Beekeeping in Coastal California contains 176 pages printed in full color, and has over 200 high-resolution color photographs. I created this book as an effort to encourage people to take up small-scale beekeeping as a hobby. The California coast is already saturated with commercial beekeepers, but I believe that this unique area would benefit from having more back-yard apiculturists. The information in this book is applicable to beekeepers from Baja, Mexico all the way north past the Oregon border.
There has been a need for a modern regional guide to beekeeping which helps the beginning California apiculturist to navigate the challenges that come with the first years of keeping honeybees. Most beekeeping literature is written based on a northern or eastern United States climate. However, much of beekeeping is completely different in coastal California due to the unique Mediterranean climate. A book like this would have saved me countless hours of uncertainty and frustration, as well as the lives of countless millions of honeybees that died as a result of poor management decisions by their inexperienced beekeeper.
The importance of the honeybee as a natural pollinator is widely recognized. Beekeeping today is facing a number of challenges, including parasitic mites, Nosema ceranae, numerous viruses, and a widespread bee die-off commonly termed “Colony Collapse Disorder.” It is my objective that this book will make it possible for new beekeepers to get started and be successful with honeybees, thus alleviating the shortage of bees in California.
This book describes some of the special aspects of managing honeybees on the California coast. Things like the summer marine layer fog, Africanized bees, unique rainfall patterns, and Varroa mite influx during the fall make beekeeping here a challenge. I address each of these topics and more in this book, explaining what they mean in terms of hive management. I also describe Varroa mite management methods that will control mites using only natural methods, including drone brood removal, mite resistant queen bees, and natural soft-chemical treatments when necessary. Everything in the book has been used and tested in real life in my own small commercial beekeeping operation.
The main strengths of the book are the twelve tutorial chapters, one for every month, describing exactly what is typically happening with the hives during that time. Each chapter lists the common forage that is available, as well as common problems that will prevent the hives from thriving and the solutions to those problems.