As Bees can fly up to 3km to find food, they don’t know boundary fences and therefore only require a small space on your property. Beehives can be placed anywhere from apartment rooftops to small backyard sections in the city center. We are very careful to locate the beehives in a position on your property where the bees will not create a nuisance to you or anyone else. Register online to see if your property is appropriate.
Bees will progressively exit the hive and fly in small circles around the hive entrance. The circles will get gradually wider and further away from the beehive entrance. This is so the bees can get their bearings and familiarise themselves to their new surroundings. After 1-2 days, the bees will be accustomed with their new surroundings and will fly in straight lines to their closest nectar source such as your vegetable garden or fruit trees.
Cats and Dogs are absolutely fine on the property while a beehive is present. Cats seem to be more inquisitive than Dogs but both are wise enough to know not to antagonise the bees! However, the odd one soon learns not to disturb the hive. If your cat or dog has a known allergy to bee stings then it would be wise to have an antihistamine on hand.
Our team harvest the hive on average twice a year but only during the summer months. Our first harvest normally takes place before Christmas; it is at this time that you as the host are supplied with some amazing honey from your own beehive. The full year’s supply of honey detailed in your Host a Hive package (7kg-14kg-25kg), will be provided to you in 1.5kg tubs. This honey is raw unprocessed natural honey harvested on site using our field harvesters. If you would rather have the pre-packed honey instead, then this can be arranged if specifically asked for prior to initial harvest. Additional honey from your hive may be available for purchase later in the summer if requested prior to second harvest. Visit our online shop for pricing details on honey.
Bees are complex little insects and there are many behaviours they display. It’s not unusual to see a small clump of bees around the entrance of the bee hive. On hot days, bees will cluster at the entrance to fan in cool air to keep the hive cool. During the summer months the bees will often congregate on the front of the beehive. Do not be alarmed when they do this as they are just cooling down and will eventually make their way back into the hive as they wish.
Again, bees are very complex little insects and there are many behaviours they display. On days that are a bit cooler, you will see less of the bees coming and going. On these days, bees will stay inside the hive and cluster within the frames to keep the queen warm and to keep the hive at a constant temperature of around 35 degrees Celsius.
There is no way for you to know if a beehive is about to swarm unless you visually see the additional queen cells inside the hive. During spring bees often go through the natural process of swarming. Basically, the beehive creates a new queen cell and when it hatches, the old queen leaves the packed hive and swarms, taking a crowd of worker bees with her. The new queen will stay and take over the hive. Sometimes, if more than one queen hatches, there may be a number of smaller swarms. When bees swarm, they are not really dangerous even though they look and sound scary. A cloud of swarming bees needs somewhere to rest, normally they settle onto a branch within 30-50 meters of the hive. They can hang there anywhere from a few hours to a few days or even choose to permanently take up residence. They are not aggressive in this state as they are vulnerable and don’t have any hive or honey stores to protect. If you see that your hive has swarmed please contact us and we will come collect the swarm.
As detailed in our Host a Hive Terms and Conditions, Hosts are not permitted to open the hive or to check the hive at any time unless asked too. The reason for this is that bees are extremely vulnerable to changes in temperature, and entering the hive, can cause undue stress on the colony. Disturbing the frames can be detrimental to the hive especially if the queen is lost or crushed. If this happens it can interrupt her laying patterns and can cause the hive to fail. Evidently, we wear a protective bee suit when entering a beehive, as the bees natural instinct is to protect the queen by stinging anything that could be a predator.
If you are captivated by the little creatures like we are and you are interested in looking into the inside operations of the beehive, we can by appointment, arrange a close and personal experience with your Host a Hive bees. We are happy to spend some time with you during one of our visits and give a short tutorial on how the hive works and what the bees are doing. The bees are doing different things at different times of the year, but the best time to do this is from spring through to autumn. We can make it as hands on as you are comfortable with, with a real demonstration of what we do when servicing your Host a Hive. We have a range of bee suits and glove sizes available for kids through to adults. Bookings for these educational experiences are essential.