What do you want in your back yard?
Now I am offering that service to those who want a custom apiary, but cannot do the work themselves.
Field Services
Cutouts Sometimes bee swarms find places in human buildings and structures to inhabit. When the property owner wants the bees removed, they only have a few choices. Doing a cutout is the process of removing the bees and their comb safely and relocating them into a managed apiary. Extermination is not recommended because not only will you kill the hive that is sprayed, robber bees will take the contaminated honey back to their hives and the cascade of deaths in local bee colonies could become exponential. Trapouts in buildings are a way to remove the bees when the comb just cannot be accessed. It is not preferable because the brood, honey and comb is left behind to attract other pests once the bees have vacated. Honey stores can leak and wax moths and small hive beetles will make a slimy mess of everything. We take cutouts in the surrounding five counties. We rarely go more than an hour away to reach a site because of the time it takes after a cutout to return and do the work needed in order to install the bees in our apiary. With a few exceptions, most of our cutouts are single day events. Finding the Bees Doing cutouts properly, involves expertise in two very different areas. Of course, you need to know about bees. But before you can even consider how to handle the bees, you have to determine how the structure is built and where the bees have found a space within it. The entrance is merely the first clue. Once you have your best idea of where the nest is located, then you have to devise a plan for getting access to the bees in a way that is reasonable for you, the bees AND the property owner. After this preliminary work, the process advances to removing parts of the structure to open up the cavity where you expect the bees reside. For this reason, it is highly recommended that a cutout only be done by someone with significant construction experience. Property owners don’t want to incur unnecessary expense or damage, so how you open up the building will greatly impact the cost of repairs. People who have hands-on knowledge of building practices will be able to do more deconstruction than demolition.
Removing the bees Once you have access to the hive, you must remove the bees and the comb very deliberately to increase their chances of survival. Methods for storing and transporting the brood and any reusable honey must consider the current weather and the amount of time before the comb and the bees will be installed in a permanent hive in the apiary. Since the combination of these factors will impact each cutout differently, your approach will need to be adjusted. People who frequently do cutouts have the experience to determine how best to accomplish the work under any set of circumstances.
Buttoning up the building Whether or not the beekeeper is the one doing the repairs or replacement, there are things they need to do before they leave the site in order to prevent other swarms from re-establishing in the same location. Advising the property owner what you are doing and what to expect after you leave, is an essential part of the cutout process.
Re-homing the bees The beekeeping skills required to manage a cutout colony are significant, if you want to have a high success rate of survival. Bee colonies which are forcibly removed from a structure suffer considerable stress and unless the queen is found at the site, it is unknown if this hive will be properly queened when they are re-homed. This issue will come up more frequently for relocated hives than backyard beekeepers typically encounter. Feral bee colonies can be a challenge to handle. They have not had any human intervention, so the health of the colony and the prevalence of hive pests is unknown. Relocated cutout bees require a different level of attention. That process is more complex the later in the season the bees are removed. Being able to quickly assess problems, and knowing how to respond to those issues, is critical for the safety of these bees and any other hives in the apiary or local vicinity where they are placed. Cutout Fees The unique combination of skillsets we offer to the cutout side of the business is uniquely valuable. The amount of equipment required to be prepared for any scenario is expensive. Each new colony requires a complete hive setup, including the ongoing cost to feed and treat. The fees we charge for our services help to offset those investments. Our minimum cutout fee is based upon three hours of site work. From setup, deconstruction, removal, and breakdown, we rarely take less time. Extreme height and difficulty finding or accessing the bees will require addtional time and equipment. If we reinstall removed materials, that extends our time on the job further. We generally inspect the site before we schedule the cutout. We don’t typically charge for that visit unless there are extenuating circumstances. Prior to the day of the cutout, we have to pack all the tools and equipment we anticipate might be needed on this project. Once we return to our apiary with the bees, we need to quickly get them installed in their new hive so they can begin to settle down and reorient to their new home. Finally, we have to clean and sanitize all the equipment we used and store it until the next cutout. For our three hour on site fee, not counting travel, we will easily spend 5-7 hours total for this one job.
Hive Hosting Some people want the enjoyment of having bee hives in their yard, but are not interested in becoming beekeepers. It could be a homeowner who wants to benefit from having polinators in their back yard to help with their vegetable or flower garden. We offer a program to meet this need through our hive hosting service. Based upon availability, we will place a limited number of hives on your property. We retain ownership of the equipment and the bees and we will service them on a regular schedule. You provide an adequate space for an apiary and have the location prepared for placement of the hives. Once we begin this arrangement, you pay us a monthly fee for placing the hives and taking care of the bees. For our hosting partners, when there is harvestable honey, we will provide you honey for personal use. The ideal time to set up these hives is from spring into early summer, so if you have interest, please contact us ahead of time to discuss details. For this program, we limit it to a much smaller geographical area. Hive Rental For those people who want to learn about beekeeping or want to become a beekeeper, we offer variations of the hosting program where you can participate in the process at various levels. You can purchase the bees and equipment and receive coaching from us on how to care for them, or we can start this process as hosting with the long term goal of you purchasing the established hives and equipment and assuming responsiblity for their care. Terms and Conditions There will be a written agreement clearly stating the responsiblities and expectations of each party under any remote hive arrangement. For each apairy we serve, all of the hives will be managed under the same arrangement. We will limit the number of hives we accept in a single apiary based upon the size of the space, vehicular access, the location of the property and the involvement of the property owner. Once hives are placed on your property, the monthy fee will be assesed year round as long as the bees are kept there.