Bill's Bees Has Bees For Sale

Bill's Bees Has Bees for SaleAt Bill's Bees you can purchase A Complete Beehive, Bees in Packages, or Nucs. We also sell VSH Italian Queens. All our bees are Italian honey bees with known gentle genetics. These bees are ideal for Backyard Beekeeping in Los Angeles as well as for Commercial Beekeepers who take their bees to pollination.

Pre-Order by December 31, 2016 and Save. The price of bees (TBD) will increase on January 1, 2017.

A Complete Hive for $315 ~ Nucleus colony (described in Bees in Nucs) that includes Italian Bees with a VSH-Italian 'unmarked' queen, a painted deep hive body, bottom board fastened to the box, and lid, plus 5 additional undrawn new frames to fill out the box. You may choose to substitute an internal frame style feeder (with cap and ladders) for 3 of the undrawn frames. Available mid-March for a Complete Hive with fall 2016 queens. Available mid-May with 2017 queens.  (A Complete Hive in March can catch the early spring and summer nectar flows.) View Details

Bees in Packages - $150 ~ 3 lbs Italian honey bees in a screened cage with VSH Italian mated 'unmarked' queen in a separate screened queen cage (with attendants). The known gentle genetics of these Italian Honey Bees make them ideal for Backyard Beekeeping in Los Angeles. Packages can be installed in any style hive. Queen Marking cost $5. Available for pick up April 2017.  View Details 

Bees in Nucs - $215 ~ 5 Frames (Deep) or 6 Frames (Medium) ~ Italian Bees with VSH-Italian 'unmarked' Queen. Queen Marking cost $5. Nucs available in May 2017. Available mid-March for Nucs with fall 2016 queens. Available mid-May with 2017 queens.  (Nucs in March can catch the early spring and summer nectar flows.)  View Details

The VSH-Italian Queen Bee - $40 is produced and mated in Northern, CA where there are no Africanized genetics ensuring gentle behaving offspring. Yes, they can still sting. Queens Available beginning mid-April for the 2017 season.  View Details

View more about our Bees for Sale.

Note: WE DO NOT SHIP OUR BEES. We will notify you of pick up dates, times, and location.


Bill & Clyde
Bill's Bees

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Beekeeping Class 101 - Class #5: Hive Management and Care of My Honey Bees

Honey bee frameGet ready for Class #5! Join us June 19th (9am-noon) at Bill’s Bees Bee Yard for Class #5 of the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association Beekeeping Class 101. (Bee Suits Required)

June bee class is traditionally our class for hunting mites, but every class from now on out will have a segment on testing for mites, monitoring mite levels, and safe mite treatments for honey bees.

We will continue to follow the progress of packages installed in May.

With good mentoring, monitoring, and continued learning of beekeeping skills, you're off to a good start. Enjoy!

Happy Bee-ing!
Bill & Clyde
Bill's Bees

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Beekeeping Class 101 - Class #4: Hive Management

LACBA Beekeeping Class 101 - Class #4

Get ready for Class #4! Join us Sunday, May 15th (9am-noon) at Bill's Bees Bee Yard for Class #4 of the 2016 Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association Beekeeping Class 101 series (Bee Suits Required). 

In this hand’s on beekeeping class you’re going to learn about hive management and what to look for to see how your bees are doing: 

  • Is my queen healthy? Or, am I queenless? 
  • Is there brood? Or, do I need to replace my queen?
  • Is there food? Or, do I need to feed my bees? What? When? How?
  • Are there Varroa mites? And if so, what do I do? 

For those of you who attended Class #3, we took our first peek inside the hive and had a look around:

We learned to approach a bee hive from the side, slowly and with care, and that it’s not a good idea to stand in front of the hive, blocking the entrance. Foragers, packed with nectar and pollen, were anxious to get in.

A few puffs of smoke from the smoker helped calm the bees before we opened the top cover. Once the cover was removed, we began our inspection inside the hive. As we removed the frames we leaned them against the side of the box. 
We worked from the outside frames first then moved toward the inside. While carefully removing the frames, we looked for the queen. She's larger and moves quicker than the worker bees and is usually going from cell to cell laying eggs. We finally found the queen surrounded by her 'court,' healthy and happy, and busy laying eggs.  

