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Beekeeping is a largely seasonal activity.  Depending on the time of year, there are different ways to be involved with bees through the Amazon Bee Co-Op.

Read on below about what happens during different times of the year and then email us at to get started.

Winter:  Learning and Planning
Winter is a great time to  read up about bees and to plan next year's hives. All of this is of course best done over a plate of scones served with your own honey!  Starting in winter provides plenty of time to make a good decision about whether to keep bees or not, where to put them, etc.

As a co-op, in late winter we size up the number of new hives we want each year.  If you're new and want a hive of your own, that's the best time to introduce yourself, get involved with building the hives, and to place your order for new bees.

Early Spring:  Starting New Hives
Starting a new bee hive is mostly done during early-mid springtime.  
We mainly build what are called top-bar hives.  
Each hive costs about $70 in materials and takes about 8 hours of our collective effort to build.  
We can typically build a first-rate hive for about a fifth of what you'd pay for a commercially sold version of similar quality.

Working together to build hives helps us keep the cost of beekeeping down to a minimum.  Similarly, b
y building hives in a batch at the beginning of the season we also save a lot of work.

New purchased bees usually arrive the first week of April and as a co-op we schedule a day to put the bees into new hives.  It's a great time and a really amazing way to become acquainted and comfortable with bees.

Late Spring:  Swarm Season
As bees reproduce rapidly in springtime, it's important to keep a close eye on them so that they don't run out of room and consequently swarm in order to find a new home.  Adding new levels or 'supers' to the hive is helpful as the bees fill up their exiting space.  During this time of year, there's lots to do as we check on hives, sometimes feed new colonies, add space, and even catch wild swarms!

Purchasing bees is one way to start a new hive.  Catching wild swarms is another!  If you missed the opportunity to purchase bees, you might still be able to set up a new colony if you get a hive ready and are lucky enough to catch a swarm.

Despite appearances bee swarms are actually amazingly gentle and harmless, primarily because a swarm of bees has no home to protect. Catching a swarm is pretty easy if you can get to it (they usually land in a tree branch, on a building, on a fence, etc.), but you need to be prepared with an empty hive box ahead of time because there's no way to predict when a swarm will show up.

Summer:  Harvesting Honey
In late summer, second year and older hives usually yield some surplus honey that we can harvest if we're lucky.  This is wonderful treat and yields plenty of excitement and things to do, not to mention amazing honey and wax.  Harvesting is usually done a few weeks after the last nectar flow.

Fall:  Buttoning Hives Up For Winter
As the weather cools, there's more work to do readying hives for winter.  We remove any extra space from hives, check on bees, narrow hive door openings, rub on a new coat of oil/wax to protect hives, etc.