Hi all! My name is David - I've been reading these forums for the past few weeks and I finally decided to register and start posting! I'm 22 and I recently moved up north from Florida. I've been in between jobs for a few months now and although this may not be the best time in my life for it I've never been so excited to learn. Upon a recent visit to my mom in Florida we visited an apiary where my mom buys honey - she would label it with her own Logo and give it as house warming gifts to people she sold real estate to. Ever since the visit I've been 'stung' (great pun, right?) by the desire to manage my own apiary. I've read allot of beginner material, watched videos, and read forums..I think I have a general idea of what I need to do to started but I am a bit nervous.
CCD has been a concern for me as one article I read said that it originated in Pennsylvania. A big reason why I'd like to start this is to fight the reported dwindling population of bees in my new home state. I'm excited to capture swarms for people that would normally call the exterminator.
I'm not sure what kind of honey bee species to start with; Italian seems to be the ONLY way to go for USA but I wonder if another species, like German/Russian, might be better for their abilities to "winter" well. Also I think from the pictures that the Carniolan honey bee look very cute!! I had the idea to try and find an orphaned swarm rather than purchase my first bees mail order; but from what I read that would be a rare occurrence and its just easier to start with packaged bees.
Being as I don't have a job; I'd like to make this my full time gig! Pollinating crops for farmers, removing swarms, selling the products my bees make at roadside stands or at farm shows and markets. I've contacted the PA department of agriculture and got the information I need to register my apiary (when I get one started) and also talked with some people via email about getting involved with western PA beekeeper associations. What I think would be a huge help is if I could spend some time working the bees with a beekeeping veteran as a mentor; however I haven't been able to find anyone via the internet local to Monroeville, PA. I'd be up for driving an hour or so if I have to; but the majority of places I found are all near Philadelphia; which is 4 hours away on the Eastern side of PA.
Buying my first hive or building my own? I'm sure its probobly cheaper initially to buy a premade one but I'm looking to make this my own and buying premade stuff just seems dirty.
So I guess allot of this stuff could have filled many different topics here but lets just start with this for now =) Thanks in advance for your tips tricks and suggestions (all your help!).
Future Western PA Beekeeper!