We know you must have lots of questions! If you don’t find the answers below feel free to contact us.

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 two weeks in advance of the class or tour day and receive a refund. We cannot accommodate date changes. If you wish to attend a different date you will need to cancel and rebook. Unfortunately, some credit card processing fees are non-refundable. If that is the case with your form of payment, you will be refunded the amount you paid minus the credit card fee. To cancel a registration, contact us at admin@girlnextdoorhoney.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 two weeks 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.

How much space is needed to have a beehive in my yard?

Beehives require much less space than you would think. Generally, we like to have a 10-15 ft radius around the hive that will not be frequented by humans. However, every yard is different. We are happy to help you figure out whether your yard is suitable for backyard bees or not.

Is it safe to have a hive if I have pets or children?

In most situations, yes, but special care needs to be taken when selecting an apiary site. You wouldn’t want to place your hive right next to your dog kennel or children’s play structure, for example. Every case is different, but in our Intro to Beekeeping class we teach techniques for minimizing the presence of the bees and how to keep kids and pets at a safe distance. We believe having a backyard hive is an excellent way to teach children about nature, sustainability, and food sources!

Will having a backyard beehive 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. Our honey is raw, minimally processed and delicious. The flavor changes depending on what’s in bloom near the bees. They travel up to 3 miles to collect nectar for making honey. 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 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 on a good rain year will produce way more than a single family can consume. Anywhere from 20 to 200 pounds! The California drought has affected honey production dramatically and on years where we do not get enough rain, there won’t be much honey to harvest. Perhaps none at all.

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 almost at any time in San Diego, but typically spring through fall. Typically, we harvest 1-4 times during the season.

Do you treat or medicate your bees at all?

No. We don’t believe in treating our bees with chemicals for mite control, but in very rare cases, we may treat a sick hive with antibiotics. 

Do you feed your bees artificial nectar?

Not usually. 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. However, when a hive is very weak, feeding sugar water is sometimes the lesser evil.

Can I use the Maintenance Program as way to transition to keeping bees myself?

Absolutely! If this is something you’d like to do, we recommend you come to our Intro to Beekeeping class as a first step. The class will give you an idea of what’s involved in keeping bees and by the end, you’ll know which of our services are right for you.

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 systemic approach that results in a systemic 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. Sadly, it’s not just killing pollinators, the population of other insects, small birds, bats and other important creatures are dropping dramatically. Click here to read an article authored by Girl Next Door Honey founder Hilary Kearney which details everything you need to know about how and why bees are dying. 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’s 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. Since their arrival in San Diego in the early 1990’s, Africanized bees had been breeding with European bees in the area. The result is that we know have African-hybrid bees who may or may not have a hyper defensive traits. 

So, could my hive become Africanized?

 Although it is possible for hives to become Africanized, this is not something that would occur over night and it is somewhat preventable. If you are inspecting your colony regularly, you should be able to head off the problem before it gets out of control. Should the hive become aggressive, Girl Next Door is available to help you assess and correct the situation. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for assistance with this issue.

What can I do to make my yard more bee friendly?

Even if you decide having 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, flowering trees are especially helpful. 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 about native bees?

Honey bees are a naturalized species in the U.S. They were imported here in the 1600’s. However, there are 4,000 species of bees native to North America. They are very important to the ecosystem and suffer from the same problems honey bees do. Most native bees are solitary. They do not live in colonies or make honey. They are docile and there is very little risk of being stung. 

How can I help native bees?

Many of the actions you can take to help honey bees also help native bees. Be sure to plant native plants and don’t use pesticides. Additionally, you can create nesting habitat by leaving parts of your garden free of mulch. Most native bee species nest in the ground and need to access the soil to dig. Other species nest in hollow, dead plant stalks or in wood. You can accommodate these kinds of bees by building and maintaining a native bee house. Click here to read more about it.