You’ve Got Questions and We Have Answers
Hive Time Classes
What is the "Hive Time Bee Experience?"
It’s an adventure!
Come bee brave and bee guided through your own bee hive step-by-step by a qualified instructor. You get a full beekeeping suit, elbow-length gloves, a smoker, a hive tool, a bee brush, and a lot of patience from your instructor.
You can also record your Bee Experience with your GoPro camera or DSLR and your cell phone. We even have bluetooth remote shutters to pair with your phone so you can take selfies to share with your friends while wearing gloves.
If you would like to bring a tripod for more of your own custom camera action, drop us a line and we’ll work something out as long as it is safe.
How many people will there be in my Bee Experience?
Part of what makes the Bee Experience so special is that you get your own bee hive just for you.
We keep 14 hives in the bee yard in a seminar-esque setup. So if we are fully booked there are 14 people plus one instructor. However, we frequently remove hives for various reasons. As we write this there are only 12 available.
Additionally, we run classes WAY more frequently than other places. This means you have a high chance of having less than a full class.
Are there physical requirements?
Yes, there are.
You must be able to lift 40lbs from a starting height of 5 feet high off the ground and control it safely, steadily, and softly down to a height of 2 feet, then back again. You must perform this action several times (hint: the instuctor will be there to help, in general).
The stands plus the bee hive equipment are roughly 5 feet tall. Bees don’t like to be bumped or slammed so the supers must be lowered to the stand softly and steadily for everyone’s safety.
Will the instructor will be walking around with the customers?
Yes, we take safety and your Bee Experience seriously.
Your instructor will be giving an instruction on what to do next while walking around and assisting each person on a need basis. Once everyone has performed the instruction the instructor will move on to the next step/observation.
Will my instructor provide help if I need it?
Of course, however you need to be able to perform the physical actions listed above.
The instructor will assist you in a manner in which provides the requested help, always, but allows for you to experience your hive on your own.
What if I get suited up and in front of the hive but can't bring myself to open it?
Then no sweat. We’ll give you a refund and no pressure. It’s not for everyone and we appreciate that fact.
However, we stop offering a refund after the covers come off. We have to draw a line somewhere and we think this is reasonable.
Bees and equipment
Do the bees get to leave the hive?
We get this question alot.
Yes, the bees that forage for nectar and pollen leave the hive during daylight hours and travel up to about 4 miles in any direction from the Hive. They return to deposit their loot on a regular basis. Bees do not leave the hive at night.
What is a beekeeper?
A beekeeper is anyone who maintains a hive of bees.
What is a bee hive?
A bee hive takes many forms. In the U.S., beekeepers mainly use what is called a Langstroth Hive, invented by Lorenzo Langstroth around 1852. The Langstroth hive consists of wooden or other type of boxes roughly 2 feet square that are stacked on top of one another. These boxes are referred to by many names depending on their size and function. Some are Deep(s), Super(s), Honey Super, Brood box, and more.
The hive has a wooden bottom board with a gap for the bees to enter and exit, the supers go on top, then a rain shielding outer cover on the top super.
In each super are usually 10 ‘frames’ that hang down the height of the box (imagine plates in a dishwasher but upside down). Each frame has a foundation of material on which the bees construct hexagon-shaped wax cells. This foundation can be made out of wax or plastic. Both have preprinted hexagons on them to start the bees’ pattern for them. The cells are then drawn out by the bees and used to incubate and hatch new bees, store pollen, and create and store nectar/honey.
There are other types of hives such as a Warre Hive and Top Bar Hive.
What is an apiary?
Pronounced ape – e – air – e, it is a place bee hives or bees are kept. This term can refer to the land hives are kept on or even an individual hive itself.
What is a beeyard?
A bee yard is an area of land bee hives are kept. Also, referred to as a apiary.
Outside of our bee yard you are permitted to have your veil and equipment off. When you enter the bee yard you must have your suit properly functioning with your veil zipped, gloves on, have on ankle guards, and attitude in check.
What is a smoker?
A smoker is a metal cylinder with with a bellows, a hole on the bottom for air to enter and a hole on the top for air and smoke to escape.
The top of the smoker opens. You light some form of smoker fuel (there are many, many types) and place it in the cylinder. When you close the cylinder the fuel has just enough oxygen to smother without going out, creating smoke without fire. When the bellows is pushed more air enters and causes the fuel to become hotter producing more smoke.
Does the smoke hurt the bees?
Too much of anything is bad. Cool smoke (the kind we use) does not hurt the bees however, we use it as sparingly as we can.
