Interested in having a beehive in your backyard…but don’t have the time or the knowhow to manage it.
The Honeysmith’s ‘Host a Hive’ program offers you the chance to get all the benefits of having your own beehive without the worry of having to manage it yourself.
Reap the rewards of pollination for your garden and veggie patch, be hypnotised by the coming and goings of the bees from their hive, help save the bees by supporting sustainable beekeeping in Canberra and surrounds and of course taste the sweet rewards.
As a host you are providing a special service to the environment by providing healthy pollinators to your community.
Is my yard suitable to host a hive
Things to consider
If you are trying to decide to host a hive you should consider the following:
- Do you have infants or young children who may wish to explore the hive
- Are you or any member of your family allergic to bee stings
- Will a beehive in your backyard affect your backyard activities
- Do you have pets that may come into contact with the hive
- Are you happy to give access to your yard for the Honeysmith to carry out beekeeping tasks
The best location for a hive
The ideal location for placement of hives is in full sun, ideally facing north. Early morning sun on the hives means the girls will get up early and get to the serious business of pollinating flowers.
Hives should be located away from thoroughfares and away from lights at night time (bees are attracted to the light). Not all sites are suited but most properties can Host hives with the right positioning in a quiet, infrequently disturbed part of the yard.
The Honeysmith will assess your site for suitability.
Book a site assessment here.
How many hives can I host
The number of hives that you can host depends on two things:
- What you feel comfortable with and is within your budget, and
- Your block size
- Small block (less than 600m2 ) – 2 hives
- Average block (up to 1000m2 ) – 4 hives
- Large block (larger than 1000m2 ) – 8 hives
- Rural – No limit
My backyard is suitable for a hive, what happens next?
You will receive a hive when one becomes available. At times there is a waiting list for hives, so you might need to be patient. Spring and Summer are the most likely times to receive a hive.
Swarm collection activities means that some colonies become available unexpectedly. These hives will only become available once it has been determined that the bees are healthy, strong, disease free and gentle.
Make your garden bee friendly
Bees will travel 3-5km from the hive in search of nectar and pollen, so you don’t need a massive garden. You should, however, think about planting flowers, shrubs and trees because your garden will flourish with hard working buzzing bees. Plant bee-attracting plants in clumps, provide flowers year round and include native and exotic plants.
As a hive host you will avoid using pesticides and other poisons in your gardens and give the bees access to a water source such as a bird bath.
What happens after I receive the hive?
The Honeysmith will need access to your property to perform hives checks. Hives checks are carried out about every 10 days from Spring to mid-Autumn (depending on the season) and less regularly through end- Autumn and winter (the hives are not opened during this time). A hive check will take about 30 minutes depending on what needs to be done. A hive check is how the Honeysmith monitors and checks the hives health, for signs of honey production and for food stores (both pollen and honey).
Bees produce and store honey as a food source to get them through the cold Canberra winters. Honey flows in Canberra can be unpredictable, so honey will only be harvested when there is excess to the hives needs for their survival. The health of the hive always comes before a honey harvest. This ensures that the bees have sufficient food to keep them strong during the winter.
Honey stores will be assessed during hive inspections. If there are sufficient stores of capped honey, frames will be removed for honey extraction. When this happens it is referred to as ‘robbing’ the hive.
In a good season an urban beehive could produce as much as 30kgs of honey. As a hive host you will receive 25% of the honey yield produced from the hive in your backyard. All honey is cold extract (extracted at room temperature) and sieved. This results in the most natural honey possible still full of all it’s nutrients and pollen that is local to your area. The Honeysmith is a registered food business with an approved honey extraction and bottling process. Approved by ACT Health.
What if I want to learn how to keep bees myself?
You are welcome to join the Honeysmith during hive inspections. During the course of a season you will be well versed in all aspects of urban beekeeping, and remember the Honeysmith is always available to answer questions. There is protective gear available to borrow or you may wish to purchase your own – suit or jacket, veil and gloves.
An annual fee of $450 applies to cover the costs associated with the management of hive. These costs include;
- Initial site assessment and ensuring compliance with Code of Practice for Beekeeping in Residential Areas;
- Register hives under Amendments to the Animal Diseases Act 2005
- Hive monitoring and inspection visits;
- Costs associated with compliance with the Biosecurity Code of Practice;
- Extraction of honey in accordance with ACT Health regulations and costs associated with registering a food business in the ACT
- Re-queening of the hive;
- Transport costs to and from hive locations
- Hive maintenance and replacement as required;
- You are able to Join the Honeysmith during a hive inspections and start building your knowledge of beekeeping;
- Loan of protective clothing.
I’m ready to become a beekeeper
When you feel confident that you are ready to take on the challenge and adventure of being a beekeeper you can buy the hive outright for an additional $550. When you buy the hive you will receive 3 additional mentoring sessions.