When a homeowner buys a hive from Eco Honeybees, essentially we’re entering into a partnership with them. While we can provide a hive and the ability to service it, we try to arrange things so that a hive owner HAS to assume only minimal responsibility for the health and vitality of their hive.
When we sell a hive, it is generally a colony of our own locally bred bees that has already survived a winter. After winter finally ends, we’ll be monitoring all our hives very closely to ensure that they’ve survived well and that the Queens are all healthy and laying brood properly. Because of this slight delay ensuring the hive’s health and vitality, chances are we’ll be delivering the hive to your home that it will be AFTER the primary nectar flow commenced. And depending on how harsh winter was, it probably wasn’t large enough to take full advantage of it. So, a new hive needs a lot more attention during that crucial first year at a new location if it is going to survive the coming winter.
While we’re very eager to service and inspect your hive every few weeks during the season. every hive is different and every Queen has her own personality. Some require more looking after, some less. A lot depends on the environment the hive is in and it is not always simple to predict how a hive will respond to it’s environment ahead of time. We build and set up our hives with screened off feeders so our customers can feed their hive throughout the year in between the times when we visit or when it is needed. It is simple, easy, and safe, non-intrusive to the hive and really can make the difference between a hive surviving the winter or starving.
The importance of this became very clear during the 2011 season. Many of the bee packages (back when we were still using bee packages) we put in our hives were Italian bees that came from the warmer climates of Georgia. Italian bees are not what we would call frugal with their food stores (just one of the reasons we don’t use them anymore) and these in particular were genetically tuned to a longer and warmer growing season. As a result many of these hives required heavy feedings throughout the year. The fact that they were all cooped up in their hives in August eating their stores while it rained for six weeks straight didn’t help. While the 2011 weather we had in this area was a millennium event we still saw many hives not prepared for the winter dormant season and had to really scramble to build up the hive’s food stores.
While many experienced beekeepers will tell you that they are inside their hives almost on a weekly basis, most hobbyists don’t do this. We’ve gotten requests from many novice beekeepers who are nervous about entering their hives and haven’t done so for months. Eco Honeybees is prepared to support clients any way we can. The one thing our clients will say about us is that we’re militant in doing everything we can to make sure your bees survive! Some clients jump into the hobby and, as their experience level grows, they no longer require our services as frequently and they just keep us on retainer in case problems they can’t solve come up. The majority of our hive owners are content to sit back and enjoying their bees and let us do the bulk of the work.
When you buy a hive you’re entering into a partnership of sorts with us. We can’t come by to feed your bees several times per week but we work on making it as easy as possible for you to do this yourself. Just spending time observing your bees makes you more aware of how they’re doing and you can impart this information to us when we’re visiting. We want you to become long term hive owners and we’re here to make this easy and to mentor you through the process if that is your choice. BUT! However you decide to do it and no matter what type of hive owner you ultimately become, rest assured that you’re helping nature in a big way just by having an Eco Honeybees hive at your home! Having us set up a beehive at your home or business is the single, biggest thing you, or anyone, can do for their local environment!