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The Valley Hive Blog

  • Grand Opening & Honey and Recipe Contest

    honey contest collage

    Grand Opening Celebration

    Join us on Sunday, August 27th to celebrate the grand opening of our new location at 10538 Topanga Cyn Blvd in Chatsworth. In honor of National Honeybee Day,  we will also be hosting  our Annual Honey & Recipe Contest.


    Participating in the contest is simple, and anyone can enter. If you would like to enter your backyard honey, bring two 8oz jars -- one labeled, one unlabeled -- to our shop before August 27th. No honey to share, but you'd like to be involved?  Cook or bake a honey dish and bring it to us by 11am on the day of the event. We have invited some special guests to judge the event. After the winners are chosen, the honey and dishes will be available to taste. The extra honey will be raffled off and the proceeds will go to a bee charity chosen by The Valley Hive.


    We have a full day of activities planned including food and entertainment, bee friendly crafts for kids and various bee related demonstrations. If you haven't been to the hive yet, mark your calendar. This is a day you will not want to miss.


    So be sure to spread the buzz and we'll see you at The Valley Hive  at 10538 Topanga Cyn Blvd in Chatsworth on Sunday, August 27th between 11 and 4pm.   


    An RSVP from you will help us with planning the event. You can RSVP on our  Facebook page  or send us an email at You can also call us at 818-280-6500. We look forward to hearing from you, but even if we don't you are still invited to come.

    The Valley Hive Staff




  • Honey Recipes Add a Spark to July 4th!!

    honey recipes

    Honey adds a burst of sweetness to any dish! Our varietal honey is the perfect accompaniment to any of the dishes below. The Valley Hive has the perfect honey for your special holiday dish:

     Sage Honey is our lightest honey is color and flavor. Great all-around honey.

     Orange Blossom Honey is a sweeter honey with citrus undertones.  Perfect with tea.

     Wildflower Honey is a unique blend of pollen and nectar from various bee yards. No two wildflowers are ever exactly the same.

     Buckwheat Honey is a darker, more robust-tasting honey. Yummy in coffee!

    Avocado Honey is our darkest, most unique tasting honey. Great in BBQ sauces.



    2 tbsps - honey

    3 tbsps - soy sauce

    1 tbsp - olive oil

    1 - lime juiced

    1 lb. - chicken breast strips skinless and boneless


    In a small bowl, whisk all liquid ingredients together until completely blended. Pour mixture into a freezer bag and add in chicken strips. Reseal bag and gently shake to cover chicken strips. Allow to marinade for 2 hours.

    Next, prepare skewers by soaking bamboo sticks in water for 15 minutes. Remove chicken strips from marinade and skewer onto bamboo sticks. Grill on medium to high heat for 8 minutes or until juices are clear and chicken is fully cooked.



    1 - avocado

    2 tablespoons - lemon juice

    2 tablespoons - red wine vinegar

    2 tablespoons - honey

    2 tablespoons - extra virgin olive oil

    1/2 cup - water

    1/4 cup - cilantro chopped


    Combine all ingredients together in a blender until smooth.

    The versatility of this dressing is endless. It can be used in salads, meats, tacos, or whole grains.



    1 1/2 cups - lemon juice approximately 8-10 lemons

    1 1/2 cups - orange blossom honey water

    3 cups - water

    Grilled lemon, lime, orange and grapefruit slices -

    1 1/2 cups - gin (optional)


    For Grilled Citrus Slices: Cut the poles off of each citrus fruit and slice into 1/4" slices. Grill on HIGH for 2 minutes on each side, leaving strong grill marks on the fruit. Set aside.

    In a pitcher, add 2 grilled slices from each citrus. Add the lemon juice, orange blossom honey water and water. Top with ice. Stir well. Serve into iced cups. Garnish each with grilled fruit (optional).



