Need support ? 818.280.6500
Order Vilitra

The Valley Hive

Skip to Main Content »

 

You have no items in your shopping cart.

You're currently on:

backyard beekeeping

  • Bloom Into Spring Event - Sunday, May 6th at The Valley Hive

    Join us on Sunday, May 6th for fun, food, and activities. Bring mom and receive a special gift!

     

     

     

     

     

     Bloom Into Spring

    Honeybees collect pollen and nectar from flowers. Flowers rely on bees for pollination. Beekeepers are an intricate part of this equation, as many agricultural crops are dependent on bees for fruit and vegetable production. Join us on Sunday, May 6th as we celebrate this connection and season of growth and rebirth!

    Bees

    Did you know that bees need to visit 2 million flowers in order to make 1 pound of honey? Check out our Observation Hive - a fully functional hive encased in glass - and watch as bees come and go and communicate with the other bees inside of the hive. Sample raw, local honey and learn how bees create different flavors simply by the way they collect nectar from the plants.

    Flowers

    Get ready for Spring...make a flower pot for mom for Mothers Day! Plant some seeds and watch them grow! Learn what you can do in your garden to beautify any outdoor living space.

    Bloom LA

    The Valley Hive and Topanga Nursery are excited to announce our partnership with Bloom! BLOOM is an interactive, pop-up art show with nearly a dozen large-scale installation art pieces, spread out over 100,000 square feet of lush grass in Griffith Park on June 22, 23 & 24. Our friends from Bloom LA will be on hand to share information about their upcoming event and have planned a special interactive activity just for us featuring....flowers!!

    Celebrate The Queen Bee

    Bring your mom to the event and she will receive a special gift from us. Take advantage of special Mother's Day savings throughout the store and in the nursery on Sunday, May 6th ONLY!

    Fun - Food - Activities

    Bloom Into Spring with us in bee-u-ti-ful historical Chatsworth.  Sip lemonade in the garden as you commune with nature. Enjoy learning more about the craft of beekeeping and participate in other Spring-like activities.

    Shop and Save

    No matter what time of year, saving money is always in season! Shop with us on Sunday, May 6th and save on specially selected items throughout our gift store and in the nursery.

    Happy Anniversary to Us

    We have now been at our new location in Chatsworth - at the corner of Topanga and Chatsworth- for an entire year. If you haven't stopped by in awhile, now is the perfect time to visit! Our gift shop is overflowing with honey, lotions and balms, and other bee-related and local gifts. Browse through the Topanga Nursery and be amazed at the recent transformation. Plants of every shape, size, and variety and bursts of color abound throughout the luscious garden. Stop by and see for yourself. You will bee amazed at what we have done with the place!

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Hive Loss is a Part of Life for Beekeepers

    Written by Keith Roberts/Head Beekeeper at The Valley Hive

    checking hives in the bee yard checking hives in the bee yard

    My First Hive Loss

    I vividly remember the first colony I lost.  It was the spring of 2008 on a cool day in April that I came across a hive that was originally from a colony I removed from a stucco wall of a home in Woodland Hills.  The colony had all the fundamentals;  good laying pattern from the queen, plenty of food stores, an attentive beekeeper who fed them every week with fresh syrup and pollen patties, and there was a low mite count.  I was diligent, yet when I cracked open the cover the only thing that greeted me was silence.

    It was the first time I experienced the sharp absence of life inside of a hive; capped brood abandoned and a few newborns frozen in a permanent begging pose with their long proboscis sticking out pleading for food from sisters that weren’t there. I felt that knife in my throat; that same cut that felt agonizingly familiar to that first breakup, the rejection from the first job I applied for, the brutal ending of a long friendship.

    What Happened To My Bees?

    My heart was broken.  Here I was, in my late twenties, fighting back tears as I loaded the lonely hive box onto the back of my pickup truck. I sped to my intrepid mentor’s house to discover what had killed the precious bees.

    As I drove and, admittedly, sped, across the 118 freeway, I tried to imagine the ways I must have screwed up.  A disease I missed; something obvious that I should have seen.  By the time I arrived at Walt’s house in North Hills, I felt like a 10 year old boy with his dead dog in his lap.

    Walt was pruning the tree in his front yard and he walked toward my truck as I parked along the curb. I felt ridiculous, ashamed, a failure.

    “My bees died, Walt,” I said, attempting to keep my voice even. “Can you tell me why?”

    “Let’s take a look,” he said in that matter of fact tone that was his trademark.

    Analyzing the Dead Hive

    He took out each frame and scrutinized the comb.  He held the comb against the sun, he brought it close to his nose and inhaled deeply, pausing to process the scent.  He flipped the frame and looked closely at the underside of the cells.  He took a small twig off the ground and did a field test in one of the capped brood cells, swirling it around and slowly extracting it as he searched for the tells of foulbrood.

    Let me be clear about something: Walt did not shy away from confrontation, especially when it involved incompetence from another party.  Since that “party” usually consisted of yours truly, I was used to the sudden beratement that sometimes came when I committed an error in some way.  I was anticipating the verbal assault, i.e. lesson, as I stood there on his front lawn.  It was my fault; somehow, some way.  I screwed up and killed an innocent colony of bees.

