NEED HELP STARTING AN APIARY OR HIVE MAINTENANCE?
We are here to help!

If you already have honey bees or you would like to start a new apiary but you need some help to keep them healthy and thriving, we can help you with our on-site support services. Whether you prefer to have on site support as you go through the hive or you want us to maintain your colonies, we are here to help!

If you are interested in having colonies at your site, we come and perform an initial site assessment and introductory visit. During this visit we check to make sure your site is conducive to supporting honey bees. Don’t assume your site isn’t good for bees without checking with us. You don’t need a big yard or lots of flowers to have honey bees. During our initial visit we also go over the basics of how our service works and provide you with information about honey bee safety.

We're here to help you with all your beekeeping needs!

Examples of what we can help you with:

  • Selecting the best location for honey bees on your property
  • Installing new packages of bees
  • Transferring wild colonies into proper bee boxes
  • Swarm catches
  • Troubleshooting problems with your colony
  • Honey Harvests
  • Routine Hive Inspections
  • Requeening
  • Aggressive colonies
  • Correcting cross comb
  • Making nucs or splits
  • Post Mortem Analysis (if you lost your colony)
We find the personalized mentoring combined with classes is the best way to prepare yourself for success as a new and even intermediate beekeeper. This service is $90 (local) – $120 an hour (additional $30 travel cost may apply depending on your location/travel distance).
Beekeeping is an investment and there is no better way to protect your investment than by working with an experienced beekeeper to learn the skills needed.  We offer a rotating menu of beginner and intermediate classes and much more.

House Calls

Are you within the CT/MASS/NY area? Then schedule an appointment with our Beekeeper. We will assess the health of your hive, perform a thorough hive check, and provide you with recommendations.

Training

We offer hands-on training or mentoring at your location or ours. You will learn how to manage and maintain your hive as well as how to evaluate its condition and health.

Our Rates

We offer mentoring and/or hive maintenance visits as needed at your location. Private group mentoring and classes are also available in our apiary or yours. These services are $90 (local) – $120 an hour (additional $30 travel cost may apply depending on your location/travel distance).

Hive & Swarm Removal

We are dedicated to helping save HONEY BEES. If you have an unwanted hive or swarm, or would like to relocate a hive, we will safely move it to a more conducive location. Your safety and the health of the bees is of the utmost importance to us. 

“I love meeting new beekeepers every day. I love solving problems, making people feel more confident about their bees and beekeeping in general. We stay busy, and the day flies by. I go home at night knowing I may not have changed the world, but I did at least make someone else’s day brighter.”

Q&A | Answers to commonly asked questions

We offer mentoring and/or hive maintenance visits as needed at your location. Private group mentoring and classes are also available in our apiary or yours. These services are $90 (local) – $120 an hour (additional $30 travel cost may apply depending on your location/travel distance).

The average backyard hobbyist should always start with 2 hives or more. Why? With two hives, for example,  you can compare the hives to each other. If one colony loses its queen, then you can place a frame of brood with young larvae from the other hive into your queenless hive and they will raise their own.

During the winter bees do not hibernate. Instead, they cluster tightly together in their hive and generate heat to keep each other warm. They eat honey and pollen that they collected during the spring and summer. Many beekeepers make the mistake of hoping their bees have the stored honey they need to stay warm in the winter. However, science has shown us that bees need protein (pollen) too. Bees eat what we eat, carbohydrates and protein. 

There are several diseases that can linger in old equipment. American foulbrood is one of the more deadly diseases and AFB spores can live perhaps 50-80 years in old comb. It isn’t worth taking a chance unless you are absolutely sure the old equipment was not exposed to diseases. 

Traditionally, we recommend the opening of the hive face south or southeast. However, it really does not matter too much. It does help if the sun can reach the hive first thing in the morning. This will cause the bees to start gathering nectar sooner than if they were in the shade.

Use good judgment. Bees will fly miles away from their hive to find nectar. If a hive is near your house, the bees will still fly up and away. However, it may take six feet from the hive for bees to gain six feet in altitude. Keep this in mind so that hives are not placed near sidewalks, decks, and clotheslines. Place them so that when the bees leave the hive, they will not be immediately near people or pets.

In commercial operations, four hives are placed on a single pallet. For the hobbyist, the distance between hives is usually determined based on the comfort of the beekeeper. The beekeeper may want to work all the hives without walking a considerable distance between each hive. I usually recommend at least two feet between hives. They should be further apart when installing new packages to help prevent absconding. 

Bees will pollinate plants around your house, but not in huge numbers. In other words,  if you have 10 tomato plants you will not see thousands of bees in your tomato garden. Certainly, many bees will help pollinate your flowers and garden. However, most of your bees will fly out to an area of abundant nectar such as an apple orchard, acres of clover or a large grove of basswood or black locust trees. If you have a half-acre or more, planting buckwheat, clover and other flowering plants will certainly help your bees, but it is not necessary. Bees are quite capable of flying two to three miles to gather nectar.

First-year beekeepers should not expect much honey from a new hive. It takes eight to eleven pounds of nectar for the bees to produce one pound of wax. The first year the colony is producing a lot of wax to build up their comb. Certainly, some first-year hives can produce a full crop of honey, maybe 70-200 pounds of honey. But this would be in a perfect situation, or from a second-year hive. So it is better to have no honey expectations the first year, but if your bees do produce extra honey for you the first year, it is an unexpected surprise. Year two is when you can expect much more.

An average hive in Illinois produces around 70 pounds per year. This can change to more or less depending on the weather and the health of the bees and the skill of the beekeeper. The most I’ve produced from one hive in one season is 210 pounds.  If a hive produces 70 pounds and you sell it for $10 per pound you make $700. $10 a pound is a common price for 2019.

Most states require hives to be registered and we recommend beekeepers register their hives with the Department of Ag or the Department of Natural Resources. Registration affords you the opportunity to receive helpful, free advice from state bee inspectors. This is always a good thing where it is available. 

Overall estimated price per hive to get started is as follows:

Honey bees – Package $140 or 5 frame established NUC $230 (both include a mated queen)

Complete Langstroth hive (assembled but unpainted) – $700 +/- (price can vary depending on supplier promotions at the time)

It would take about 2 hours minimum to install the 2 hives at $120 per hour plus $30 travel fee.

Maintenance of 2 hives would dependent on time of the year and if we need to do a full inspection or basic inspection. Treatments can also take a little more time depending on what treatment we are applying. The cost would be $120 per hour plus $30 travel fee. In order to make it worth it to travel there we would have to make it at least a 2-hour visit. Maybe incorporate mentoring into it??

I think overall, 2 hours should be enough to cover the maintenance of 2 hives even if I had to do full inspections and/or treatments. I don’t foresee us going over 2 hours unless there are major problems or if you want more time with mentoring.

As soon as February/March. Need to decide on location and set it up first. Don’t leave it for last minute!

A honeybee brain has a million neurons, compared with the 100 billion in a human brain. But, researchers report, bees can recognize faces, and they even do it the same way we do.

Take a look at this article:

If You Swat, Watch Out: Bees Remember Faces