    2 cups - plain yogurt

    1 cup - milk

    ⅓ cup - honey

    1 teaspoon - vanilla extract

    ¼ lb. - cherries pitted and quartered

    ¼ cup - blueberries


    In a large bowl, stir together the yogurt, milk, honey and vanilla extract. Taste the mixture and add a little more honey if needed. Divide half the fruit among 8 ½-cup popsicle holders. Add ¼ cup of the yogurt mixture to each popsicle holder, then add the rest of the fruit. You'll need to press the fruit down a bit to distribute it evenly in the popsicle. Top off with more yogurt mixture if needed, leaving at least ¼ inch of space at the top of the popsicle holder because it will expand as it freezes. Freeze the popsicles for several hours, until completely solid.


    Recipes and Photos by: National Honey Board




  • The Valley Hive Has a New Home

    new location 1

    The Valley Hive is moving to a new location! That’s right, we are swarming to the Chatsworth Nursery located at 10538 Topanga Canyon Blvd. As of Thursday, May 11th, no longer will you have to brave the treacherous journey to reach our shop on Baden Ave, because our new store will be situated right on the corner of Topanga Canyon Blvd, and Chatsworth.  So before heading to the grueling 118 freeway to sit in traffic, why don’t you stop by, and refuel with some local honey?  Our fabulously renovated shop will include delicious honey tasting, unique bee related gifts, all the equipment needed to start on your own beekeeping ventures, and more! Everyone get your pollen pants on, and buzz on down to our new hive.

    P1011605 png for web


  • Installing Your Package of Bees


    installing a package of bees

    How to hive your package of bees

    This method is very easy on the bees (as well as a new beekeeper) and involves no shaking.

     Day 1 (Monday April 17th) – At dusk

    Tools needed:  Bee Suit with Veil, Gloves, Hive tool, Bee Brush, & Sugar Syrup

    1. Set up your deep hive body on the bottom board with 4 frames and the frame feeder.
    2. Fill the frame feeder with sugar syrup (1-part water & 1-part sugar – just under 1 gallon) to help the bees build wax comb on the frames. (Left over syrup can be added tomorrow when you candy the queen.)
    3. Use your hive tool to pull the feeder can out of the package cage and brush any attached bees onto the center of the frames.
    4. Place the package cage inside the deep hive body in the empty space where the missing frames are.
    5. Grasp the aluminum strip and slip the queen cage out of the package cage. Gently brush away bees from the screened side of the queen cage to make sure the queen is alive.  You should keep as many bees attached to the queen cage as possible.  Use the aluminum strip to hang the cage between the center frames with the screen side of the cage facing up. DO NOT remove the cork at the end of the queen cage.
    6. Put the top cover on the hive.

    Day 2 (Tuesday April 18th) – At dusk

    Tools needed:  Marshmallow, Screw, Bee Suit with Veil, Gloves, Hive tool, Bee Brush, & left over Sugar Syrup

    1. Remove the top cover of your hive. Remove the package cage from your hive box. Shake out any remaining bees into the box.
    2. Top off the frame feeder with leftover sugar syrup from yesterday.
    3. Grasp the aluminum strip on the queen cage, and gently pull out the queen cage.
    4. Brush bees off the queen cage. Check to make sure the queen is alive.
    5. Remove the cork by twisting a small screw into the end of the queen cage, being careful not to release the queen, and insert a marshmallow (enough to plug the open hole). This step might be easier to do without your gloves on.
    6. Rehang the queen cage between the center frames insuring the screened side of the cage is facing up.
    7. Add 5 frames to your hive box where you removed the package cage from.
    8. Put the top cover on the hive
    9. DO NOT open the hive for 10 days.

