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.
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.