We saw where the worker bees had started building wax on new frames and were forming the wax into cells. Honey bee cells are the same size all over the world. Worker bee cells are the smallest cells, flat topped, capped with wax. This is called capped brood. Drone cells are bigger, taller, with a dome top. Queen cells are large, peanut shape and texture.

We learned that a beehive consists of three types of bees: Females: 1 Queen, Thousands of Worker Bees. Males: Drones. These three types of individual bees make up the collective hive which is an organization in itself. 

It was an amazing first look inside a bee hive; lot's of oooh's and aaah's, and finger's pointing: What's this? What's that? What are they doing?

Now, in Class #4, we’re going to go more in depth, and learn to recognize the signs of a healthy or troubled hive:

First, we’re going to find the queen and determine if she’s still laying eggs. If she’s not laying, she may be a dud, and we might need to replace her. And, how do we replace a queen?

Then, we’ll look for eggs and see if the larvae have been fed royal jelly. Worker bees feed royal jelly (a milky white substance) to larvae for the first three days. After three days, the worker bees feed the larvae pollen (bee bread). They will continue to feed pollen to the larvae until the larvae is capped off; usually around the 14th or 15th day. Worker bees emerge about 21 days after the egg is laid, drones 24 days, and a queen will emerge about 16 days after the egg is laid. We’re going to learn to identify the differing stages of larvae, locate the capped brood, and learn what the brood pattern reveals to us about the health of the brood and the hive. We'll also learn to tell the difference between capped brood and capped honey.

We'll cover what bees eat:

  • Why do bees need pollen: It is their protein. If bees are not bringing in enough pollen, you’ll learn to determine if you need to feed them a pollen substitute.
  • Why do bees need nectar: It is their carbohydrates. If the bees are not bringing in enough nectar, you may need to feed them sugar syrup. You'll learn how.

We’ll talk about Varroa mites. They seem to be out way too early this season. We’ll discuss various ways of testing for mites and what to do if your bees are infested.

Now, if you really want to get excited and get a jump on identifying the stages of larvae, check out this amazing time lapse video from National Geographic. Honeybee Metamorphosis: From tiny eggs to quivering pupae to hair-sprouting adults, worker honeybees develop at lightning speed thanks to a time-lapse video of 2,500 images.

Honeybee Metamorphosis - National Geographic

With good mentoring, monitoring, and continued learning of beekeeping skills, your bees are off to a good start. Enjoy!

Happy Bee-ing!
Bill & Clyde
Bill’s Bees

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LACBA Beekeeping Class 101: Class #1 - What You Need To Start Keeping Bees!

How exciting! Over 200  newbees (Yikes!) showed up for our first class of the 2016 season! What a gorgeous day to be up on the mountain at Bill’s Bees Bee Farm.

Bill and Clyde have hosted and taught the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association Beekeeping Class 101 for many years. Once upon a time, there were only a handful of “newbees” interested in becoming beekeepers. Over the past few years, interest in beekeeping and the desire to learn more about these tiny honey bees who are so important to our survival, has grown around the world.

So now you want to be a beekeeper!!! You’ve come to the right place. We offer a great series of classes for both beginners and established beekeepers. We’ll walk you through a season of beekeeping; from where to get your bees, what you’ll need in the way of protective clothing, tools and equipment, how to care for your bees, and when and how to extract honey.

With the joy of beekeeping also comes the responsibility to your bees, your neighbors, and yourself. We teach responsible beekeeping for an urban environment, adhering to best management practices for the bees, the beekeepers, and the general public. Keeping bees can be daunting and there’s a lot to learn. As the beekeeper will tell you, “Ask ten beekeepers a question, and you’ll get eleven answers.” You'll make mistakes, we all do. But you’ve entered a wonderful community whose passion is honey bees. We’re here to help you become the best beekeeper you can be.

In our first class we discussed some of the preliminary planning considerations, tools and equipment, and beekeeping resources. In April you’ll be picking up your bees (hope you’ve got your bee order in, they’re going fast!). Below are some things to consider and plan for before you pick up your bees.

