Beekeeper Services

Assistance, Coaching and Mentoring

Whether you are a novice or a seasoned professional, every season has its challenges and having someone reliable you can call on for help makes all the difference.

We provide expert assistance with:

  • setting up new hive/s and how to go about it
  • registration and compliance
  • Disease Elimination Conformity Agreement (DECA) inspection
  • Annual Disease Return (ADR) support
  • inspecting at the right times
  • checking for or dealing with American Foul Brood
  • getting a varroa treatment plan in place and executing it
  • replacing queens or colonies
  • harvesting your honey crop
  • learning through semi-regular mentoring and coaching
  • setting up digital management systems

Our team can find the right beekeeper for you based on your needs and ensure you get good reliable service every time. Your agreement will be with the beekeeper directly but we help make sure everyone gets what they need.

Beekeepers prefer to be paid by the hour and will usually charge a set rate around $60 per hour, though this may be negotiable depending on the need and additional services rendered.

We get a lot of requests about what’s needed to get up and running with bees so we have created this service and resource to help beekeepers get set up and maintain a successful beekeeping operation of any size.

These are the features of our recommended new beekeeper setup:

The Bees

1 x 5 Frame Nucleus colony on Full Depth or 3/4 frames.

The Hive

There are 3 ‘Wholesalers’ and a hand full of rip-off merchants who purchase the same goods at the wholesalers and sell them to you with a markup.

The wholesalers are and and

  • 1 Hive floor, we recommend solid wood floors, the best are made by Tunnicliffe. If you have a lot of wasps in your area I recommend Hive Doctor Floors (2nd generation). Don’t buy mesh floors, they are good in the summer but not so good in the winter.
  • 5 storeys – 3/4 or Full Depth (FD), the preference is how much weight can you handle? This is for all year round, to begin with, you only need one box – until the bees run out of space. A hive is run at 2 brood boxes and up to 5 honey boxes. But 3 honey boxes is the ‘just right’ amount of boxes for a hobby outfit. A honey box with 10 full depth frames of honey can weigh as much as 45kg whereas a 3/4 of honey can weigh 23kg. My advice is to keep all the boxes the same size. No need to get premiums, but they look slightly better. If you would like to splash out, Thermowood boxes are the best, but they cost a bit more…
  • All boxes and the wood floors are painted with 2 coats of water based acrylic paint. Painted on the outside ‘only’!
  • 45 frames – your choice is plastic waxed – or wood, wired and MB foundation. 5 frames come with the Nucleus colony for a total of 50 frames for 5 boxes with 10 in each.
  • Hive mat. This is the inner lid. 26mm is preferable but only Ceracell sells these.
  • Lid or outer cover, we recommend 0.75g lids with folded corners. Sprung lids are fine but will leak in rain with strong winds. Polystyrene insulation for the lids 15mm x 50mm x 40mm.
  • Queen excluder – stainless American welded sounds great, but is a pain, if you can get the Ceracell yellow plastic, they are the easiest to use and have the best bee-space!
  • Em-Lock, the strap that ties it all together. Must have!

We recommend keeping at least 2 hives at all times so naturally the list above x 2. This is so you can compare the colonies and assist should a colony need honey or brood.

Hive Placement

The hives should be off the ground 300mm (2 pallets) to minimise damp in the hives.

Entrances of the hives should face north and hives should ideally have the sun on them 8 hours a day and as much as possible in winter. The spot you choose should be away from walkways, flood lines buildings, and sheltered from prevailing winds.

You can also make your life easier by setting your hives up with easy access by a trolly or vehicle.

For protection

  • 1 bee-suit
  • 1 pair of Beekeeping gloves
  • 1 smoker
  • 1 J-hook Hive tool
  • 1 frame rest, saves you from having to rest a frame on the ground!
  • 1 lighter or a small blow torch for lighting the smoker material.
  • Smoker material, I use coffee bags but you can use pine needles, wood chips, egg cartons or pellets.

Recommended reading

Practical Beekeeping in New Zealand