We know you must have lots of questions! If you don’t find the answers below feel free to contact us.
How much space is needed to host a hive?
Beehives require much less space than you would think. Generally we estimate a 10ft radius around the hive but every yard is different.
Is it safe to host a hive if I have pets or children?
Yes, we take special precautions when placing hives but especially when children and or pets are involved. Every case is different so we’ll discuss the techniques for minimizing the presence of the bees and how to keep kids and pets at a safe distance during the consultation. We believe having a backyard hive is an excellent way to teach children about nature, sustainability, food sources and much more so we make it our priority to work with parents on their concerns.
Will hosting a hive increase the yield from my fruit trees and/or garden?
Absolutely. You’ll see a difference in both quality and quantity!
Tell me about the honey!
Okay, so that wasn’t a question but we know we’ll answer many under this category so here it goes. They honey is raw, minimally processed and delicious. The flavor changes depending on what was in bloom in your neighborhood during the time it was made. We have lots of fun trying to guess what the dominant flavor is of each batch but in general you can expect a rich mix of flavors guaranteed to be like no honey you’ve ever tasted.
What’s so great about raw honey?
Raw honey has many benefits. It contains live enzymes that help the body’s digestive system break down foods. It’s full of vitamins and minerals. It can alleviate allergies, pain, coughs, burns, acne and it neutralizes toxins in the body. It’s also a natural sweetener and an excellent alternative to processed sugar. Truly raw honey can be difficult to obtain because most of what is on the shelf has been pasteurized or diluted with corn syrup or strained of all it’s pollen or all of the above. These processes negate most of the benefits I have just listed. Even products that claim to be raw or natural are still heated because it makes packaging the honey easier and there are no regulations on the labeling of raw honey.
What if I don’t want my honey strained?
We can definitely provide you with honey that is unstrained if that is what you prefer!
What is “comb honey”?
Comb honey is honey that is still stored in the comb. You eat it just like that. It’s chewy and amazingly good. Comb is made from beeswax so after you are done chewing and sucking on it you spit out the ball of wax.
How much honey will one hive produce?
Honey flow fluctuates and depends on a number of things but a healthy hive will produce way more than a single family can consume. Anywhere from 30 to 200 pounds!
Does honey go bad?
No, honey does not go bad. Over time it will crystallize but all you have to do is heat it up a little and it will return to a gooey, honey state. It’s as easy as putting your jar of honey in the sun on a hot day! However, if you are worried about affecting the properties of the honey, you can absolutely eat it in a crystallized state. I like to spread crystallized honey on toast like a jam.
How many times a year do you harvest honey?
Honey harvesting takes place in the spring and summer. Typically we will harvest 1-4 times during the season and what is harvested will last through the winter.
Do you treat or medicate your bees at all?
No. We don’t believe in medicating or treating our bees with chemicals.
Do you feed your bees artificial nectar?
No. It is our belief that feeding bees sugar water (which is considered a replacement for nectar) is unnatural and ultimately bad for the bees. We also believe it has some effect on the taste of the honey.
What if after hosting a hive I want to start beekeeping myself?
Our host a hive program is a year commitment and it is intended for people who don’t want to manage their own hives, but we understand how inspiring hosting a hive can be! We’d be happy to help you get started with your own hive, bees and the knowledge you need to do it all on your own. The hive you hosted for the year will be moved to another yard where the bees can continue to thrive and inspire. Our hosting hives are not for sale. If you think you might like to start managing your own hives eventually, we recommend you come to our Intro to Beekeeping class as a first step. The class will give you all the information you need to make the best decision for you.
Can I buy the hive I hosted and take over management of it?
At this time we cannot sell the hives in our hosting program but we can definitely help you get your own hive going.
As a ‘Host a Hive’ participant, will my family and I have the chance to learn about honeybees from you?
Definitely, we encourage our ‘Host a Hive’ participants to take advantage of the education aspect of our services. We can teach you as much or as little as you like about honeybees and beekeeping.
I heard bee populations are dwindling, what if the hive I host dies?
There are many things that can go wrong with bee colonies that may cause them to fail or weaken and could result in little to no honey. Luckily, Girl Next Door Honey takes this into consideration! Since we have a network of hives we are able to form a sort of “honey insurance fund” from our other hives.This way, even if something goes awry, all our participants will get some honey – it may not be from the hive they hosted but it will still be local, backyard honey! We also encourage our subscribers to take advantage of the maximum number of hives included in their installation by allowing us to place two hives on their property. This will give them a higher success rate with not just honey harvests but also pollination.