Location, Location, Location:

  • A location in the open, preferably with a southern or easterly exposure, for maximum sunshine throughout the day.
  • Away from animals and children, not along a foot path, or where there is direct traffic. 
  • Protected by a barrier (approx. 2 feet from - and facing a hill or wall) from wind, streets, etc. This will also force the bees to fly up and over cars, people, etc., thus causing them to be less of a nuisance and helping them to stay alive.
  • Ease of access (you don’t want to be lifting heavy supers of honey up and down stairs or across rocky fields).

What the bees will need:

  • A safe, natural habitat with a source for nectar and pollen. A typical honey bee colony forages more than 80,000 square yards to find plants and flowers with sufficient nectar (honey) the bees' source for energy and pollen (essential in brood rearing) the bees' source of carbohydrates. 
  • A nearby source of fresh water (within ¼ mile) so they don’t use the neighbor’s swimming pool. This can be a tank or barrel of water with rocks or floating boards or cork for the bees to land on. 
  • A safe, comfortable, home to live in. 

We suggest you buy a couple of good beekeeping books and read them all the way through, twice. Here’s some suggestions:

  • Beekeeper’s Handbook 
  • Keeping Bees in Towns & Cities
  • How to Keep Bees & Sell Honey
  • Beekeeping for Dummies
Beekeeping Supplies & Equipment (What You Need and What You Don't!)

Basic Essentials List for Beginning Beekeepers:

The Hive - Langstroth (from the bottom up):

Hive Stand - This is a platform to keep the hive off the ground. It improves circulation, reduces dampness in the hive, and helps keep ants, bugs, leaves, and debris from getting into the hive. It can be made of anything solid enough to support the weight of a full beehive. Wooden hive stands are available for sale but bricks, concrete blocks, pallets, and found lumber are just as good. It’s helpful to place the legs of the stand in cans filled with used motor oil to deter ants from climbing up the legs and into the hive. The stand should be strong enough to support one hive or a number of colonies. What is important to remember is that the hive needs to be at least 6 inches off the ground.

Bottom Board - Is placed on top of the hive stand and is the floor of the hive. Bees use it as a landing board and a place to take off from.

Entrance Reducer - Is basically a stick of wood used to reduce the size of the entrance to the hive. It helps deter robbing.

Hive Boxes/Supers - Come in three sizes: deep, medium and shallow. Traditionally, 2 deep boxes have been used as brood chambers with 3 or 4 or more boxes (medium or shallow) on top as needed for honey storage. Many beekeepers use all medium boxes throughout the hive. This helps reduce the weight of each box for lifting. If you have back problems or are concerned about heavy lifting, you could even use shallow boxes all throughout the hive. So, 6 boxes as a minimum for deep and medium. More if you wanted to use only shallow boxes. You will only need two boxes to start out, adding boxes as needed for extra room and honey storage.

Frames and Foundation - For each box you have for your hive, you will need 10 frames that fit that box. Frames can be wooden with beeswax foundation or all plastic with a light coating of beeswax. The bees don't care and will use both equally well. Foundation is intended to give the bees a head start on their comb building and helps minimize cross comb building that makes it difficult to remove and inspect. You can buy all beeswax foundation or plastic foundation with a thin coat of beeswax applied to it. Alternatively, you can provide empty frames and let the bees build their comb from scratch but that can be a bit tricky and it takes the bees longer to get established. 

Top Cover: The top cover can be as simple as a flat sheet of plywood. We prefer the top covers made with laminated pieces to make a flat board and extra cross bracing to help hold the board flat for years. Plywood tends to warp over time. You can also use a telescoping cover, but they require an additional inner cover. 

Paint - All parts of your hive that are exposed to the weather should be painted with (2 coats) of a non-toxic paint. Do not paint the inside of the hive or the entrance reducer. Most hives are painted white to reflect the sun, but you can use any light colors. Painting your hives different colors may help reduce drift between the colonies. If your hive will not be in your own bee yard, you may want to paint your name and phone number on the side of the hive.

