Joining a local club is often the first advice you'll hear from seasoned beekeepers. The second piece of advice is to take a beginner's course. Our club hosts an annual Beginning Beekeeping Class designed to help the novice get up to speed and an annual family membership is included in the cost of the course! We also place a bulk order each Spring to purchase bees from a reputable supplier.
One service our club provides to the community is swarm removal. We have contacts listed in the Swarm Section that would be happy to help.
Prospective members can join by attending any meeting and paying the annual dues of $10 per family. Membership is also included in the fee for the annual Beginning Beekeeping Class held each February.
Our club provides a team of experienced Advisors to help our members when they have questions or concerns with their hives. Members also have access to our annual package order at an often discounted bulk rate. Read more about other benefits and how to join on our Membership page.
Several members have had black bears damage or destroy their hives and sightings happen frequently in the rural counties surrounding Richmond. The club recommends you use an electric fence to protect your investment. You can read more about setting up a fence in our presentation on Protecting Your Hives From Bears And Other Predators .
The short answer is no. Bears are VERY capable climbers and have been photographed scaling various types of fences and other PHYSICAL barriers. An electric fence serves as a MENTAL barrier by delivering a shock that will scare off a predator and deter them from any future attempts of accessing your hives.
Winter is the most common time of the year for beekeepers to lose a colony. Beginning on page 14 of the "Wintering Bees In Cold Climates" document is a process to identify the reason the colony was lost so that the beekeeper can take corrective action to protect other colonies and increase survival rates in subsequent years: Diagnosing Deadouts