FAQ

Answers to many of our frequently asked questions and more information on beekeeping and our approach. If you don’t see the answer you are looking for, send us an e-mail at info@heritagebee.com.

We Host & You Host Questions

  • What is the cost per season?
  • YOU HOST – 2017 Season 

    2 Hives – $960

     

    WE HOST – 2017 Season

    One Share – $144/year

    Two Shares – $240/year

    Four Shares – $420/year

     

    For more information about all of the benefits you receive, please visit our “Hosting Plans’ section, or call us at 705 466 BEES (2237).  Email:  info@heritagebee.com

     

  • If I know a little about beekeeping, can I inspect the hives on my property?
  • We request that the hives are only opened by The Heritage Bee Company. Keen to learn about the bees? Simply let us know and we’ll bring an extra bee suit or two. We love teaching and sharing all about the magical community of the honey bee.

  • I am a We Host customer, can I visit my hive?
  • We will provide regular updates and keep you informed about your bees!

    Everyone will be invited to a special Open House to tour our Apiary, observe a hive inspection, and learn about honeybees.

    Clients who purchase 4 shares (one full hive) will have the opportunity to come for a private ‘VIP’ experience at our Apiary.

  • How much honey will I receive from my hive(s)?
  • One (1) ‘We Host’ share will generate about 4 lbs of delicious raw, honey. Or about 5 jars with personalized labels.

    For our ‘You Host’ clients, they will receive about 15-20% yield from their hives, equalling approx. 30 lbs of honey per season. Or about 35 jars of honey.

  • Can I purchase more honey from my hive from you?
  • Yes! If arranged ahead of time, additional honey can be purchased directly from your hive – in jars with your customized labels. Or we can bulk package your honey.

    Otherwise, we always have honey available for sale in our online store.

  • How can I tell if my land is suitable for the bees?
  • Bees need land that is pesticide-free, with good sources of pollen, nectar and water. Plus hives do need some sort of wind break, plus direct sunlight exposure, ideally facing south and east. If your rural property, organic farm, and/or gardens have a good supply of fruit trees, or native flowering plants, then you likely have the perfect spot for bees.

    In Ontario, honeybee colonies cannot be placed within 30 metres of a property line separating the land on which the hives are placed, from land occupied as a dwelling or used for a community centre, public park or other place of public assembly or recreation.

    Hives, with or without bees, cannot be located within 10 metres of a highway.

    The Heritage Bee Co. Offers solutions to those individuals living in an urban environment whereby the setbacks are prohibitive to keeping hives. We will host for you!

  • Can I purchase the beeswax from my hives?
  • Yes! Our treatment-free, clean and pure beeswax is available for sale.

    Visit our online store. Please note given our beekeeping practices, we have limited quantities available each season.

  • How often will you visit my hives?
  • We will be visiting your property every one to two weeks. So if you see someone on your property looking like a spaceman in a funny white suit, you’ll know it’s us from The Heritage Bee Co. checking on your bees.

    Happy sunny days with a gentle breeze (or no breeze at all…) are perfect for hive inspections. If the weather is wet, overcast or rainy, we won’t be checking on your bees. They aren’t too keen about us doing inspections on these gloomy days.

  • Do I need to be there when you inspect the hive?
  • Nope, although we welcome all our You Host customers to observe the hive inspections, we realize that this is not always possible.

  • What if I want to get into beekeeping on my own after being a host?
  • First we’d give you a high five, and maybe even do a Waggle Dance…

    Next, we’d help you with the purchase and setup of your hives, bees and equipment. Keep in mind there is a one year commitment with us, and we won’t move the bees until early Fall at the end of our service agreement.

     

  • Can I buy the hives that are on my property?
  • Possibly.

    We are exploring the possibility of selling our full colonies to those interested in continuing as beekeepers on their own.   In order to sell bees and/or used equipment in Ontario, the seller must have a Ontario government-issued permit.    We’re currently looking into this for some clients who have inquired.

     

  • Do you accept Visa for your payment plan?
  • Yes, we accept Visa, Mastercard, Apple Pay, American Express, cheques, and cash.

Seed Bomb Questions

  • What is a 'Seed Bomb' ?
  • A seed bomb is an easy and fun way to plant wildflowers and provide food for butterflies and bees! They are small dirt balls, hand made of clay, compost and seeds. They are ready for planting in your back yard, or you can toss into a vacant patch. – filled with native plant species. They look like small marbles or truffles. All seeds are native and non-GMO.

    This traditional method for sowing valuable seeds in balls of clay protects seeds from hungry birds and increases your flowers’ success. It’s a carefree gift for a lazy gardener, or a fun way to green your brown thumb.

    Our Seed Bombs are hand made and specially formulated by The Heritage Bee Co.  Each bomb contains contain 100% native Ontario wildflowers.

  • How do I plant my Seed Bombs?
  • Best to plant in the Fall or Spring, in a sunny location. Water is needed to help germinate the seeds.