Tools & Supplies:

bee brushBee Brush - A beekeeper needs a brush to gently move the bees from an area of observation when looking for a queen and when harvesting frames of honey. Use a brush that has long, soft, flexible, yellow bristles. Don’t use a dark, stiff brush with animal hair, or a paint brush.

duct tapeDuct Tape - You’ll have lots of uses for duct tape, might want to keep it handy.                                                                                                                                                             

hive toolHive Tool - A hive tool is the most useful piece of beekeeping equipment. It can be used to pry up the inner cover, pry apart frames, scrape and clean hive parts, scrape wax and propolis out of the hive, nail the lid shut, pull nails, and scrape bee stingers off skin. The hive tool has two parts: the wedge or blade and the handle. Hive tools are often fitted with brightly-colored, plastic-coated handles which helps the beekeeper locate the hive tool while working. 

FeederFeeder - You may want to have a feeder with sugar syrup to give your new bees a boost in their new home. Its the helping hand they need to get started building comb.

SmokerSmoker - Examining a hive is much easier when you use a smoker. Use it to puff smoke into the entrance before opening the hive and to blow smoke over the frames once the hive is opened. This helps the beekeeper to manage the bees. Cool smoke helps to settle the bees. Smoking the bees initiates a feeding response causing preparation to possibly leave the hive due to a fire. The smoke also masks the alarm pheromone released by the colony’s guard bees when the hive is opened and manipulated. Smoke must be used carefully. Too much can drive bees from the hive. A smoker is basically a metal can with a bellows and a spout attached to it. We prefer to use a smoker with a wire cage around it. A large smoker is best as it keeps the smoke going longer. It can be difficult to keep a smoker lit (especially for new beekeepers). Practice lighting and maintaining the smoker. Burlap, rotted wood shavings, pine needles, eucalyptus, cardboard, and cotton rags are good smoker fuels.

Protective Clothing:

Bee suitBee Suit - For the best protection, full bee suits are recommended. But whether or not a suit is used, a beekeeper's clothing should be white or light in color (bees generally do not like dark colors and will attack dark objects). Avoid woolen and knit material. You will want to wear clothing both that will protect you and you don’t mind getting stained (bees produce waste that shows up as yellowish marks on your clothing). You’ll want to close off all potential to getting stung by wearing high top boots or tucking your pants into your socks and securing your cuffs with rubber bands or duct tape.

Bee Gloves - Long, leather, ventilated gloves with elastic on the sleeves help protect the hands and arms from stings.

 Hat and Veil - Even the most experienced beekeepers wear a hat and veil to protect their head, face, and eyes from bee stings. Wire veils keep bees farther away from the face than those made of cloth. Black veiling is generally easier to see through. Make sure the veil extends down below and away from your neck.

That’s it!

Once you have all you need, expenses can be kept to a minimum. With the right care, equipment, tools, and clothing will last a long time. If your hive becomes overcrowded, just add another box or two. Or, you may find you’ll want to split your hive – then you’ll have two! If honey is overflowing, just add another box or two. And, great! – You’ll have lots of yummy honey!!

A note on protective clothing: There was a time when we could safely visit our bees wearing little protective clothing. With the arrival of Africanized bees into the Southern states we've come to realize the potential danger of an aggressive hive and have learned to exercise caution when approaching our bees. A once gentle hive could be invaded and taken over by a small aggressive swarm in a few days. These bees are unpredictable and vigorously defend their hives. Protective clothing such as a bee suit, veil and gloves will help keep stings to a minimum in the bee yard if worn correctly. As beekeepers, it is our responsibility to help curtail the danger to our bees, ourselves, and others.

Here’s a list of suppliers:

The Valley Hive
Los Angeles Honey Company
Dadant & Sons
Mann Lake Ltd.
Walter T. Kelley Co.

We primarily work with the Langstroth hive but you can also use the Top Bar Hive or the Warre Hive. We'll be happy to share our experience with these two styles of hives, as well. 

The 2nd Class on March 20th will be held at The Valley Hive (9633 Baden Ave., Chatsworth, CA 91311 tel: 818-280-6500). The topic is: Woodworking, Building Your Own Hive and Frames. You'll also learn how to care for your hives and equipment. 

The April 17th class will be back at Bill's Bees Bee Yard for a grand adventure.  We'll be taking a peek at what goes on inside the bee hive. This class is so exciting. You'll learn all about the worker bees and their 'jobs,' the drones and their 'job,' and you'll learn to find 'your queen'!  BEE SUITS ARE REQUIRED for this class and all the rest of the beekeeping classes. Any and all information, changes, scheduling, etc. is posted on the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association Beekeeping Class 101 page and on the LACBA Facebook page.

