Beekeeping is a great way to help pollinate your flowers, fruit trees, and shrubs and add to the overall ecology in your neighborhood, on your property, or the like. Several barriers are making keeping bees difficult, expensive, and inconvenient when done the traditional way. But thankfully, some beekeeping businesses are offering Host Beehive programs to increase access to local beehives.
The Problem- Traditional Beekeeping
Traditional beekeeping is an art, a science, and a labor, and these are the aspects that can make it difficult and very time-consuming. By traditional, I do not mean the method of managing the bees or the type of beehive that is covered in an article about new types of beehives. The context of traditional beekeeping for this article is the traditional way of keeping bees, which includes:
Researching equipment types, names, etc.
Taking a beekeeping class or online beekeeping training.
Determining what type of honey bee you would like to raise.
Spending time determining your management strategy.
Locating a mentor.
Finding a location to keep the bees
Ordering your equipment & ordering honey bees
Feeding the bees and establishing their brood nests
Managing bees approximately every 2-6 weeks.
Locating or purchasing honey extraction equipment.
Storing any non-wintering equipment where pests cannot get to them.
Preparing the bees for winter.
Replacing the 40-100% of colonies that do not survive winter.
Keeping bees comes with its share of the cost, time, and sometimes extreme learning curves. I can contest the learning curve and the cost of replacing lots of bees the following spring. Bees certainly are not cheap, and depending of how you decide to educate yourself at first can have a large impact on your initial success, or as I like to say, your minimizing of failures.
No matter how intelligent you are or the time you have put into researching, bees will always have their way of making us beekeepers humble. Even 40-year veterans with large commercial operations experience major setbacks due to weather, climate change, pests, and the like.
First-Year Beekeeping Costs-
Beekeeping isn't a cheap hobby or venture, and often the costs outweigh the physical benefits. Now, I understand the social and self-benefits of a hobby, and only you can determine the value of that. However, to breakdown, just the setup costs for the first 12 months for each hive may help you decide if traditional or hosting a beehive is best for you-
Hive Kit- $300
Beekeeping Suit- $150
Package of Bees- $150
4 Honey Supers and Frames- $360
Misc tools, supplements, fencing, etc.- $100-700
Honey collection tools- $50-600
New spring bee order (1st-year chances of kill ~75%)- $150
Management time- 6 hrs/ year per hive ($50 hr)
Total = $1,335-2,785
We have many conversations about the cost of beekeeping with new beekeepers, and when we first talk to them about buying bees, they talk about the low cost of keeping bees. When we discussed with them in the fall of the following spring (buying replacement bees), they talked about how much more expensive it was than they thought. I am not trying to scare anyone off, but just providing the information for you to decide. Bees CAN pay themselves after years of service and after you become a better beekeeper once you can keep your losses at or under industry standard annual honey bee losses.
Hosting bees from Kinnickinnic Bees is a low-cost, no-maintenance way of keeping bees. Hosting a beehive takes most of the cost and all of the time out of having bees at your property to help pollinate your garden, trees, shrubs, and plants.
How Does Hosting a Beehive Work?
Hosting is as simple as filling out a beehive assessment form, and then the beekeepers will typically assess the property and make sure it fulfills the honey bees' and beekeepers' needs, as well as assess for any necessary permits or notifications from a city, township, or county. Once the site meets all screening, then the property owner or renter can enjoy the bees and honey crop without any needed labor. There is no limit on the number of beehives you can have (unless city ordinances or for practical sakes), assuming reasonable quantities in neighborhoods or smaller properties.
What is Included in Hosted Beehives?
Included in each Hosted Hive-
Custom-built Kinnickinnic Bees insulated beehive w/ stand and sloped cover.
Honey Bees- We replace any bees or queens that are underperforming at no additional costs for as long as you are
A beekeeper to manage your hive as needed.
Each hive guarantees 15 pounds of honey from your hive*
Year-round placement of the hive and all the management of the hive provided by Kinnickinnic Bees.
*Due to weather or other factors, there are cases in which the hive at your location cannot produce the 15 pounds. In those cases, we pull honey from another local beehive to fulfill the 15 pounds of raw local honey.
If you've ever wanted to keep bees but haven't had the time or know-how to get started or simply do not want to spend the time. Hosting a beehive is the perfect way to help save the bees while they pollinate your property and gather as local of honey for you as it gets.
Maybe, after all, you can have your honey and eat it, too, I'm pretty sure I just made that up.