     10 Days Later (Friday April 28th or Saturday April 29th) – Mid Afternoon

    Tools needed:  Bee Suit with Veil, Smoker, Hive Tool, Bee Brush, Sugar Syrup

    1. Watch the bees flying in and out of the hive. Are some of the bees flying into the hive carrying pollen in their pollen pockets on their rear legs? This is an indication that the queen is laying and the bees are raising brood.
    2. Lightly smoke the entrance of the hive.
    3. Remove the top cover of your hive, noting where most of the bees are cluster (that is where the bees will be raising brood).
    4. Remove the outermost frame from the hive to allow all the other frames to be slid apart easily.
    5. Remove the queen cage and insure the queen was released (cage should be empty). Set the empty queen cage aside.
    6. Carefully remove a frame in the center, one where most of the bees are on it, and inspect the frame. You should be able to see eggs, larva and maybe even capped brood.  If you are seeing larva that indicates you have a laying queen.
    7. Carefully replace all the frames into the hive where you removed them from.
    8. Refill the frame feeder with sugar syrup and close up the hive.
  • The Valley Hive Farmers Markets

    Everyone loves our honey!


    You can now purchase our raw, local honey at Farmers Markets in and around Los Angeles.

    Here is a list of our current markets:

    Wednesday Farmers Markets

    Miracle Mile - 5700 Wilshire Blvd. - 11-3pm

    El Segundo - 1960 E. Grand Ave. - 10-2pm

    Thursday Farmers Markets

    Century City - 10100 Santa Monica Blvd. - 10-2pm

    Los Angeles - Fig at 7th, 735 S Figueroa Street - 10-2pm

     Lancaster - 758 W. Lancaster - 4-9pm

    Friday Farmers Markets

    Los Angeles - 333 S. Hope St. (B of A Plaza) - 10-2pm

    Eagle Rock - 2035 Colorado Blvd - 5-8pm

    Saturday Farmers Markets

    DTLA Arts District - 740 E 3rd Street, Los Angeles - 10-5pm

    NoHo Arts District - 5300 Bakman Avenue, North Hollywood - 10-3pm

    Calabasas - 23504 Calabasas Rd - 8-1pm

    Sunday Farmers Market

    Westlake Village - 2797 Agoura Rd. - 10-2pm

    Toluca Lake - 10225 Riverside Dr. - 9:30-2pm


    Our knowledgable farmers market employees love to educate our customers about the many benefits of honey and other bee related products such as royal jelly, propolis and pollen.Wildflower Honey is a crowd favorite. Pictured above our 11lb container, 3lb jar, raw honey comb square, and honeysticks. Continue reading

  • The Music of Spring

    written by Keith Roberts, Head Beekeeper at The Valley Hive

    “Winter’s on the wing, here’s a fine spring morn

    Coming clear thru the night, from the May I say…”

    -Dickon  from The Secret Garden

    Here’s a little known fact about the beekeeper at The Valley Hive….. I have a soft spot for musicals.  One that is especially relevant at the moment is The Secret Garden, and a particular song, “Winter’s  On The Wing” has been on loop for the last two weeks as I’ve made my rounds working bees.  The character, Dickon, senses winter losing its icy grip and he summons the spring to overcome the cold and bleak.

    There is an energy permeating across Southern California, and I am not talking about some abstract, New Age mystical concept.   When I have opened hives during the last two weeks, I see brand new wax; what my mentor referred to as “the icing on the cake,” being made by young bees encouraged by the nutrient rich nectar they have been receiving from their sisters coming back from the fields.  They are finding food, and a lot of it.  It takes some 2 million visits to flowers to make a pound of honey, but it takes an astounding equivalent of nine pounds of honey to produce a single pound of wax.  So when I see it being built, I start paying very close attention.

    Queens are now being fed in full and they are laying at high speed, nearly 2,000 eggs a day.  The population of a hive can expand rapidly to capitalize on the banquet that is being prepared for them by nature.  Some of this is normal for this time of year, but this time, it just feels… different.

    “And now the sun is climbin’ high, risin’ fast on fire

    Glarin’ down through the gloom, gone the gray, I say

    The sun spells the doom, Of the winter’s reign

    Ice and chill must retire, From the May I say”

    After one such day of working bees, my restlessness gets the best of me and I find myself walking around my neighborhood.  It is about an hour from twilight, and I hear the bees above me working the white blossoms of the flowering pear trees standing proudly in the middle of the sidewalk.