Happy bee-ing!

Thank you, 
Bill & Clyde
Bill's Bees

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Bill's Bees Hosts LACBA Beekeeping Class 101

The Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association Beekeeping Class 101 - 2016 Season begins Sunday, February 21, 9:00AM-Noon, at Bill's Bees Bee Yard -

We teach responsible beekeeping for an urban environment, adhering to Best Management Practices for the bees, beekeepers, and general public. All are Welcome!

: Classes are held the 3rd Sunday of each month: February 21, March 20, April 17, May 15, June 19, July 17, August 15, No class in September, we're sharing our experience and knowledge at the LA County Fair Bee Booth), October 16.

Time: Classes held from 9am-noon. Please arrive 15 min. early so we can start on time.

Cost: Beekeeping Class 101 is free to LACBA members. Membership is $10/year, per household. New members are welcome to join at the classes. Non members $10/class.

Registration: You do not need to call, email, Facebook, or contact us in advance to register for class. Just show up. It is not required that you attend all the classes but it is suggested you do in order to get the most benefit out of learning to work with bees. 

All the information you need including the 2016 Schedule, Location, Directions, etc. in order to attend the LACBA Beekeeping Class 101 is posted on the LACBA website:

What an awesome experience to be standing on a mountain top, blue skies above, thousands of tiny honeybees buzzing all around us, and our 'heads in a beehive.' As we learned; focus, presence of mind, slow movement, and a profound love of the honeybee became a new experience in our lives. It is one of our greatest gifts as beekeepers. With experience, perseverence, and passion may we all become bee keepers rather than bee havers. The bee keeper is truly blessed. May we be forever grateful for the 'Gift of the Bees'.

It's a great class! Hope to see you there!

Bill & Clyde
Bill's Bees

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One Little Bee

A honey bee casting a shadow on a windshield. Photo Kathy Keatley Garvey

In a few weeks, Clyde and I will be heading off to almond pollination with millions of Bill's Bees. It all begins with One Little Bee. This is a very nice post from Kathy Keatley Garvey. We love adding it to our blog.  I am most amazed that Kathy can get such clear focus on the whole bee so close. Thank you, Kathy, for permission to post One Little Bee in its entirety. Enjoy! ~Bill Lewis, Bill's Bees

Bug Squad - Happenings in the Insect World  
Published January 22, 2016
Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey

It was a bee. One little bee.

What are the odds of a honey bee landing on the window of a  UC Davis vehicle parked outside the California Bee Breeders' Association meeting on a cool January day--Wednesday, Jan. 20--at the Ord Bend Community Center, Glenn County?

Inside, it was a gathering of bee breeders talking about industry issues. Outside, it was a gathering of clouds, as the sun struggled to cast shadows where it could. The clouds would darken tomorrow, but it would not rain today.

There were no pollinators in sight.

Except for this one little bee, which landed on the windshield. Was it looking for those scarce floral resources? Or soaking in the warmth of the sun? Or waiting to be photographed?

Surely it will be involved in the almond pollination season which begins around Feb. 14.

"There are now 890,000 bearing acres of almonds!" bee breeder Jackie Park-Burris of Jackie Park-Burris Queens, Palo Cedro, and a past chairman of the California Sate Apiary Board, told us last week. "They're needing approximately 1,780,000 hives! That is probably close to 85 percent of the commercial hives in the U.S. It is definitely 100 percent of the quality commercial hives in the United States."

"Beekeepers are very thankful for the job," she added. "The pollen from the almonds is one of the healthiest pollens my bees get all year, they love it!The largest pollinating event in the world happens in California during the almond bloom. It is a $5.8 billion crop for growers and the economy of California."

And it all starts with the bees. One. Little. Bee. 

A honey bee casting a shadow on a windshield. Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey

A honey bee casting a shadow on a windshield. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Visit Bug Squad - Happenings in the Insect World by Kathy Keatley Garvey

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Bill's Bees Has Bees For Sale!!!

