FAQ - HOST A HIVE
Is the 6kg of honey included given annually or monthly?
- The 6kg of honey included with your subscription is annually. Unfortunately in NZ our bees do not produce anywhere near 6kg of honey per month! You will receive your 6kg of honey in 12x 500g jars - 6x jars at Christmas time and 6x jars in June each year.
How often will you visit the beehive?
- Our beekeeper will usually be in to work the beehive/s every 4-6 weeks between September and April during the peak of the beekeeping season and much less frequently in the winter months as the bees hunker down and keep warm. A visit to the hive/s generally takes around 30 - 45mins.
We have a small garden in an urban setting, will this be suitable?
- Yes! 100% there aren't many locations that aren't suitable for bees! The Ashburton and Timaru District council both allow for hives in Urban areas.
We have neighbours close by, will this be a problem?
- Not this shouldn't be an issue. When it comes to positioning the hive in your backyard, we put careful consideration in the perfect location. When we think about location, particularly in terms of minimising disturbance to neighbours we consider the following; The bees flight path, we think about where the bees will be flying mostly, things like positioning near a tall fence so that the bees fly above head height and are out of the way, shelter and sun direction and most importantly we want to place it somewhere that you can enjoy watching the bees go about their buzzy work.
Will my young children be safe around the hive?
- We have lots of customers with young children, we take extra care when positioning the hives, taking into consideration things like, location (non busy area of the garden), the bees flight path etc. to reduce the risk of the bees being a bother to anyone, children included. Bees are a fantastic experience for children to enjoy!
I have a dog, can I still have a hive?
- Dogs are fast learners and if they do get stung they generally won't make that mistake too many more times! We have plenty of customers with dogs including ourselves and they seem to live in harmony just fine.
How much is delivery?
- No extra charge for delivery! The price of us delivering the hive is included in your monthly subscription fee.
How much does it cost per month?
- We offer 2 package options, 1 hive or 2 hives. The price for 1 hive only is $42 per month and this includes 6kg of honey per year. The price for 2 hives is $65 per month and this includes 12kg of honey per year.
Is there a minimum length of time you need to have the hive?
- The subscription is intended to be a permanent ongoing service all year round. We don't allow for customers to pick and chose which months they want the hive in place, eg only for spring. However we do recognize that peoples circumstances change and if the service is not working for you, we will allow for your subscription to be cancelled without notice.
What is the benefit of the bees providing pollination to my garden?
- Many of our customers are keen on growing edible fruits and vegetables. The bees are a fantastic way to increase the amount of pollinators in your immediate area. Sufficient pollination of your fruit trees and vegetable crops will increase the yield quality and quantity of your crop, meaning more delicious homegrown produce for you!
Can I get involved in learning about the bees?
- Yes! You are more than welcome to learn about the bees while we work them! We bring along spare beesuits for you and/or the whole family and try to come and work the bees at a time that is convenient to you at least a few times a year! We also have a viewing window feature in all our our rental hives, that you can remove and safely observe the bees working away as often as you would like!
How do I know if I need 1 or 2 beehives?
- This decision is largely up to you and often takes into consideration factors such as; your budget, the size of your property and the amount of honey you wish to get out of your subscription. If you are unsure which option to go for, have a chat to our beekeeper and we will go through all considerations and help you to decide on the best option for your situation.
Can you tell me a bit more about how the subscription service works?
- Once you place your order on our website you simply set and forget. We have everything set up as an automatic subscription service. Every month the money is automatically deducted from your chosen card. Nobody likes seeing and paying monthly invoices so we make it as simple as! We can also provide an annual invoice as an alternative option if you prefer.
What happens if the hive swarms?
- Whilst we cannot guarantee that the hive will not swarm, we certainly take precautions to minimise the risk of this happening. Hives will usually swarm for predictable reasons such as, the colony being too strong, problems with the queen or a lack of food and water or disease infestation. Our beekeepers are extremely experienced and take great care in ensuring the colony is kept at a healthy manageable strength, that the queen is replaced annually to remain healthy and young, and of course treat and monitor the hive for diseases. If for any reason your hive does swarm, don't panic! When bees are swarming, as impressive as it can look they are not interested in stinging or attacking anyone, their bellies are too full of honey for this! Simply allow them to land and get in touch with us and we will ensure they are safely relocated.
How can I best look after the NZ bee population?
