Come visit us in person and learn more about our passion for bees at The Valley Hive!
Since 2014, The Valley Hive has been the premier supplier of honeybees for urban beekeepers in the greater Los Angeles area. In addition to selling bees, The Valley Hive is the only place of its kind in Southern California where bee enthusiasts can take classes and learn all about backyard beekeeping, and purchase all the beekeeping supplies needed to maintain a backyard apiary. No matter where you are in your beekeeping journey, there is always so much to learn and sharing our passion for the honeybee is what we love to do. Call or better yet, if you live in the city of Los Angeles, come visit us in person at our Chatsworth store located in the San Fernando Valley.
Remember the “killer bees" scare back in the 90's? As sensationalized as these reports were, these aggressive bees were indeed problematic and come from a line known as africanized bees.
Africanized bees were the result of an experimental breeding program in Brazil, where the European honeybee was bred with the African honeybee. After escaping from the laboratory, they spread throughout Latin America and into the South Western United States. To look at them, these bees seem no different than other honeybees. However, africanized bees have become ubiquitous in the Los Angeles area and behave very differently from pure European stock honeybees, also referred to as bees of known genetics.
At The Valley Hive, we sell only European honeybees of known genetics. All of our packages, nucs and queens come from a reputable bee breeder in Northern California where africanized bees cannot survive. We encourage the practice of using known genetics for backyard beekeeping for the safety of the beekeeper, family, friends, animals, neighbors, and the community at large. This way, we can trust that there won't be an abnormally defensive response from the colony when it is inspected or otherwise manipulated, and the art of beekeeping stays the way it was meant to be: mentally stimulating and relaxing at the same time, and an overall pleasant experience.
One of the preferred ways to start a bee colony is with a package of bees. A package consists of three pounds of bees – approximately 10,000 bees – in a wooden box with screens on two sides. Inside the box, there will be a can of sugar syrup and a small cage containing a mated queen hanging by a metal tab. Here, the queen is able to be cared for by nurse bees until the package is ready to be installed inside of a hive box.
As the bees will be fully contained inside the box, a package of bees can easily be transported to the bee yard inside of a car. Simply follow the instructions for installing a package provided by The Valley Hive, and you will have your hive set up in no time. As a true starter hive, charting the progress of the bees is easily done and therefore a package is a popular option for new beekeepers. Check out our video on How to Install A Package before you pick up your bees, so you can feel confident about installing your new package.
If you want your bees to expand in size quickly, a nuc may be the option for you. Because a nuc is an established colony, the bee population will expand quickly, and you may even be lucky enough to get honey in the first year (no promises though). Along with the queen, worker bees, and maybe some drones, a nuc consists of 5 drawn out frames of wax, which will contain a combination of brood, pollen, and honey. Unlike a package of bees, with a nuc, the queen can immediately begin laying eggs in the available beeswax cells. Another plus, by the time you receive your nuc, there will most likely be capped cells of brood getting ready to emerge. The five frames are inside a plastic case known as a nuc box that can easily be transported from the car into the bee yard. Installing a nuc can be a little tricky because the queen can be roaming on any of the frames, so care must be taken while removing the frames from the nuc box and installing them into the hive body. Make sure to watch our video on How to Install A Nuc, so you will know what to do when your bees arrive on pick up day!
The Valley Hive sells mated Italian queens from a reputable queen breeding source. Queens are sold by appointment throughout the beekeeping season and may also be available during the fall and winter Call The Valley Hive to check for availability and make a reservation to pick up a queen.
Honeybees are perfectly suited for the Mediterranean climate and adapt well to living in Southern California. The population inside a beehive ebbs and flows according to the seasons and varies somewhat depending on local temperatures, available food resources (flowers) as well as the subspecies of the bees. Because beekeeping is cyclical and dependent on the natural cycle of the seasons, the best time to start a new hive is in the Spring when bee populations are expanding.
Packages and Nucs sell out, so if you plan on purchasing bees this year, make sure to order early.
Note: We do not ship bees. Bees are available for pick up only at The Valley Hive in Chatsworth, CA. Typically, packages arrive within the first two weeks of April. However, due to circumstances beyond our control the actual date may vary based on weather conditions and other factors.