Bees for Sale for beginning beekeepersSo you think you’d like to keep bees! Whether you’re a new or experienced beekeeper, you’ve come to the right place to buy your bees and to learn about beekeeping. In future blogs, we’ll discuss bees, beekeeping, honey and bee products. The best time to begin keeping bees is in the spring; when flowers are blooming, nectar is flowing, and pollen is gathered. Now is the time to prepare the hive and order your bees. Honey bees are in short supply; we suggest you order them now. By the time spring rolls around, honey bees will be in high demand and they will sell out. You don't want to end up bee-less in bee-season!

We offer three ways you can obtain your honey bees:

Package Bees for Sale in CaliforniaPackaged Bees ($125): One good way of starting a new beehive is by purchasing a package of bees with a queen. Our packages have 3 pounds of bees (approximately 10,000 worker bees) in a screened cage. The bees are taken from an existing, gentle, working hive from Northern California. Our VSH Italian Queens are produced and mated in Northern California where there are no Africanized genetics ensuring gentle behaving offspring. Yes, they can still sting! The queen is in a small separate screened cage. Sugar syrup is included so the bees have something to feed on until they are installed in their new hive. You will need to have an empty hive body ready to install your bees. (Available April 2016)

Bill's Bees Nuc ColonyA Nuc or Nucleus Colony ($190): Another way to establish a hive that is gentle, hearty, and productive is with a starter nuc. A nuc is a very small colony of honey bees and a VSH Italian Queen. A nuc (pronounced nuke) is created from a larger working colony. The term ‘nuc’ is short for nucleus colony and refers both to the smaller size box and the colony of honey bees within it. The name is derived from the fact that a nuc hive is centered on a queen, the nucleus of the honey bee colony. Our nucs will have a minimum of 3 frames with brood in all stages of development, from egg to hatching bees, and 2 more frames with honey and pollen (bee food) to sustain the colony while it grows. All our nucs contain ‘Italian’ queens with the same genetics as our packages. Nucs take the guess work out of introducing a queen to a package of bees and ensures a queen with proven egg laying performance. We suggest you order a ‘marked’ queen. Then, if you observe an unmarked queen you will know if your hive has swarmed. Colonies that swarm, produce a new queen that will mate with local drones, some of which will be Africanized. Resulting offspring will be more aggressive. Bring your deep or medium box to us with attached bottom board and lid and extra frames to fill out the box. We will place the nucleus colony in your box, reduce the entrance, and screen the remaining opening so you can easily transport the whole hive home in your vehicle. (Available May 2016)

BIll's Bees Complete HiveA Complete Hive ($290): is the Nucleus colony described above that includes a painted deep hive body, bottom board fastened to the box and lid plus 5 additional undrawn new frames to fill out the box. You may choose to substitute an internal frame style feeder (with cap and ladders) for 3 of the undrawn frames. (Available May 2016)

VSH-Italian Queen Bees ($35):  VSH-Italian Queen Bees (VSH-Varroa Sensitive Hygine), mated, with known gentle genetics (unmarked). Queen Marking Cost $5.

Queen Marking Cost $5: When you purchase one of our VSH-Italian mated queens, you can have your queen 'marked' for an additional $5.

Availability: We will contact you near the latter part of March for a firm date of pick up for packages and the latter part of April for a pick-up date for nucs. You will need to pick up your bees at our Bill's Bees Location: 12640 Little Tujunga Canyon Road, Lakeview Terrace, CA 91342.

The honey bees we have for sale are limited, so we suggest you 'Buy Now' to avoid bee-ing disappointed. You can purchase online, right here at our Bill’s Bees website. Or, you may place your order by contacting us through our Contact Us Form, email:, or (818) 312-1691.

If you are new to beekeeping, aspire to being a backyard beekeeper, or already an experienced beekeeper who would like to continue learning about bees and beekeeping, come to our Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association Beekeeping Class 101. For over ten years, we have hosted the LACBA Beekeeping Class 101 at Bill's Bees Bee Farm. We teach responsible beekeeping for an urban environment, adhering to Best Management Practices for the bees, beekeepers, and the general public. Our classes are ideal for Backyard Beekeeping in Los Angeles.

Welcome to the grand adventure of keeping bees! 


Bill & Clyde
Bill's Bees

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