Why does a part of nature need maintenance?
Getting a beehive on your property filled with bees all happily buzzing away is a great thing but it is only the start. People MUST realize that the lack of bees is only a PART of the current national bee crisis. Starting hives all over doesn’t solve the problem at all. The bee crisis revolves around getting those bees to SURVIVE and flourish.
We meet many beekeepers in our travels. And we hear all sorts of horror stories about hive failures. The first question we ask these beekeepers is how often they inspect their hives. We mean REALLY inspect them by doing more than lifting a top cover and feeder. The general answer was; not very often. Hive that don’t get inspected often usually fail. Just because bees are flying around doesn’t mean your hive is prospering. Many people don’t know why their hives fail because they didn’t know what was going on inside of it in the first place. And many beekeepers out there like to call themselves Organic Beekeepers. Their credo is to place a hive and then let nature take care of it and take a hands off attitude. While this worked 50 years ago and we’re sure that there still are pristine areas in this country where you might be able to do this, most people who adhere to Organic Beekeeping have little success. The fact is that, no matter what the people at Fox News say, the current state of the environment is as such that bees will only survive with our help. And generally that help is a learned skill and is tailored for each hive individually. Even if bees are of the same breed, every hive is different and every environment differs as well. Some hives require more seeing to than others. And some environments are better than others. And, most often, the only way to find all this out is to actually put bees somewhere and see how they fare being ready, at all times, to support them in any way possible.
Because of all the ever-changing challenges that are facing modern beekeepers, old school beekeeping is more of a hinderance. Here at Eco Honeybees we’re always saying that we’ve started a New School of Beekeeping. The foundation for that school is hives that are getting constant attention that is always geared towards not only keeping that hive healthy and thriving but is also preparing that hive to make it through a winter.
The key advantage of being an Eco HoneyBees client is our ability to service and maintain hives. This support is key to ensuring that continued health and prosperity of the area’s bee population. Our servicing and maintenance programs are designed for the three types of clients we have.
Homeowners and Businesses Who Purchase Hives $75 per visit
Having Eco HoneyBees service your hive on a monthly basis is an option we strongly recommend you take advantage of. After we deliver your hive you have the option of maintaining the hive yourself or having us do it for you. Most of our clients opt for us to do this for them. It is VERY important that knowledgable beekeepers inspect hives new to an area every 3-4 weeks to see how well hives are adapting to their new environment. Because we always try to deliver hives as early as possible in the spring, we’re also looking very hard at how quickly the hive is growing and how soon we need to add those extra boxes we included in the sale. Most importantly, we’re working hard to learn your hive’s individual personality over the course of the season so we’re attuned to being able to take care of it properly. You have to remember we’re talking about living creatures and that every hive is different. With a rather shaky ecosystem, mistakes can be catastrophic and destroy our hive’s inhabitants. When meeting with you we’ll fully discuss your options! Many clients like to suit up and look over our shoulders while we’re inspecting their hives so that they may learn in a hands-on environment. Some clients eventually feel comfortable inspecting on their own while holding us on retainer, other, after they see how involved the process is, prefer to leave the hard work to us!
Homeowners With Exisiting Hives $75 per visit
This is our fastest growing group of clients! Eco HoneyBees is happy to support the area’s existing hive owners who feel they need additional support maintaining their hives. Many hive owners find, over time, that they don’t have the time, knowledge, or energy to take proper care of their hives and welcome the professional services we offer. It is sad to see how many people take beekeeping classes and wind up being so intimidated afterwards that they are afraid to go into their hives. Most often, we’re finding out that this intimidation is caused more by the people mentoring them than the bees themselves. We’re more than happy to provide positive reinforcement to beekeepers trying to go it on their own.
Supporting the current hive owner is done on a case-by-case basis because everyone’s hive is different and everyone’s situation and equipment varies. Oftentimes the equipment we see out there is not compatible with our own. In these instances the first step that is needed is a consultation visit where we’ll come by to fully inspect your hive’s health and condition so as to be able to assess exactly what kind of support you’ll require. Once all that has been determined, we can set you up with periodic visitations to fit your needs.