    Gently press your seed bomb into the soil to a depth of about 1.5 ” (approx 4 cm). Plant in an area that is bright and sunny.

    Space about 1 ft. apart (30 cm)

    Watering is helpful if Mother Nature doesn’t provide it naturally.

  • What flowers are in my Seed Bombs?
  • There are 5 delicious native pollinator plants in your hand made Seed Bombs! Each species has been carefully chosen by The Heritage Bee Co., to ensure there is sequential blooming throughout the foraging season. And, of course, food for our bees and butterflies.

    Here are the flowers, listed in order of bloom time from Spring to Fall:

    Purple Gayfeather (Liatris spicata) June – Aug.
    Common Milkweed (Asclepia syriaca) June – Aug.
    Bee Balm/Bergamot (Mondara fistulosa) July – Sept.
    Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) July – Sept.
    Smooth Aster (Symphyotrichum leave) Aug. – Oct.

  • Do I need to water my Seed Balls?
  • If Mother Nature does not supply natural irrigation, then we strongly recommend watering.

    Fall planting allows the plants to develop and provide an earlier display of flowers in the Spring.

    If planted in spring, make certain rainfall is expected; otherwise, supplemental irrigation will need to be supplied.

  • I'm not a gardener. Can I toss these on the ground?
  • Yes, indeed.

    The clay coating protects the wildflower seeds from birds and other seed-eating creatures.

Bee Questions

  • What are Small Cell Bees?
  • Small Cell Bees are bees that are the natural size of wild, feral bees. Over the past 100 years, modern beekeeping practices have deliberately increased the size of the honeycomb cell foundation, which in turn increased the size of the bees. The theory was that bigger bees (30-50% larger) would be better bees. Unfortunately, this has not proven to be the case. The larger bees are less productive, and are more prone to disease and mite problems as a result of being larger than nature intended. Small Cell Bees are raised on natural sized honeycomb foundation, are “the right size”, they are more productive, more resistant to mites, and better able to fend off disease than the larger sized bees.

  • What is treatment-free beekeeping?
  • Treatment-free beekeeping means that we don’t put anything into the hive that the bees don’t put there themselves – (except for the frames and other basic equipment, of course!). Anything that a beekeeper puts inside a hive to control mites, or disease is a treatment. A treatment-free approach requires more active management, and regressing the larger commercial bees back to their natural, ‘heritage’ size.  Plus we actively using drone trapping, splitting, and do not feeding sugar water.  We leave approx. 150 lbs of honey on each hive for overwintering.

  • Do you offer pollination services?
  • We do not offer migratory pollination services, as we do not move our hives from farmers field to farmers field to pollinate specific crops.  We believe this adds immense stress and weakens the bees.

    Once our bees are established in a site that has been inspected and approved as a suitable location, the bees orient to one location for the whole season.

  • Do you offer swarm removal?
  • Yes – if you have a swarm, please give us a call, and we will take care of it for you. No need to be afraid…..swarming is a natural event for bees and a way the bees reproduce.

     

    And PLEASE do not call an exterminator…..

Honey Questions

  • My honey is crystallizing – what do I do?
  • Honey crystallization is a natural process, and all honey will eventually crystallize. But don’t worry – its still the same great tasting honey! If you don’t like it in its crystallized form (it does make it less messy when eating it on toast!), simply put the jar into a warm pot of water, and leave it for a while. The warm water will turn the honey back to its liquid state. Be careful not to heat the honey up too much or else you will break down all the beneficial enzymes in the honey, and turn it into honey just like all the other honeys you can buy in the supermarket that have been pasteurized.

  • What is creamed honey?
  • Creamed honey is simply crystallized honey that has been tricked into forming very very small crystals. These smaller crystals give the honey a very different “mouth feel” than honey that has been allowed to crystallize naturally.

  • Does honey go bad?
  • Honey is pretty much the only food that does not spoil while in an edible state. Provided that the honey has been properly stored – that is – well sealed, and in a dry place, honey can last almost indefinitely. In fact, the Smithsonian has reported that pots of honey were recently discovered in Egyptian tombs. The Scientists estimate the honey is thousands of years old and still edible! There is an amazing article if you want to read about the science behind this incredible food source and its eternal shelf life. http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/the-science-behind-honeys-eternal-shelf-life-1218690/?no-ist

  • Why is polyfloral (wildflower) honey better than single source honey?
  • There are two main honey options – single source honey (i.e. buckwheat) and multi source (i.e. wildflower).

    This refers to the food source of the honey bee. Did they have a buffet of flowers to choose from? Or were they forced to eat one single flower source for a period of time to produce a specially flavoured honey?

    We believe polyfloral wildflower honey is much healthier to consume, cures more illnesses and is in synchronicity with how the bees make honey naturally. There is a broader variety of food sources, offering a plethora of different nutritional benefits – both to the honeybee and to consumers. Rather than one single variety.