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Where is the absolute best information for newbies? We plan to start this winter with the help of a friend, and I would like to read ahead. Also, what kind of predators can I expect to attract with bee hives?

Thanks!
 

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Bee predators are skunks and bears, but there are PROBABLY no bears in your area.

Some people put their hives on a small stand to make things hard on skunks. If the skunk rears up to eat bees, they sting him on the belly. Skunks REALLY don't like that.

Most people just trust to luck where skunks are concerned. They only act if it looks like skunks are feeding at their hives.

Signs of skunks are scratches on the paint of the hive near the entrance, or a bare spot in the grass in front of the hive entrance where the skunk rubs the bees on the ground to kill them. The hive is ALSO defensive and mean if a skunk has been bothering them.

As to getting ready, this winter about all you can do is to read, and to get the empty hives set up. This is because people don't like to open a hive in the winter, as it hurts the bees by letting the cold air in.

Call in your order for bees in the late winter, as sometimes suppliers run out. They will arrive in the spring.
 
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