky to find a source of bees in January in your region. Unless you are buying somebody else’s established hive, nuclei and packages are not usually available before March across most of the US. You may catch a swarm in January, we had some swarms in late January in southern California. However, peak swarming season is more like April/May. I would ask at the meeting you are planning to attend, they will have a better idea than me about timing in your region.

Every new beekeeper wonders about this question. The answer is, it will depend on your local nectar flow and the health of your colony. I think it is always best to assume that you won’t harvest in the first season, but if you can, that is a bonus. :wink: I set up 2 nuclei in new hives this year in San Diego. They are both strong and filling their second brood box, but we will not get a harvest from them this year. However, my colony from last year has given us a 27lb harvest this year, and that is considered a good harvest for non-commercial hives in my region.

Given that your winters get quite cold, you will probably also need 2 brood boxes to give your bees enough stores for the winter. That will slow down your prospects of harvesting in the first year.

Any video on youtube by @JeffH is worth watching. He has a funny accent, but his methods are great and his experience is very valuable. Here is one of his videos - you can subscribe to his channel while you are there, and find his others:

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Dawn_SD -

Thank you for your information! As a newbie, I can only hope to get lucky to harvest my first year, but not an assumption (:wink:

I will keep you informed of my progress and tons and tons of questions as we go along with this. 1st things 1st: Meet and greet with experienced beekeepers in my area to learn about how their experience and success works here in Tennessee.
I guess I read the information about January from the local beekeepers’ website for my county. But I will check with my Q & A (written down tons of questions already!) from the meeting about when the best time for my area to acquire the bees and queen. I have started to put the financial part of this investment aside so if I do “Go for it”, I’ll be set to begin the set up/start up for the housing. Talk to you all soon and update you on my findings for TN!
Thanks again!

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Just a thought - you might be wise not to mention “Flow hive” at your first meeting. Many old school beekeepers are extremely suspicious of Flow hives, and they may not help or take you seriously if you tell them about it at the start. After all, the Flow hive is really just a Langstroth hive with a different method of extraction. The Flow part is totally irrelevant when you are getting started.

My local beekeeping society was incredibly suspicious of the Flow hive when it started. The only reason they weren’t worried about us having a Flow hive, is because we have 30 years of experience of traditional beekeeping. Of course, there was a lot of advertising hype with Flow, and non-serious beekeepers were jumping on the bandwagon hoping to have “honey on tap”.

Eighteen months ago, there was a Flow presentation at our monthly meeting, and one old guy was constantly shouting the speaker down and making insults. Even now, there is persisting suspicion, but gradually more acceptance as people are having successful harvests and showing that they care about looking after the bees too. It will take time to be fully accepted, but I wanted to help you save yourself from alienation at a time when you really need help and mentoring. :wink:

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