    Ornamental Pear Ornamental Pear                                                                                                           photograph by Keith Roberts

    As I round the corner, I catch a scent that takes me back to one of my favorite places; my grandparents’ house in Granada Hills.  It is the unmistakable aroma of orange blossoms, and soon I see them peeking over someone’s white fence on the other side of the block.  The bees tumble over themselves trying to secure themselves to the coveted flowers.  Further down, a hedge of rosemary is in full bloom and judging from the action of the bees, there are hives, somewhere close, that have locked this location down with waggle dances.

    Mustard Fields in Bloom Mustard Fields in Bloom                                                                                               Photograph by Keith Roberts

    The next day I find myself at one of my apiaries in Simi Valley.  It is hardly recognizable.  A month ago, one would find nothing but barren mud along the hills.  Now, mustard grows as tall as my shoulders, and I take a few pictures of the massive bloom as I catch the unmistakable scent of nectar being cured coming from the hives behind me.

    “And now the mist is liftin' high, leavin' bright blue air

    Rollin' clean 'cross the Moor, from the May, I say

    The storm'll soon be by, leavin' clear blue sky

    Soon the sun will shine

    From the day, say I”

    As always, I remember my mentor, Walt, as the tells of spring radiate throughout the city.  Occasionally, when he was a passenger as I drove us to the next job, his normal subdued demeanor would break into a near hysteria, almost always when I was on a busy street or highway.

    “Pull over, pull over!” Walt shouted above the radio.

    I would deftly move across the lanes and throw on the hazards before coming to a full stop on the shoulder.  My pulse was pounding in my head and I was thinking how I could have possibly set the truck bed on fire.  I knew I put that damn smoker out.

    “What’s wrong?” I asked, convinced there was a fire somewhere despite not seeing any smoke from glancing in the rear view mirror.

    He was already out of the truck.  I watched him pluck a flower from the roadside and bring it back to the cabin.

    “Take a look at this.  This is  salvia leucophylla, also known as purple sage,” Walt began to lively discuss the parts of the plant the way a gearhead might talk about the inner workings of an upgraded engine with a super charger.   After the lecture, I let the silence take hold of the cabin as cars whizzed by us to our left.

    “I thought the truck was on fire,” I said, as calmly as possible. “You made me pull over for a plant?”

    “Well, this is important,” he said.

    “Can I continue driving now?”


    I merged back on the highway with Walt continuing on about major nectar producers versus minor producers and what bloomed when and where while I breathed deeply, resolving myself not to lose my cool.

    Grape Soda Lupine Grape Soda Lupine                                                                                                Photograph by Keith Roberts

    But as the years have gone by, I have my blinders off; if I miss the blossoms and the bees don’t, I will see that energy represented in that colony.  I will see the brood chamber rapidly expand, beautiful new wax, fresh nectar being stored.  And now the curiosity gets the best of me and I find myself pulling off the road to take a quick picture of lavender in full bloom, or the playfully named grape soda lupine growing wild alongside Topanga Canyon Blvd.  If I can’t recognize it, I will take a small sample of it into the truck with me and have a nursery identify it.

    This rain we have had this season was nearly record breaking.  Our hills are cloaked in green and the beginning of an immense nectar flow that we haven’t enjoyed in the last decade is foretold with colonies swarming, desert wildflowers enjoying a record bloom, and the bees are telling the beginning of a story that you can share if you just take a moment and look around you.

    I write this on March 20; the first day of spring.  If you have bees, right now, you might have heard the girls foretelling you of the inevitability of this season, just as Dickon does in Secret Garden.

