The Valley Hive's Startup Guide

The Valley Hive’s Startup Guide

Located in the northwest San Fernando Valley, The Valley Hive specializes in helping urban beekeepers start and maintain backyard hives safely in the greater Los Angeles area. 

Packaged bees are now for sale on their website featuring Italian bees with Minnesota Hygienics, a strain that has shown to be increasingly resistant to varroa mites. These packages will be available for pickup in early April but they are selling out fast, so be sure to reserve yours bees now at

Below are 5 tips to help ensure success with your first backyard hive:

Bee Educated: The Valley Hive hosts the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association Beekeeping 101 classes. Classes are FREE FOR ALL MEMBERS!  Come and meet new and veteran beekeepers in your area, and learn directly from them what works. This will include getting into the hives at the Valley Hive bee yard in Chatsworth.

Location, Location, Location: Hive placement on your property is important for you, any pets, your children, and the bees themselves. Per Los Angeles City Beekeeping Ordinance, the hive should not be in the front yard, the entrance should face away from, or parallel to, the nearest adjacent lot, and be a minimum of 20 feet away from public streets.  The hive boxes can become quite heavy when laden with honey so keep the colonies off roofs and hills. You can also have one of the beekeepers from The Valley Hive also offers FREE site surveys to determine the best location for your backyard hive.

H2O: Water - it’s good for you, and it’s good for your bees.  Before setting up a colony, make sure your water station is in place so your bees gather what they need from your yard and not from your neighbor’s pool.  There are many ways to do this; some are simple like a half barrel of water with water hyacinths to more elaborate fountains or birdbaths.  The bees like to fly a bit to get their water, so place their watering hole 20 feet away from the hive and in the direct sun where the bees are more likely to find it.  


Keep Nice Bees, Not Mean Bees:
  The buzz term for nice bees is “known genetics,” and that is what you want in an urban setting – Italian or Carniolan bees, received from a reputable distributor. The Valley Hive or Bill’s Bees, will have genetics renowned for gentleness.  Feral colonies can be dangerous to keep in the city with neighbors close by, so for safety, be sure to keep the “sweet” variety of bees in your backyard. 

Register Your New Apiary: To make it official, you must register your bee yard with Los Angeles County Dept. of Agriculture. You can download the form HERE. Registration is $20 a year, and it is meant to protect your bees in case there is a reported pesticide spraying nearby.  You may be given 24 hours’ notice to move your bees or to screen them in so they aren’t exposed to the application. 

One of the best ways to fully appreciate all that beekeeping has to offer, is to get involved with the local beekeeping community and take advantage of the amazing educational and community resources LACBA has to offer. This 5,000 year old craft is full of surprises.  Come to the monthly meetings, share your new knowledge with your family and friends, and know The Valley Hive is here to support you with the products and friendly service every step of the way.

Happy Buzzings!!