What’s the deal with the drastic decline of the bees or colony collapse disorder (CCD)?
The media says that no one knows what is causing our bee populations to decline but Girl Next Door Honey strongly believes that it is due to a compromised immune system caused by a class of pesticides known as Neonicotinoid pesticides. Neonicotinoid pesticides differ from your normal pesticides because they are bred into plants’ genetics. It is a systematic approach that results in a systematic poisoning of the life cycle. The pesticides are in a plant’s vascular system, which means they are in the leaves, roots, pollen, and nectar. It’s killing pollinators and earthworms! If we lose these species it will become a ripple effect and we are already feeling the consequences. No one is talking about Neonicotinoids despite research that shows that this type of pesticide weakens the bees’ immune systems in even undetectable amounts. This is because Bayer makes a lot of money selling the pesticide and they have deep pockets. Click here for an article that illustrates my point. Of course there are other factors that are leading to the bees’ decline, we also believe climate change and loss of habitat are big factors but in our opinion these pesticides are the driving force. We encourage everyone to read up and speak up about what is happening to the bees because of these deadly poisons. The class of pesticide is called Neonicotinoids but they have many other names and you will find these names listed more and more in the ingredients of home garden products. Look for and avoid: Imidacloprid, Clothianidin, Acetamiprid, Dinotedfuran, Thiacloprid and Thiamethoxam.
Click here to watch a TED talk on the subject. Bee researcher, Marla Spivak, really hits the nail on the head with her presentation on why the bees are dying and how we can help.
What about Africanized or “killer bees”?
It is a common misconception that Africanized bees are a different kind of bee. The truth is that they are the same species as European honeybees and the difference is simply their temperament. Africanized bees will defend their hive much more aggressively than European bees. Girl Next Door Honey does not use Africanized bee colonies and we also monitor our bees to make sure they do not become Africanized.
So, could the hive I host become Africanized?
One of the reasons we charge yearly is so that we can closely monitor the hives. Although it is possible for hives to become Africanized, this is not something that would occur over night and it is somewhat preventable. Should the hive become aggressive, Girl Next Door Honey will remove the hive and replace it with a docile one. Don’t fret though, the aggressive hive will not be destroyed. It simply takes time to convert it back to a docile hive and we will do that at an off-site location. Once the hive is docile, it will be available for hosting again.
WHAT CAN I DO TO MAKE MY YARD MORE BEE FRIENDLY?
Even if you decide hosting a hive is not right for you, you can still help the bees by making your yard a source of food and water for the bees. Try making a bee drinking fountain! Just take a simple pet waterer and fill the bowl with rocks or pebbles so that the bees have a safe place to land. You can also help the bees by planting bee friendly plants. We recommend you plant a variety of natives that bloom at different times of year. Click here to see a list of bee-friendly natives for Southern California categorized by their bloom time!
I WANT TO PLANT BEE FRIENDLY PLANTS BUT I AM WORRIED THEY WILL DRAW TOO MANY BEES AND I DON’T WANT TO BE STUNG. WHAT DO I DO?
Don’t worry! Bees will only sting in defense of their home or by accident (ex: if you step on one). When the bees are out foraging on your flowers they are likely not near enough to their home to react defensively. Drawing bees to your garden will bring more fruit, flowers and healthy plants.
What is Girl Next Door Honey’s cancellation and refund policy for classes and tours?
You may cancel your registration for a class or tour up to one week in advance of the class or tour day and receive a full refund or transfer to another class or tour of equal value. To cancel a registration, contact us at girlnextdoorhoney(at)gmail.com, and please include the following in your e-mail: your full name; the e-mail you used to register; your order number; the name of the class or tour; and the date and time of the class. No refund or exchanges will be given on classes and tours that are cancelled less than one week prior to the class or tour. Girl Next Door Honey reserves the right to cancel any class or tour that fails to attract sufficient enrollment, for instructor illness, or inclement weather. We will contact you by email or telephone and issue a full refund or you may request to be transferred to another class or tour of your choice (depending on availability). If you miss a class due to weather-related concerns or personal reasons, our standard cancellation policy applies.