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To Start or Not to Start Beekeeping

I have been fascinated by bees and their social structure for years (even took a beekeeping course in college decades ago), but I never considered getting into this until I stumbled upon the Flow Hive website last week. I would love to purchase a hive and get started, but I don’t understand the natural history of an apiary. Specifically, as the queen continues to lay eggs, do the hives naturally need to split, and will I constantly be adding new hives? Or is there some type of control I have as the beekeeper, so that I can limit the number of hives? It seems like once you start this, you will forever be adding hives.

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Do another beekeeping course, it’s likely a great deal has changed since you did the last one and you will find out that way if you want to manage your own hive. Also, heavy lifting.

Thanks for the prompt reply Stevo. Although it has been decades, I’m still good with heavy lifting…I think. I’ll get onto a new course.

No worries.

To answer your other questions this may help but just be aware it is from an Australian point of view so some methods used may not be relevant where you are:

In regards to weight a full honey super can be 20-40kgs or more depending on number of frames etc but this can be broken into more manageable amounts if necessary.

I think you’re too late in the season to start a hive so great time to refresh knowledge and build equipment during winter.

Welcome to the forum George! I believe there are some fellow Floridians here who could answer some of your more climate-specific questions. Check out the Connect with Locals category and also try the search bar.

About continuous increase of colonies, I was worried about that too at first - and then I found out how dicey things can get when missed swarms and varroa mites factor in. Even so, there are still some happier ways to manage your apiary size, like selling or donating nucleus colonies and recombining splits. Anyway, since you’ve held on to your fascination so long I encourage you to keep exploring and give beekeeping a try :heart_eyes::honeybee:

Good luck and keep us posted on your progress!

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Part of your inspection routine during the nectar flow season will be to check for queen cells. If the hive is short on space, and has plenty of honey stores, they eventually get the urge to swarm. To prevent this, the best thing to do is split the hive. Once they settle down, you can either sell the split as a nucleus, or later in the season, when the flow has dropped off, you can kill one queen and merge the hives.

Whether or not you need to split will depend on your climate and local forage. Here in southern California, I very rarely need to split, as our nectar flow is short with long periods of dearth. :blush:

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This is not an objective forum for that question! :rofl:

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Hello George and welcome to the forum. Science hasn’t come up with a contraceptive for queen bees yet and likely in your climate she would be laying eggs every day. I know some folks with only having two or three hives for many years and thru good hive management do splits and sell them as a nuc or build them up for a few months and sell very easily as a hive. The main thing is to really get involved with bee keeping as a hobby and care for your bees. If you have a few hours a month then that is enough time to have a couple of hives.
You obviously already have an interest so give it a go, it is a very interesting hobby that you will will likely enjoy and always find something new happening.
you could have days you will wonder why you got involved in bee keeping but you will have many more days you will feel immense satisfaction.
Cheers