You’ve decided that you’d like to bring an urban beekeeping program to your building — we’re so glad! If you’re wondering what to expect throughout your first season hosting honey bees, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve put together a breakdown of all the key moments to look forward to and the countless opportunities you and your community will have to get involved, engaged, and excited.
A calendar of hive visits and events is available on every MyHive page.
Choose the right location for your bees
To help Alvéole clients determine which location on their property would be best for bees, we provide a detailed location assessment based on factors such as: orientation of the hive relative to building features, pedestrian traffic, visibility, ease of access, as well as exposure to the elements.
Prep for the season
Now is the perfect time to get your community excited about the upcoming bee program. You could organize a team-building activity to introduce urban beekeeping to your building tenants, and then post educational bee posters in public places throughout the property.
MYHIVE: THE BEE’S OWN SOCIAL MEDIA & A KEY TENANT ENGAGEMENT TOOL
Every Alvéole client gets a MyHive page, an all-in-one interactive platform dedicated to your building’s bee program. Here, you can view upcoming visits, book team building activities, and see updates about your bees provided by your beekeeper. It’s a key tool for bringing your community together around your bee program.
Hive installation and maintenance
As soon as spring has sprung, we can install your hive and begin regular maintenance. We’ll provide you with the installation date and maintenance schedule so that you can be ready for your dedicated beekeeper’s visits.
Swarming is not nearly as scary as it sounds. It’s a natural yet avoidable phenomenon during which a bee colony spontaneously divides into two smaller colonies. First, the bees create a new queen. Then, the “old” queen leaves the colony with half the hive’s population to find a new home elsewhere. In the city, this could mean a car, a window or a lamp post! Not an ideal situation by any means. It’s the beekeeper’s role to prevent this by ensuring the bees have enough space to stay happily in their hive.
Educational workshops and team building activities
To maximize your community’s experience, everyone needs to feel directly engaged with the bees. Workshops and team building activities help you and your team bond over your bee program. At Alvéole, we offer a wide array of interactive workshops (from honey harvesting to team trivia) that aim to set the table for deeper, more meaningful conversations about the environment as a whole.
Near the end of the beekeeping season, the time will come to harvest the extra honey produced by the bees and reap the sweet, sweet efforts of your hard-working colony. Your beekeeper will gather the honey-filled frames and extract every delicious drop.
Your beekeeper will bring the honeycomb to a certified honey house for jarring. The frames are put in a centrifuge — a device that spins the honeycomb, causing the honey to fly out. This process keeps the honeycomb intact in order to preserve the hive’s hard work. And of course, your honey won’t be pasteurized, as pasteurization is known to eliminate the honey’s nutritional value and that unique, home-grown flavor!
Honey reception and distribution
You’ll receive your entire bounty jarred and labeled with your own custom branding. You’ll be able to dish out your honey as gifts to clients, tenants, personnel, VIPs, or anyone else who might want to learn a little bit more about the world of bees. If you’re feeling extra generous, you can get your hands on additional hive products to gift, like beeswax soap, lip balm, or candles.
END OF SEASON
Preparing for the end of the season
Like most seasonal agricultural activities, beekeeping takes a holiday during the winter months, in both hot and cold climates. As the beekeeping season ends, your bees are already doing everything they can to get ready. Your beekeeper will do their part by treating for common parasites and making sure the bees have ample food to carry them through the months when they aren’t leaving the hive much, due to the absence of nectar (caused by either extreme cold or heat).
Wrapping the hives
In cold climates, as the first frost appears, the hive must be wrapped with insulation to help keep the bees warm. Yes, the bees stay on-site all winter! They maintain an impressive internal hive temperature of up to 95°F (35°C). Makes you want to join them in there, doesn’t it?
During the off-season
All that’s left for you to do is enjoy your honey and wait until spring comes around again. In fact, you might want to slip some of your raw honey into your tea if you start feeling that first cold of the season; honey is known for its antimicrobial properties and does wonders for a sore throat!