    “And you’ll be here to see it, stand and breathe it all the day

    Stop and feel it, Stop and hear it

    Spring, I say”

    Spring is the perfect time to start a backyard hive! Learn more at our classes at or check out our website for more information at




  • Almond Pollination -- A Day in the Life of a Beekeeper

    A Beekeepers' Christmas A Beekeepers' Christmas

    written by Keith Roberts, Head Beekeeper at The Valley Hive


    February is the Super Bowl for U.S beekeepers, and California is the perpetual stadium.  More bees are in this state at the moment than anywhere else on the planet.  The almonds provide a very nutritious pollen and they expand in population rather rapidly as they kick their queen into high gear, and it is not unusual for them to run out of space in their two box format.  Today’s mission is to ensure that doesn’t happen, so the truck is piled high with empty boxes just in case.


    I wake at 4:29 a.m., one minute before my alarm.  I turn it off before it has a chance to pierce the silence and I check the weather in Hanford, my destination today.  As I hear the rain plinking outside my bedroom window in Canoga Park, I force myself to believe the weather prophets’ forecast for clear and sunny skies today in the almond orchards. For most people, the weather influences attire.  With the uncharacteristically wet weather of late, being a beekeeper in the almonds can be tricky. Getting stuck in the mud, among stinging insects without cell service is definitely a concern.

    Coffee and lunchbox in hand, I head to The Valley Hive in Chatsworth to pick up the bee truck, affectionately nicknamed “Chelsea”.

    It is still early: 5:15.  My joints creak, and I am reminded that, although in my thirties, I do not feel like a young man anymore. My previous career of delivering packages has added a bit more mileage on the odometer than normal. As the tendinitis in my right hand hisses its presence, I wonder if I will even make it to the average age of the commercial beekeeper.  Sixty years old seems a lifetime away.  As I cinch the loads tight, cold rain permeates the green straps, steel ratchets, and my sore knuckles, and I can’t help but think that all of my experience at this young age is a good thing.

    The GMC 6500 Flatbed has two stacks of 80 medium boxes.  As I step out of my pickup in the rain, I look at the tall stacks and anticipate the jarring terrain and potholes of the 5 freeway before the grapevine. I am no longer content with the load. I loosen the straps, climb onto the truck, and restack the boxes into three rows instead of two to lessen the chance of losing a box on the Grapevine.

    I realize I forgot a lid for one of the boxes, and go to climb off the truck by way of the ball hitch, which provides a convenient step off the back of the trailer.  As I go to brace myself on the hitch, I find nothing but an empty space.  It is gone.  I flash back to leaving the truck at a shop the other night due to the water pump succumbing on Friday on the way out to do what I am doing now, and I conclude immediately that it must have been stolen.

    My anger rises, and I let it pass.  Today is for the bees.  The hitch will be a problem to solve tomorrow.

    I climb into the cabin, turn the key, and the 454 engine roars to life, seemingly eager to battle the distance, road, and elements.

    Snow on The Grapevine Snow on The Grapevine


    The rain pounds the truck as the grapevine provides snow and beautiful scenery.  I stop to take a quick bathroom break in the wet and cold at a rest stop and check the load.  Everything is holding tight, and I start the truck and head back on the road, thinking about the work ahead.

    The 5 Freeway splits into the 99, and I make the move.  I am in farm country now, and the almond orchards I pass appear to be in full bloom.

    As I take a sip of the black coffee, still scalding, I nearly burn my hand.  The excitement and apprehension of the day take turns rolling over in my gut like an apple coated in barbed wire.  My mind is on thoughts of the bees. They should be healthy; or they might be poisoned by pesticide; perhaps stolen. Colony thefts have skyrocketed in recent years.



    Three hours of driving finds me in Hanford.  The first drop of 20 hives is healthy. Begrudgingly, I take some ridiculous selfies, as requested for our social media accounts.  I place supers on the booming hives and let myself take in the beautiful white and gold blossoms on trees that were the definition of barren a mere week and change ago.

