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I want to keep bees – cant let them get away! – but I’m a newbie and could use some direction before I try getting started.

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I want to keep bees – cant let them get away! – but I’m a newbie and could use some direction before I try getting started.

Like it says on the tin!

I've been interested in learning the art of bee keeping, but I don't know any bee keepers and I'm not super sure where exactly to start my education on the subject. Outside of googling 'how to keep bees', basically. I know there's a ton of books and sites I could check out, but this is so far outside my wheelhouse that I don't know what's… You know, right, reputable, not full of either bad info or info totally wrong for my area, or what have you. Basically I'm just nervous about where exactly to put my foot so I can start this path, and I don't want to realize I've taken a wrong turn way after the fact.

Where I am and what it's like here:

I'm from Southern Oregon, it's stupidly hot and drought-y here in the summer, snows a little bit in winter (around January/early February for a few weeks), and rains a lot in the mid/late fall and early/mid spring. I'm pretty rural and have a lot of space, no neighbors or anything that would be bothered by bees. My goal with bee keeping is having honey available (I lurv me some honey so very much!) as well as caring for pollinators that'll help out both my vegetable garden and flowers, as well as just nature in general

My preparedness for bees:

I have zero set up of any kind at the moment, but I've been interested in the FlowHive, it seems like a good, modern product for a beginner in the bee world. Does anyone have anything terrible to say about that sort of hive? I've seen a lot of GOOD comments about it, but I dunno if anyone's found the other side of that coin, as it were. I want to research and learn before I actually try and DO the job, of course, so I'm not rushing to set anything up, I want to know what practiced keepers think about hives/placement/environments/whatever before I actually put hands on things. I'll feel terrible if I murder a hive of bees out of ignorance or something. I DO have a bigass field though where my garden is going to spread out, and I'd like to put my hives down at one end, away from bother and with easy access to plants and blooms.

Possible problems:

Like I said, I have no real neighbors so my bees wouldn't have to worry about angry people swatting at them. What I DO have, however, is a set of train tracks close to my home, pretty much the only touch of civilization near me. They only get used a couple times a day, the latest is nearish midnight. It's short lived but fairly loud as they work the breaks and the horn going around a bend in the hill I live on. Will the bees care about that? I mean, I don't know how little bitty bee ears work, but would that stress them out in a bad way, make them want to flee the hive, or anything like that, or will they just do like I do and get so used to it that they never really notice the 5 minute interruptions? Predator-wise, I think there's only coyote, racoons, and the occaaaaaaaasional wildcat to worry about, no bears or wolves except in the most rare passing-through instances. If there was going to be a problem, it'd probably just be raccoons and most likely my best defense is a good latch and maybe some fencing, so that's pretty good, right?

(Edit to add Yellowjackets – we have a metric crap ton of yellowjackets, we're working on finding and removing their nests as they're a pretty big problem around here – I'd love some feedback on bees vs yellowjackets as well if possible!)

My main needs from experts, and my worries:

What's a good site or three with proven, correct information about bees and the keeping of bees, or do any of you have any blogs I can follow? Books as well, is there a bee-bible of sorts that bee keepers agree is great? Comments on that FlowHive vs the more common box and comb frame hives; is the FlowHive a huge mistake or has it proven to work pretty danged well? And most importantly of all, am I a gigantic idiot for wanting to do this? Like, obviously it requires care and knowledge, but am I going to be curled up in a corner sobbing about what a horrible mistake I've made while my house is being covered in bees like some terrible Black Mirror-esque nightmare because they had a meeting and decided I'm the worst bee parent in the world? I'm obviously a little nervous about a new hobby that involves living creatures whose lives and wellbeing are in my hands. Failure happens with things, but I don't want to murder a whole bunch of helpful little dudes, you know what I mean?

Approaching local bee keepers:

This is just me being socially awkward and not really knowing what's polite or acceptable. Is it okay to approach someone selling honey around here and ask about their business? I would THINK it's okay, but is that acceptable and okay amongst keepers, or would that be rude or invasive to be like 'hey, I really want to learn this, can we exchange numbers and text about local bees and stuff?'

Am I forgetting to ask anything important:

I have no idea, I've never done this before. Am I?

Aaaaaanyhoo, whatever advice and direction I can get will be most appreciated, and I'll continue to poke around through this threat and try to soak up as much knowledge as possible. Thanks, everyone!

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