4 things to ex­pect when you host bee­hives

The days of be­ing ‘paid’ with a jar of honey by a bee­keeper are mostly over.

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Feature -

What to charge a bee­keeper

The days of be­ing ‘paid’ with a jar of honey by your bee­keeper at the end of the sea­son are mostly over.

If you are run­ning a com­mer­cial propo­si­tion, you can ex­pect proper com­pen­sa­tion. This can be in a few forms, de­pend­ing on what your site is like and what the bee­keeper is us­ing your site for.

Per­cent­age of rev­enue from the honey yield from your site specif­i­cally

In a good year you do well, in a poor year less well. If you have manuka, you would ex­pect be­tween 5-30 per cent, de­pend­ing on the qual­ity of the manuka in the area and the qual­ity of the honey (ie, the strength of the manuka honey)

Fixed $ per hive or fixed $ per site

Th­ese may be good op­tions if the bee­keeper is us­ing your prop­erty as a nurs­ery site for rais­ing bees or as an over-win­ter­ing site, rather than for honey pro­duc­tion.

The gate fee

There is another op­tion some­times of­fered by bee­keep­ers, which is a one-off pay­ment at the begin­ning called a gate fee. That’s fine if you get one of the other op­tions as well, but on its own it ben­e­fits the bee­keeper, not you.

The bee­keeper will reg­u­larly visit, every two weeks or so in sum­mer, less fre­quently in win­ter.

They will drive a 4WD ve­hi­cle, likely a ute or truck, and of­ten bring in a big trailer that they will need to drive right up to the hives, so ac­cess is im­por­tant.

You can ex­pect a com­mer­cial op­er­a­tion to place a min­i­mum of 20 hives, maybe up to 50 hives on one farm. Each hive will grow to up to 5-6 boxes by the end of the sea­son. That’s quite a lot of bees: each one-box colony con­tains around 25,000 bees, so that’s 500,000 (20 hives) up to 1.25 mil­lion bees (50 hives).

At the end of the sea­son, bee­keep­ers of­ten take away most of the boxes, per­haps leav­ing small 1-2 box hives. Some bee­keep­ers put their hives on other sites for over­win­ter­ing.

A com­mer­cial bee­keeper mov­ing hives onto a prop­erty.

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