The heart of Bedford Bee is our Hive Set-up and Maintenance Service. This is the service that helps us pay for our research and education projects.
It works a lot like a swimming pool service. In the spring (usually the first week of May) we install a colony of honey bees in a wooden hive at your site; the way a pool is opened in the spring. Then during the summer months we check on the colony every two weeks to make sure it is healthy and functioning well; the way a pool gets cleaned and maintained on a regular basis. Around the first of August, we harvest any excess honey the bees have produces and begin preparing the bees for the winter. After the killing frost in the fall (usually around Halloween) we pick up the colony and take it to our bee yard for winter care; just like a pool gets closed for the winter.
The hive body is set up on a paving stone base to produce a nice aesthetic and to make it easy to landscape around the hive. It is placed on a hive stand to make viewing the bees coming and going easier and to encourage good ventilation around the hive.
If you are interested in having a colony 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.
At the end of the season we provide you with 10 pounds of honey broken down into twelve ounce jars. We find that lots of our customers like to put on their own label and give these as gifts. The honey is local, but not necessarily from your hive, as we take the honey from all our hives and blend it together. It would be time prohibitive for us to try and keep the honey from each hive separate. Should your colony fail (which does happen sometimes) or not produce excess honey, you are still guaranteed 10 pounds.
We are asked at times why anyone would be interested in a service like this. What we find is that like swimming pool maintenance there are those who take care of their own pool and there are those who have someone else help them with it. We also find there are lots of people who would really like to have honey bees but either don’t know how or don’t have time to do so. That’s where we come in. We also find that there are people that want to learn how to care for bees themselves and want to follow along as we go through a season together to see if it is something they would like to do on their own. A big part of our mission is to support those interested in learning beekeeping and our service provides an opportunity for you to see what is involved in caring for honey bees.
There is an annual fee for this service. We use the funds we earn from this service to cover the costs of our queen rearing, research , and education programs, which are dedicated to producing local honey bees. Details regarding pricing and terms of service are reviewed during the initial site assessment.