Friday, May 17, 2013

Host a Hive Program

Would you like to host a hive?

My husband is afraid of bees.  There, I said it.  He's working really hard at overcoming his dislike for flying, stinging insects, but in the meantime, I can't have a hive in my own yard.  To get around this, our first hive is in an outyard at Dick's place.  But it's a long drive out there, mostly coniferous trees (not ideal forage for bees), and I want some bees closer to me.  So I'm starting a hive hosting program.

Our local beekeeping association, PPBA, has something of an informal program for this (it's how I found Dick's place), but it has no online information, registration, or formal way of matching up beekeepers with locations.  I'm hoping to change this, and have something running for next year.

I'd like to model this hive hosting program on other successful programs, so I scoured the internet.  There were hive hosting programs that charged flat fees, monthly fees, or no fee at all.  Almost all provided honey for the hosting party.  Some programs had specific requirements to be met before hosting a hive.  I narrowed down the options to something I think will work for my area.  So here's my idea/pitch:

Great brood pattern, with pollen around edge and nectar in corners
Wondering what it’s like to keep bees but don’t have the expertise, equipment or time?  Host a honeybee hive for us instead. Hive hosting is easy and FREE!  Hosting means that you will receive all of the benefits of bees without the hassle.  You provide the location and then just let the bees do their magic. You will see increased yield in flower blooms as well as a more productive garden.  We'll set up the hive, install the colony, and drop in periodically to tend the bees.  If the hive produces more honey than the bees require to make it through the winter (normally after the first year), we'll extract the excess honey and you'll receive one free pint of raw, chemical free honey for each hive sited on your property.

Why should I host a hive?

The world needs bees.  Currently there is a huge shortage of bees in the U.S.  Approximately 40% of American hives didn't make it through the winter, due to a variety of problems including pesticides, mono crops, diseases and pests.  Every third bite of food requires pollination, making honeybees a vital part of our food chain.  Local honey has been said to reduce allergies.  What's more local than your own backyard?  Also, bees are endlessly fascinating.  Sit on your porch and watch a fuzzy forager buzzing from flower to flower, filling up her pollen baskets.  Hosting a hive is a great way to help increase the honeybee population in your local area and save the honeybees one colony at a time.  If you want to help pollinate the neighborhood but aren’t sure if beekeeping on your own is right for you, why not participate in the Hive Hosting Program? 

What are we looking for?  The perfect hive location can be complex to describe.  Ideally, the hive should be easily accessible for inspections, and a hand truckable route would be even better (those honey supers can get heavy!).  As far as the bees are concerned, they would prefer a sunny place with a south or east exposure.  All they really need though is a bee safe location, free of pesticides, near a good sources of pollen and nectar.  Community gardens, large yards, mature areas full of flowering trees and native plants are the perfect home for our honeybees.  Giving your neighbor a heads up will help ease any concerns they might have.  If you're not sure that your site is a good location, contact us and let us determine if it will work.  We are in need of locations that are willing to host 1-5 hives.   We’ll provide the bees and everything else they need. 

So, would you like to host a hive?
Contact us for more information, a site visit, and to learn more about helping honeybees.

(Thanks to the Ballard Bee Company 2013 Hive Hosting Program, Nectar, and Beverly Bees, whom I blatantly stole verbiage from.)

What do you think?  Is this a good idea and do you think it will work?

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