    He put the last frame down inside the hive box, looked at me, and simply said, “It looks like this colony died.  Keith, that’s all I can tell you.”

    It's Not Always Your Fault

    My sadness exploded into a strange anger. “40 years of experience and that’s all you can tell me? Really?” I shot back. Here I was expecting to be torn down and it was me that was suddenly terribly out of line. The irony was not lost on me. “Come on, you know I messed something up.”

    Walt drew a deep breath, looked down at the ground and then straight in my eyes.

    “Losing bees is part of being a beekeeper.  You cannot explain every loss. You just can’t.  You can do everything right and the bees can still pass away.  This is your first death of a colony.  I promise you; it will not be your last.  Not even if you are the best beekeeper on this planet.”

    “I feel horrible,” I said.

    He put a calloused hand on my shoulder. “Finally,” he said. “You’re a real beekeeper. Now come inside and have a beer.”

    I went inside his home and he handed me a Pabst Blue Ribbon.  After a couple hours of conversation revolving bees, the repairs that never ended on his house, and life in general, I thanked him and bid him goodnight.

    Why Bees Die

    Since then, I have lost, literally, hundreds of colonies.  Most have been from pesticide.  Some from Varroa Mites that got away from me, others from marauding ants, and some I have no idea.  I have also been handed hundreds of hives from hundreds of beekeepers, men and women, some with brave faces with that same wetness in their eyes that others may have missed but I sure caught.  It takes one to know one, after all.

    You can see the Varroa Mite defecation on the underside of the cell. Others, you recognize a starved hive from the bottoms of the bees sticking out from the comb, frozen in a desperate search for food.  I have yet (KNOCK ON WOOD) to smell the telltale stench from foulbrood from an urban beekeeper’s hive, but a very high percentage of dead outs I am asked to analyze make me remember that day when I watched Walt check out my frames.  Sometimes, the comb reads like novels.  Sometimes, they are blank pages.

    And I have to give that same lecture, sometimes to a devastatingly broken heart.  When professionals across this country who have forgotten more about beekeeping than I will ever know lose 40% of their hives as of 2016, there is no denying that what Walt told me that day was the truth.

    Losing A Hive is Part of Beekeeping

    Losing hives is a part of beekeeping.  Period.  Listen to the beekeepers around you, read all you can, inspect often, treat when necessary, and watch, watch, watch.

    But losses are a part of beekeeping.  Recognize when it is your fault and use it as a motivator to adopt better techniques. But also learn to accept that sometimes, despite your best intentions and actions, losses still happen.

    Feel that sharp pang of frustration with this?  Congratulations.  You’re now a real beekeeper.

    Hive Loss is part of Beekeeping. Hive Loss is part of Beekeeping.

    Editor's Note: Keith Roberts is co-owner of The Valley Hive a beekeeping supply company located in Chatsworth, CA. The Valley Hive sells Beekeeping Supplies and offers Beekeeping Services including House Calls to Backyard Beekeepers looking to start a backyard hive.  Interested in becoming a beekeeper? Check out The Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association for more information.

  • Beekeeping Basics

    your first backyard hive

    BEEKEEPING BASICS

    Interested in bees and starting a backyard hive, but you don't know where to begin? Then Join us on Saturday, January 28th and you will find out everything you need to know to set up your first hive! Snacks and FREE admission. Everyone is welcome!

    Check out our Facebook Page for more information!

     

  • Starting your First Backyard Hive

    So...you are thinking about becoming a Backyard Beekeeper and starting your first Backyard Hive.  Perhaps you are a little apprehensive about starting a hobby that involves thousands of stinging insects.  We, at The Valley Hive understand because we, too, are beekeepers who were once in your shoes! In fact, we started The Valley Hive so we could help people just like you! Our primary goal is to help ensure your success as a Backyard Beekeeper.  We are the first and only business of its kind in the San Fernando Valley, offering person to person assistance at our store, located in Chatsworth just south of the 118 freeway.  Come visit our showroom where you can not only see, touch and feel the products we carry, but you can also try on a beesuit and even see an actual functioning glass Observation Beehive. Our knowledgeable staff is eager to help with all of your beekeeping needs, and will make sure that you do not leave until all of your questions have been answered! As we begin the 2017 beekeeping season, we hope that you will take advantage of the checklist below detailing all of the items you will need to get through your first year of beekeeping.

    your first backyard hive

    Remember, we are here to help with your beekeeping needs, and you can also check out our website to learn more about the products and services we offer including  Beekeeping Equipment, Hive Components, and Protective Gear.  Visit us at your earliest convenience, so we can help get you suited up and ready to receive your bees!

4 Item(s)

Working Hours
We are open 7 days a week from 8:30am-5:00pm
We have moved! Our new address is 10538 Topanga Cyn Blvd. Chatsworth, CA 91311
(818) 280-6500
 
 
 
Web Analytics