What you need to know when buying a beehive

Beekeeping is one of those hobbies where quick, easy, and cheap solutions don’t really exist and eventually turn more people away than draw people in. Some consumers enter the hobby by purchasing a package of bees and then a single incomplete hive or inexpensive “nuc”, a smaller 5 frame starter hive, to break into the hobby in a cost effective way to see if they like it. These starter hives are just that, starters (i.e. temporary), and are meant for a short time housing unit. They are not intended for the long term because beehives are constantly expanding.

Bees, being what they are, immediately get to work pollinating and collecting nectar to bring back to the hive.  Inside the hive the Queen will start laying brood to replace the bees that die from natural attrition and to create more workers to gather all of nature’s bounty. But!  Within a few short weeks of laying several thousand eggs a day and bringing in pollen and nectar, that little five-frame nuke is out of space. If you were lucky and got more equipment like two 8-10 frame boxes you might be o.k. for a couple months s opposed to a few weeks.  When running short of space, the bees realize this and look for a residence with more space (i.e.; they swarm) or just die off. The budding beekeeper comes out one day to find that they have no bees and a loss of their investment.

Why is this? Because they trusted whomever they acquired equipment from sold them enough equipment. And also because they didn’t have the education to realize that bees need space, bees multiply quickly, and consumers aren’t really tuned to reading small print explanations in catalogs (if offered) about what they’ll need in reality to make their hives a success.

What has happened here is that, because a bee supply company sold you less equipment at a reasonable price and some bees to make some profit (exactly what you asked for), the beekeeping world has just lost several thousand bees and the interest of a novice beekeeper that, chances are, won’t repeat the investment and try again learning from their mistakes after having had to wait a whole year to do so. It sure does seem like all we talk about are the tragedies of the bee world, huh?

The simple fact is that beekeeping is not easy and doesn’t respond well at all to shortcuts. It is a hobby that needs to be approached seriously with some dedication on the part of the consumer.  One reason why Eco Honeybees is having so much success is that the beginning beekeeping course normally requires 12 weekends.  And that is to be certified as a beginner.  These days, very few people can dedicate that much time during the height of spring and still maintain their family lives.  While there are products out there that make enjoying our hobby easier, and the bee supply companies are offering very valuable services in supplying quality equipment quickly and easily.  Consumers need to realize that there is no one time expense to break into the hobby and be successful.  If you wish to do it on your own, beekeeping is an ongoing commitment in time, energy, and money.

At Eco Honeybees, our goal is to help make a client’s hive flourish over the long term by working hard to supply the right type and amounts of equipment up front and offer to assist with proper maintenance over the course of the season. Doing things right the first time simply prevents a consumer from having to do everything all over again once or even two to three times before they get it right.

With the proper support and advice, the price of becoming a successful hive owner comes back down to reality simply because costly mistakes are avoided, and more novice beekeepers are brought into the fold as opposed to being scared away by the daunting task of creating and maintaining a successful hive. If we can be successful with you, chances are we can also be successful with your friends, relatives, and neighbors!

Eco HoneyBees is taking the Metro Washington, DC area beekeeping world in a whole new and exciting direction! We are less interested in selling bees and hives for the sake of selling them. We are intensely focused on making the hives we supply flourish for their owners and benefit the whole area. Neither the environment nor the consumer benefits from a hive that will survive for only a short time. The joy of beekeeping and the repair of our ecosystem depend entirely on creating beehives that survive over the long run!

We are here for the long run! Give us a call, welcome us and our honeybees into your garden, and together we can take a step in strengthening our ecosystem!!