We know it sounds silly to refer to smoke from embers as cool vs. hot however, it’s true. Some smoker fuels produce a cooler temperature smoke while others produce a much hotter smoke. Hotter smoker fuel can singe the wings of bees – not good for anybody involved.
Why do you use smoke on bees?
When bees sense smoke they think there is a fire nearby and go, “Oh crap, everyone take the honey!” They start filing their tiny little stomachs and don’t stop until full (good for the beekeeper, they are distracted). During your Bee Experience you will notice many tiny little bee butts stuck straight up in the air while they are drinking Oh-So-Sweet nectar – literally and figuratively.
Smoke also binds to the receptors on the bees’ anntena and keep them from receiving chemical signals from other bees. This is a good thing because they can’t (for the most part) receive pheromone signals from other bees.
Safety is our #1 Priority
Can you guarantee I will not be stung.
No, we can’t. We would love to be able to but bees are wild creatures and we cannot control them.
There are VERY good odds you will NOT get stung. From our suits, to veils, to elbow length leather gloves, to ankle straps, AND that we require you to wear boots, all this adds up to a fun time not worrying about bees stings.
Also, you are given clear and concise training in ways of behaving, treating the bees, movement, using tools properly, and order of operations that help ensure your safety.
How do I keep from getting stung?
You will review these basic and required rules several times before boldly entering a hive of bees:
- Try never to breathe on the bees. Yes, believe it or not, the bees don’t like your breath. Even if it is minty fresh. While you are holding a frame of bees up to your veil to inspect it closely, breathe off of the frame (you will be taught how). They don’t get angry when this happens, just….more aware of you.
- Don’t bang around or slam equipment. Bees react just like you and I to being startled.
- Follow all directions and advice given by your instructor.
- Use a light smoke from the smoker at each step as instructed.
- Visually inspect your buddy’s suit. Before you enter the bee yard you will be paired up with a buddy. Before and during your bee experience you should bee occasionally scanning your buddy for suit damage and any conditions that could be a problem. Look out for your buddy and they will look out for you.
What will you do if anyone is stung?
We are frequently asked if we keep an Epipen® on hand to administer in the event of stings.
NO – the Epipen® or any devices that may resemble it are PRESCRIPTION ONLY. Also, we are not doctors and do not administer drugs to anyone ever.
In the event you are stug we will monitor you closely and administer basic first aid such as treating the sting with ointment, etc. If you show any signs of being allergic we will call EMS.
In our opinion, a red wasp sting or bumble bee sting is MUCH more painful than a honey bee sting. However, we never want to diminish anyones sensitivity to pain or stigma to bees and will treat everyone with respect and seriousness in the event they are stung.
If you have special circumstances such as undergoing therapy for acute conditions related to bees or insects please call us. We are flexible and willing to work with anyone.
What do I wear?
You can wear anything you want. With the bee suit you are pretty safe. However, there are no guarantees.
Loose fitting clothing works best. Wear something cool that breathes well to help reduce heat.
Yes – you can wear shorts. Yes, you can wear yoga pants.
Just don’t forget your boots!
Do you have water?
Yes, we have free bottled water to keep you hydrated.
Are there forms I'm required to sign?
Yes, absolutely. You will sign a couple of forms for each person involved. They are liability release waivers. We also require ID to very the name on the form is you.
Will I get to review the forms before I sign?
Absolutely. You are under no pressure to sign the waivers. However, if you wish to enter our bee yard, don a suit, or enter our honey house, we must have a signed waiver from you. The forms state Hive Time, LLC is not responsible for injuries and more.
What if I book a Bee Experience but once I show up I don't feel comfortable signing the forms for whatever reason?
Then you will be given a full refund, no pressure, no questions.
Where is Hive Time?
Hive Time is about 30 minutes west of Austin. We are about 5 minutes off of 290 west of Dripping Springs.
Does Hive Time Offer Food?
Sorry, but no. We do hope you patron food establishments in Fredericksburg or Dripping Springs after leaving Hive TIme though.
Does Hive Time sell bees, equipment and tools?
Currently we do not. We don’t ever plan on having an inventory of items to sell onsite at Hive Time. However, we might open an Amazon store in the future.
Can you tell me more about the Hive Time observation hive?
We can give you many more details onsite so book an event to learn more or drop us an email/text/phone call/facebook with your questions.
I want an observation hive like yours in my house. Will you build me one?
We are open to the idea and if we receive a serious inquiry we will price it for you after a legal review. Ours is a first version prototype that has been operational for two years. We believe we have learned enough to keep them happy indefinitely and keep messes and mistakes to a minimum. Contact us if you want one.