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A couple years ago the age 5 sounded good for getting my boys started with their own hives. Now that its here Im apprehensive but, they are holding me to it. Anyone else get started this young? I have a few questions about started kits.

Will the size small jacket and gloves work for small children or should I look for an alternative for now?

What type of hive will be best for learning, simplicity for the littles?

I see there are a lot of plastic products out there that we are not fond of, will the bees be able to keep the wax cool in our hot central valley summers here in california? Or perhaps thats not an issue.

We are in an organic/trans orchard, plant cover crops and keep a garden, will I still need to supplement the bees food supply?

Also, there are a few older hives that were abandon in the back of our field a couple years ago. One seems to still be active. Will the queen move if given the option for a better home?




Thanks for your post. We have many families with children at similar ages and younger getting started with bees.

Our hat veil (comes standard in the starter kit) is universally sized and should work for them. We also sell extra small gloves that usually fit children a bit better. They aren’t on the website yet, but I’ll get them added straight away.

The horizontal top bar hive would probably be best for the children, as the bees tend to be more docile in them and they are easier to manipulate without lifting heavy boxes. You can find a top bar hive here: http://www.beethinking.com/top-bar-hive

We’ve got hundreds of customers in California using this type of hive and they do well. The hive was actually developed in Kenya where it can also get quite warm.

With only one or two hives, it’s unlikely you’ll need to supplement their feed much if at all. I rarely feed my hives (I didn’t feed any this past year). I also don’t harvest more than I think is safe.

The colony won’t move unless they are swarming, or if you manually move them. I would set up your new hive(s) a couple hundred yards from the current hive (if possible) and bait them with lemongrass oil (http://www.beethinking.com/lemongrass-oil) as it acts as a swarm attractant. Just a couple drops inside the entrance of the hive(s) should suffice.

If the colony does swarm and land somewhere that’s easily accessible, you can also drop them into a box and then dump them into your new hive(s).




Thanks for the info. The top bar hive is very nice but, I’m afraid it’s out of our budget. What might the next best option be? I will try to lure the swarm as you suggested once we get set up.



Horizontal top bar hives are known for being simple to build, so if you or anyone you know are handy at all, this could be the least expensive option. Many people just buy our Top Bars and then build their hive based around them. There are plans available here: http://www.biobees.com/build-a-beehive-free-plans.php