    Dead Bees in the Almonds Dead Bees in the Almonds

    Further along, I discover colonies with a few hundred dead bees on the ground in front of the landing board.  My heart aches at the sight.  My frustration simmers as the smoker churns on top of a cover.  The hive next to the compromised one shows no sign at all of being exposed to the same toxin, and I wonder what was sprayed.  Year after year, beekeepers are forced to witness their hives being poisoned by the very same folks who demand these six legged pollinators.  Is this ever going to end?

    Happy Bees Happy Bees

    Unaware of the fatalities, the bees seem to be in a fantastic mood.  I wear only a veil -- no gloves or suit today.  They seem almost happy to see me, and I as I carefully place a medium box with 10 frames above their existing box, I imagine they appreciate the expansion of the Langstroth mansions.

    I am alone, so perhaps I am even more attentive to the placement of the tires of my bee truck.  “Stay on the crown, Roberts,” I say to myself, referring to the top most part of the dirt road that tapers off along the sides that would spell a muddy ruin to an otherwise perfect day.  There is not a rain cloud in sight, and the sky is a deep blue; the weather people got it right today.

    Selfie Selfie

    I work the bees, I snap some photos (coerced, mind you), and I take in the beauty.  It is almost uncomfortable to take it in all alone, and I am not sure if my color-blind eyes can adequately comprehend the magnificence of the blooms. The bees provide amazing company, and I do not mind being by myself, typically. But these blossoms are a once in a year event, and perhaps my Super Bowl metaphor isn’t appropriate.  This is Christmas.  Yes.  This is the beekeeper Christmas.  The gift of the almonds that heralds the spring. I understand why the Japanese so appreciate the blooming of the cherry blossoms,

    It really is beautiful.

    The last box is placed on a hive, and I secure a handful of lids and head back on the road.  I have a quarter tank of gas left in the truck and I have a choice; 25 minutes out of the way to the east, or go back the way I came, a straight shot, with fuel 30 minutes in the distance.

    I choose the latter and cruise down the 43.


    Chelsea The Bee Truck Chelsea The Bee Truck

    I make a left on Pond Road, on my way to the 99.  The fuel gauge still shows a click above empty, and I am 4 minutes away from fuel.

    Suddenly the engine dies, and I use the momentum to safely get myself parked on the shoulder of the road.  I am out of gas.

    “This is all on you, Roberts,” I mutter.  “Real good. Seriously.”

    I call AAA and tell them of my idiocy. I am told someone will be out in about 45 minutes with fuel. As I end the call,  I notice a dozen bees or so resting on the windshield.  The truck had stopped at another almond orchard in full bloom with bee hives next to the road.

    Out of concern for the AAA driver coming to my rescue, I get out of my truck and walk near the hives to assess their temperament.  They ignore me, and I am satisfied that the driver will not be rewarded with bee stings for helping me.

    In 30 minutes a technician is filling my tank with five gallons of dino-juice.  As the fuel is heard raining inside the empty steel tank, the broad shouldered tech looks at me with a bit of concern.

    “So, um, these bees, they aren’t going to sting me right?” He asked.

    “Not unless I want them to,” I chuckle.

    He did not find me funny.

    “I’m allergic,” he asserted.

    “They won’t sting you.  They are nice bees.  I checked.”


    After a handshake and a turn of the key, I was on the road again.  I made it to the Chevron station, filled up the tank to the brim, and headed back home.

    As the sun moves to the west, I focus on navigating through the chaos of the Los Angeles freeway traffic and find some satisfaction in knowing that I am one of thousands of beekeepers travelling to and from the almonds today to work their bees.

    I was wrong earlier.  I wasn’t alone.

    I had company all along.




