-What size property do I need?
-What happens if the bees fly away or die? When bees fly away from the hive, this is a normal process called ‘swarming’. Swarming is how a honey bee colony reproduces. It is generally achieved by the old queen leaving the nest with a large proportion of the bees after the colony has made provisions for new queens to be raised to replace her. This ensures reproduction and survival of the parent colony. In responsible beekeeping, every effort is made to prevent the colony from splitting in this manner. Swarms represent a loss of livestock, a drop in honey production, and a possible nuisance to the neighborhood if the swarm decides to make their home in a tree or roof. Bees Please will be monitoring the hives to watch for signs of swarming and we will do everything we can to prevent it from happening.
As for bees dying, this is an unfortunate certainty where we live. Bees face huge challenges to their health and viability from pathogens or diseases, poor nutrition or mono-crop diets, pesticides, lack of quality foraging and other insects, especially mites and wasps. There is also a phenomenon called Colony Collapse Disorder where bees abruptly disappear from an otherwise healthy colony. This has been strongly linked to a build-up of pesticides causing nervous system problems in the bees resulting in them not being able to find their way home. In our area bees and beekeepers also struggle to keep the bees free of excess moisture in the Fall and Winter. Bees can handle cold weather by keeping each other warm, but they cannot handle being cold and wet and will quickly perish if the problem is not fixed. Finally, the introduction of the hive beetle could be something that our bees will have to battle in the coming years. Common in many areas of the world, the first reports of them in the Lower Mainland came through in the Spring of 2015.
-What happens if the bees fly away or die?
What do I feed the bees? You will not be required to do any direct care of the bees. Bees Please will be responsible for all feeding and care of the bees. Generally the bees are left enough of their own honey to survive the Fall, Winter and early Spring when they are not foraging. However, in times of dearth, the bees will be given special sugar concoctions to ensure that they do not starve.
The best thing you can do for your bees and other species of native bees in your area is to provide them with water, bee friendly spaces and plants. Check the Bee Information page for more on this. Water needs to be provided with ‘landing pads’. Bees need to land to drink, so make sure there are some rocks or something in the water for them to land on otherwise they will drown. Here are some plants with different blooming times that will provide for the bees all Spring and Summer long. Early: Blueberry, Cotoneaster, Crocus, Dahlia, Heliotrope, Primrose. Mid-season: Sunflower, Chives, Hyssop, Blackberry, Lavender, Raspberry. Late: Aster, Borage, Coneflower, Goldenrod, Cornflower, Sedum. Check out this guide for Planting for Pollinators in our region.
-What do I feed the bees?
How many bees live in each hive? Each hive should come out of the Winter with 20,000 to 30,000 bees. In early spring the queen begins to lay eggs, as many as 2,000 a day, and the hive can reach as many as 80,000 bees in the summer.
-How many bees live in each hive?
Is there a risk to keeping bees? There is little to no risk to keeping bees on your property. People are more of a threat to bees than bees are to people. Very few people are allergic to bee stings. When a bee stings, she loses her life. Bees will not sting unless provoked, or if they think their hive is under attack. Victoria’s by-laws keep hives and flight paths well away from fences and neighbors so there should not be any problems sharing your space with bees.
-Is there a risk to keeping bees?
How often does Bees Please come to my yard? Bees Please will visit biweekly on average to observe the hives, and go in them if necessary. Mites, diseases, lack of food, weak or ailing queens and other problems may warrant more frequent observation. Access to the hives for your specific property will be discussed before signing the one year contract. Our visits are similar to that of a landscaper coming and going with little to no disruption to you or your daily life. However, some people are eager to come out and see inside their hives when they are being serviced. This is more than welcomed as we enjoy sharing this with you. We will do our best to give you warning before these visits if you express interest in seeing inside the hive. You will need to purchase a bee veil for close inspection of the hives.
-How often does Bees Please come to my yard?
How long does honey keep? Honey is the only food known to never spoil. Honey has been found in Georgia that is over 5000 years old and it is still perfectly edible. Honey is best on a shelf, as in the fridge it will crystallize faster which just makes it harder to spread on your toast! Honey is hydroscopic, which means it has little water in its natural state, but can easily suck in water if exposed to it. If it does that, then it has the potential to spoil. To avoid this, keep the lid on it, like the bees do in their hive. Bees cap their honey until they are ready to use it. Also, honey should not be fed to infants under one year of age because of the chance of infant botulism. Clostridium bacteria that cause infant botulism usually thrive in soil and dust. However, they can also contaminate certain foods — honey in particular. After one year of age we develop natural defenses in our digestive system that eliminate this risk completely.
-How long does honey keep?
What are my responsibilities as a bee hive host? Hosting bee hives is easy! As long as the bees remain undisturbed, they will go about their work peacefully and efficiently. Your responsibility is to protect the hives from any potential danger, like flying soccer balls!
-What are my responsibilities as a bee hive host?
Current Hive Hosts
My bees are all crowded outside the hive. Are they going to swarm? This is a common observation, and often causes alarm for new bee hosts. This is a behavior known as bee bearding, when the bees cluster outside the hive near the entrance. By hanging around on the outside of the hive, the bees are able to decrease the heat in the hive, decrease congestion and increase ventilation space. Therefore, you will observe this on warm days, usually in the afternoon or early evening.
-My bees are all crowded outside the hive. Are they going to swarm?
When do I need to renew my contract? Contract renewals will begin in January and end on February 15th. If you do not wish to continue with your bees for another year they will be moved off your property in the Spring, when weather permits.
-When do I need to renew my contract?
I’d like to plant flowers for my bees, but I’m not sure which ones? Plants do vary in their attractiveness to bees. Over 90% of Canadian honey comes from only 3000 plant species. The number on the West Coast is even smaller. One of the most important things to remember in your planning is to have early, mid and late-season blooms for your bees so that there is food available for them all year. Victoria quite often experiences a dearth in available forage after July when everything dries up. For a few plant suggestions, visit our Bee Information page.
-I'd like to plant flowers for my bees, but I'm not sure which ones?
My friends and neighbors want to buy more honey from me. How do I get more? Fantastic! They can contact us or call 250-514-1157 and request your honey by name or postal code and we will set them up with your personal backyard honey, complete with your personalized labels if you chose to have some.
-My friends and neighbors want to buy more honey from me. How do I get more?
Rent the Chicken
Do I need to have a rooster in order for my chickens to lay eggs? No. A rooster is only required if you want fertilized eggs which become chicks.
-Do I need to have a rooster in order for my chickens to lay eggs?
Do hens make much noise? No. Your hens will make some clucking noises but will not crow like roosters.
-Do hens make much noise?
Will my yard smell? No. Usually when people think of the smell of chickens they are thinking of large farms with hundreds or thousands of chickens in a very small space. Your chickens will have more room, and you will only have two or four of them. Also, chicken poop only really smells when it gets wet. You will be enjoying your chickens in the driest part of the year, so you won’t even have to worry about that! The chicken poop that you do collect will be a great fertilizer for your lawn or garden, and you won’t have to worry about a smell bothering you or your neighbors.
-Will my yard smell?
How much work will it be to care for chickens? Chicken care is pretty simple as far as pets go. They are much easier than dogs, and similar to what a cat needs to be healthy and happy. They need food, water, and the occasional poop clean out. They also love treats, affection and of course you’ll be eagerly collecting their eggs to cook up!
-How much work will it be to care for chickens?
More information and answers can be found at Rent The Chicken