What happens during an Inspection?
When inspecting hives we’re looking for different things at different times of the year. As we mentioned earlier, sometimes the most important thing is just getting a “feel” for a hive and how happy it is in its current environment. Generally when servicing a hive there are many things we’ll be assessing and doing. The first thing we’ll do is a complete inspection to see how well the queen is laying and making sure the brood chambers are safe and producing. We’ll also be inspecting the pollen, nectar, and honey storage and that the hive is operating as an efficient community as much as it can. These days, one of the most important things we can do is to properly inspect to ensure the hive is free from parasites, mites, beetles, and lung diseases. The number of things attacking hives is growing causing the problems everyone is aware of. We also will be introducing medications and treatments into the hive when needed or on a preventive basis to keep potential problems to a minimum and to eliminate any issues we might find.
A huge part of any hive’s survival is it’s ability to make it through the upcoming winter. When you think bout it, everything we do throughout the year is all to ensure each hive has a strong enough population and enough honey to make through winter. In this day and age, environmental problems cause about 75% of the hives to fail either during the year or, most often, during the winter. Starting in late summer we’ll be finely tuned to how much honey your bees have been able to gather over the course of the season and whether or not that’s enough to make it through the upcoming winter.
Before we leave we will be refilling the feeder on the top of the hive to give the bees as much food and nutrition as they can handle! During the autumn we’ll probably ask our clients to undertake supplemental feeding to further increase their hive’s chances of survival. No matter what the organic beekeepers say, starvation is the one big thing that kills hives, prevents their growth, and the simplest thing we can prevent! We’ll also be taking notes and leaving you a report outlining what we’ve found and done making you aware of the status of your hive as well as any concerns we might have.
Because bees are seasonal and hives are dormant during the winter, our service and maintenance visits are NOT a year round expense. In the late autumn when the season slows down our experts will be helping to prepare your hive for the dormant season to ensure its survival over the winter. Consequently, in spring, we’ll be working to ramp it up properly for the busy season.
Generally, depending on weather, Service visits and subsequent pricing applies to the mid-March through November timeframe.
Emergency Hiveside Assistance (EHA) $100.00
Every now and then something catastrophic happens. A hive gets knocked over, a tree falls on it during a storm, or a hive owner notices something else that they feel requires immediate assistance and attention. Depending on the emergency, Eco Honeybees is here to support you. The price given is for emergency support, assessment, and diagnosis and doesn’t include replacement of the hive, its components or bees. Obviously assessments will need to be made onsite. Additionally, if you’re not an existing Eco Honeybees client and we’re meeting you for the first time in a crisis/emergency situation, we’ll have to take things on a case-by-case basis because we’ll know nothing and have no information about your hive, its history and current situation.
Honey Extraction Case by case basis
If you read the page about our views on honey, you’ll know that we’re very cautious about removing honey from hives and make no promises about honey that might risk bees starving during winter. But honey does get pulled from hives in the spring after a hive has made it safely through the winter. And, oftentimes during spring, our local environments have such an incredible pollen and nectar flow that additional honey has to be pulled just to keep up with the way bees are filling up their hives.
For Langstroth clients who purchase hives from us, generally we don’t charge to extract their honey because we’re usually extracting amounts in the 1-2 gallon range. If your hive goes totally crazy and we’re looking at a large amount of honey that requires extracting, we might ask you to help defray the cost of the large amount of time needed to monitor such an operation.
For all others out there with honey that needs extracting, we’ll take it on a case by case basis mostly dependent on the chunk of time required.
For our clients with Top Bar Hives, there’s no charge because we’re placing the honey filled comb into your hands right when we pull it our of the hive. And that’s probably one reason you bought a Top Bar hive in the first place, right?