  • LACBA Beekeeping 101 Calendar (classes at The Valley Hive)

    class 2 woodworking

    LACBA BEEKEEPING 101 CLASS DATES (2nd Saturday of the Month) 

    Schedule of Classes:

    Class #1: Saturday, February 11, 9am-12pm (NO BEE SUIT REQUIRED)

    Preparing to Be a Beekeeper; Is Beekeeping Right for You, Things to Consider, Benefits

    Reference Materials (join to get newsletters)

    Class #2:  Saturday, March 11, 9am-12pm (NO BEE SUIT REQUIRED)

    Putting together a hive box; placement of your hive; installing a package

    kids suit

    Class #3:  Saturday, April 8, 9am-12pm (BEE SUIT REQUIRED)

    We plan to do hive inspections during this class. Suit and gloves are required. If you do not have a suit yet, give us a call at (818) 280-6500 to order your suit for our next class.

    Class #4:  Saturday, May 13, 9am-12pm (BEE SUIT REQUIRED)

    Class #5:  Saturday, June 10, 9am-12pm (BEE SUIT REQUIRED)

    Class #6:  Saturday, July 8, 9am-12pm (BEE SUIT REQUIRED)

    Class #7:  Saturday, August 12, 9am-12pm (BEE SUIT REQUIRED)

    September: Volunteer at the Los Angeles County Fair: Using our knowledge to educate others.

    Class #8:  Saturday, October 14, 9am-12pm (BEE SUIT REQUIRED)

    The Los Angeles County Beekeeping Association (LACBA) 2017 Beekeeping 101 Classes have begun. Check the LACBA website for more information, and take advantage of all of the information and resources available to you on this site. The calendar will be updated with more information as it becomes available. You can also pick up course outlines and informational flyers at The Valley Hive during Beekeeping 101 Classes.

    All classes will be held at The Valley Hive -- 9633 Baden Avenue in Chatsworth. Bring a chair and arrive early.

    Beekeeping Equipment and Protective Gear  can be purchased on our website. You can also purchase your gear at the Beekeeping 101 classes. Beekeeping Supplies are also sold at L.A. Honey in Los Angeles.

    If you are looking to purchase bees, you can buy them from The Valley Hive or at Bill's Bees.

    We invite you to stop by anytime during regular business hours, so that we can answer any of your questions or help you with your beekeeping needs. Beekeeping 101 is a very popular class and individual attention is sometimes difficult when class is being held. We look forward to being part of your journey into the wonderful world of beekeeping. Enjoy the ride!

    The Valley Hive business hours:
    • Mon 10-5
    • Tues/Wed CLOSED
    • Thurs/Fri 10-5
    • Sat/Sun 11-3



  • Finding Bees for Your Hive


    After you set up your beehive, the next step is to fill it with bees!  Here we will discuss the different types of Honey Bees, and the various methods used to obtain bees.

    DO ALL BEES PRODUCE HONEY?   felicia bees on a frame

    There are more than 20,000 species of bees in the world. While the U.S. is home to approximately 4,000 types of native bees, Honey Bees (Apis Mellifera) are not native to the United States.  The European Honey Bee (Apis Mellifera Linnaeus) was brought to America in the 17th century by the early European settlers. Consequently, the Honey Bees that we use mostly descend from European races of Honey Bees. Honey Bees are the only insects that make food for human consumption. And like a lot of animals and insects that are found all over the world, Honey Bees also differ from one another based on a lot of factors.


    There are many different types of Honey Bee species in the world. Since the 1800’s, beekeepers have been breeding bees with certain characteristics for a particular purpose, whether it be for pollination, honey, or bee production.

    “The term “stock” is defined as a loose combination of traits that characterize a particular group of bees. Such groups can be divided by species, race, region, population, or breeding line in a commercial operation. Many of the current “stocks” in the United States can be grouped at one or more of these levels…” – David Tarpy, 2005. The Different Types of Honey Bees. AG-645, NC State University, Cooperative Extension Servicer

    Bee stock can vary greatly. Any generalities about a particular stock should be treated with caution, since there are always exceptions to the rule. The most common types of Honey Bees available in the U.S. are: The Italian Bee, The Carniolan Bee, The German Bee, The Caucasian Bee, The Buckfast Bee, and The Russian Bee. To learn more about these bees and their attributes, check out the following link:


    If you want gentle bees, purchasing your bees through a reputable bee breeder is your best chance.  Although, there are other options for obtaining bees.

    swarm on iron gate 01


    One way to start a hive is by collecting a swarm.  A swarm is merely a group of bees with a queen that has left their home in search of a new one. Since they don’t have any brood (developing baby bees) or honey to guard, they are generally very gentle.  Before the swarm finds a permanent home, the cluster of bees might take up temporary residence in a bush or low lying branch. Swarms are relatively easy to catch, but some beekeeping knowledge is helpful.