- It is fantastic that you want to do your part for keeping our bee population healthy and strong! One of the most effective ways that you can do this is to support current local, experienced beekeepers. In NZ due to the Varroa mite infestation, honeybees can no longer survive in wild colonies. Left unattended in the wild they will eventually perish with disease. This is why it is so important to support commercial beekeepers all over the country to be able to continue to survive financially, our bee populations literally depend on it! Hosting a hive is a great way to show your support and help the NZ bee population flourish!
Can I still do gardening and mow my lawns around the hive?
- Yes, generally speaking the bees will keep to themselves if undisturbed. So long as you are not sitting directly in front of the entrance to the hive the bees should not cause any issue to you. Mowing the lawns directly in front of the hive can stir them up a little due to the vibrations, however if you mow them in the morning or evening when the hives activity has slowed down then there should be no issues.
I have a swimming pool, will the bees drown?
- Bees do drink a lot of water, so one of the best ways to make sure your bees aren't drowning in your swimming pool is to provide a small bowl of water close by to the hive. Placing some pebbles or twigs in the water helps the bees to have a sturdy place to land whilst they quench their thirst. Bees are very intelligent and will usually pick the safest drinking water option if it is available, rather than a deep pool with nothing to land on whilst they drink.
Do I need to be home every time you come in to do work on the hives?
- No. When we deliver the hive we will discuss with you whether you want to be there to observe us going through the hive and we do our best to accommodate this.
Can we look inside the hive ourselves?
- We ask that you only open up the hive when our beekeeper is present. Bees can be vulnerable to cold weather when they are opened up as well as risks such as you squishing the queen accidentally. However all our rental hives have a viewing window on the side, that you can safely remove and observe the bees working away inside the hive as often as you want!
Do you use chemicals or sprays inside the hive?
- We do not use any sprays inside the hive, however we do use a synthetic varroa disease treatment in our hives. This is essential and keeps the bees alive, without treatment for varroa the bees would most likely die. The treatment is done twice a year, but never at the same time as the honey harvest!
Can I still use sprays in my garden?
- Yes, it just may be best to avoid the immediate area that the hive is in. It is also best practice to spray at a time of day where the bees are not flying (first thing in the morning or in the evening), this vastly reduces the bees exposure to sprays and keeps them happy and healthy.
I have not noticed many bees in my garden, is a hive a good way to boost the local population?
- Absolutely! Many of our customers have chosen to host a hive for this exact reason, an increase in bees in your immediate area means more pollination for your garden.
Will wasps be a problem for the hive?
- Wasps can be a nuisance to bees, however we can do a few things to eliminate this problem. If you have an identifiable wasps nest close by we can eradicate this for you. We can also decrease the size of the beehives entrance, this means there is a much smaller area for the guard bees to defend and usually helps a lot.
Benefits to hosting a hive over owning one?
- We won't beat around the bush, beekeeping is an expensive hobby! However our host a hive subscription is certainly a more affordable way to go about having bees in your own backyard. Overall it is cheaper than running your own hive once you take into consideration all the costs; a course to learn beekeeping, hiveware and protective equipment, the bees, registration fees and levy's, disease treatment and inspection fees, sugar syrup etc. Not to mention we take the stress out of running the hive for you, and of course you have the option to be involved with the hive too if that's your thing!
What can I expect the bees to do when you first release them on delivery?
- Upon delivery we will open the front entrance so that the bees can come and come. Usually the bees will appear to rush out of the hive all at once, after 15-30mins the bees will have done their orientation flight and will have settled down into their new home.
Why do I sometimes see lots of bees clumping together at the front of the hive?
- In the summer heat can be very dangerous to the bees. One of the techniques in which they can cool down the internal temperature of the brood is to leave the hive and cluster together outside - this is called bearding.
Does the honey I get come from my beehive?
- For the first year, the honey you will get is our delicious Kamahi/Rata honey produced by our hives down in the Catlins! This honey is raw and creamed and in our humble opinion the best honey you will ever taste. We are using this honey for the first year to ensure you can get some honey without having to wait until the honey harvest from your own hive. The following years will be honey gathered from your hive, usually a clover blend, again this will be raw and creamed.
I have more questions!
- Great! We would love to answer them, get in touch here and a member of our knowledgeable team will get back to you.
Ready to complete your host a hive subscription? Click here