    As a new beekeeper in Southern California, starting out with a package of bees or a nucleus of bees may be a safer way to start a hive. While swarms are gentle, many of the bee colonies in Southern California contain some degree of Africanized genetics. Africanized Bees are more aggressive than their counterpart, the European Honey Bee, and keeping Africanized Honey Bees is not advisable. Oftentimes, when dealing with these bees, they become more aggressive as the colony grows.  So, while the temperament of the swarm may appear gentle, the behavior can change with time.


    Another way to start a hive, is by doing a cut out. This procedure involves removing and relocating a colony of bees from one location to another. Relocating a hive is an advanced beekeeping technique. Depending on the size of the hive, doing a cut-out can be complex, messy, and time consuming.  Proceed with caution and be sure to assess the temperament of the bees. We recommend that you hire a professional, if this is the route you choose to take.

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    A package of bees is approximately two or three pounds of bees. The bees arrive in a wooden or plastic box, with a mated queen hanging inside in her own cage. Installing a package is easy.  Watch our YouTube video to see how a package is installed. The Valley Hive sells Italian Bees, which are known for their favorable temperament. They are also excellent honey producers.

    5 frames of bees


    A Nuc, short for nucleus, is a small colony of bees. Consisting of 5 frames of bees, the queen has already been introduced to the bees and a combination of eggs, larvae, and honey are present. A Nuc contains bees and frames, but the remainder of equipment including the hive body, top cover, bottom board and 5 additional frames, is sold separately. A feeder is also recommended so that the colony can easily build out the first box with the necessary comb needed to store honey and eggs.  The Valley Hive sells nucs as well as the additional equipment you will need.


    The Valley Hive is here to answer all your bee related questions. We invite you to stop by during our regular business hours which can be found on our website. Taking classes through The Los Angeles County Beekeeping Association (LACBA) is a great way to get started. For more information about the classes, check the LACBA website.




  • Bees 2017


    BEES 2017

    Reserve your package now on our website!

    The best time to start your beehive is in the Spring. Packaged bees are plentiful at this time, and the bees populations begin to explode. Reserve your bees now to guarantee your order. Packages will be available for PICK UP ONLY in the middle of April. The exact date will be announced soon. Nucs (5 frames of bees) are created from packages Bees, so they are available later in the season.  We recommend that you place your order early, as bees do sell out.   If you have additional questions, please send us an email at or give us a buzz at (818) 280-6500. 




    A package of bees is approximately three pounds of bees. The bees arrive in a wooden  box, with a mated queen hanging inside in her own cage. Installing a package is easy.  Watch our YouTube video to see how a package is installed. The Valley Hive sells Italian Bees, which are known for their favorable temperament. They are also excellent honey producers.



    5 frames of bees

    A Nuc, short for nucleus, is a small colony of bees. Consisting of 5 frames of bees, the queen has already been introduced to the bees and a combination of eggs, larvae, and honey are present. A Nuc contains bees and frames, but the remainder of equipment including the hive body, top cover, bottom board and 5 additional frames, is sold separately. A feeder is also recommended so that the colony can easily build up their first box with the necessary comb needed to store honey and eggs.



    Mated, Italian, California Queens will be available in the Spring.  The queen arrives in a queen cage (above)  with attendants. Queens will be available later in the season. Check our website for updates.

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We are now open on Tuesday! Hope to see you at our new location at 10538 Topanga Cyn Blvd., Chatsworth, CA 91311