FAQs

Service FAQs 

How does the Corporate Beekeeping Program work?

We install and maintain beehives at your workplace in a suitable location. Our fully trained and insured beekeepers monitor the health of your bees and perform a variety of tasks throughout the year to help them thrive. At each visit, we also capture a range of metrics and log the data to help better understand urban bee populations. At the appropriate times throughout the season, we extract the honey.

 

How often do beekeepers visit the beehives?

At a minimum, our beekeepers will inspect your hives once a month. If for whatever reason your bees are distressed and need extra support, supplemental visits are included. We coordinate each visit in advance and send a summary report afterwards for your records.

 

How much space do I need to host bees?

Not as much as you think! Beehives don't require a large area to be productive. When we conduct a site assessment we will be looking at the aspect, wind breaks, and general exposure to the weather. We will also look at nearby obstacles, proximity to people and traffic ways and the general space around the hives to work safely and effectively. We also need consider access to and from the location and whether there is enough space to comfortably have groups of participants for hive tours. 

 

When do you install the beehives?

Installations take place from Spring through to late Autumn. This is to minimise stress and ensure a successful transition to their new home. This is also when the weather is the warmest and flowers and nectar are readily available for the hive to thrive. 

We take installation bookings all year round and will coordinate an installation date as soon as possible.

 

What happens if my bees die?

We fully guarantee the health of our bees and queens. If a colony dies, we will replace it with a healthy one from our own stock at no additional cost. We will monitor the hive's health and perform all the necessary pest and disease checks and treatments to ensure your hive's health. 

 

How are visits coordinated?

Beehive inspections are scheduled at least 72 hours in advance via email with your nominated contact. Beekeeping is highly dependent on the weather and subject to change as the weather determines. Where possible, we will always give as much notice as possible to any change to scheduling. 

On site programming can be scheduled much further in advance and can be discussed in our kick-off meeting. 

Programming FAQs

What is the on-site programming?

As part of the program we offer a range of experiences and workshops to deepen your understanding and connection with the bees. Experiences and workshops include but are not limited to:

 

  • Guided beehive tours
  • Honey harvesting workshops
  • Candle making workshops
  • Beeswax wrap making workshops
  • Beekeeping for beginners classes
  • Lessons from within the hive

    Participants will learn the workings of the hive and challenge themselves to incorporate its lessons into your personal and professional lives.

      How many people can participate in the various programs?

      Guided experiences involving bees and the beehives are limited to a maximum of 10 participants per experience. This is to allow adequate social distancing between participants, and to ensure everyone gets maximum time handling the bees.

      Classroom workshops can accommodate up to 20 participants. More general information based sessions can be done in larger groups or hosted online via a video conferencing platform to include work from home staff. 

      Do you provide all the equipment?

      Yes, we will provide all the equipment and raw materials required to conduct all of the programming. 

      Safety FAQs

      Is it safe to keep bees at work?

      Bees when managed correctly are perfectly safe in workplaces. We conduct a site assessment to locate your beehives in a private location away from people and disturbances preferably on a rooftop or secure area. If necessary we will erect fencing to protect the bees and keep people from getting too close to the hives. 

      All our bees are docile using commercially raised queen bees that have all the character traits needed for a calm, healthy and productive colony. 

       

      I've been stung by a bee, what should I do?

      Firstly we recommend that you try to locate the stinger and scrape it away from your skin using your fingernail or a sharp object. When a bee stings, it sometimes leaves behind the venom sac attached to the stinger. If you rub or push the irritated area, you risk the possibility of injecting more venom into your skin.

      Some common remedies include antihistamines, anti-inflammatory sprays or creams, or an ice pack. 

      In most cases, a bee sting will irritate your skin for a couple of days. During this time, you might suffer from symptoms such as itchiness, swelling and inflammation of the skin.

      Bee stings are one of the most common causes of severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) in Australia. Symptoms include an all over body rash, swelling of the tongue or throat, trouble breathing, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, vomiting or a drop in blood pressure (shock). Seek medical attention straight away if an allergic reaction occurs.

       

      I'm allergic to bees, can I participate?

      If you have a known history of allergic reactions or anaphylaxis to bee stings you must declare this information and we strongly encourage you not to go near the beehives or participate in any of our programs which involve being in close proximity of the beehives. 

      Participants are required to sign a health and safety waiver prior to taking part in any of our experiences.

       

      Are your beekeepers First Aid trained?

      Yes, all of our beekeepers and demonstrators have completed first aid training and we carry first aid kits including epipens with us at all times. 

      Do you have a COVID-19 safety plan?

      Yes, Rooftop Bees is a registered COVID safe business with the NSW Government COVID-19 and follows the safety plan covering:

       

      • wellbeing of staff and customers
      • physical distancing
      • hygiene and cleaning
      • record keeping

      Bee FAQs

      Do we really need to save the bees? 

      The short answer is yes, but all insects and pollinators need our help. Bee populations have been declining steadily across every continent (except Antartica!) for many years. Some of the main factors include urbanisation, loss of habitat, chemical sprays (pesticides, insecticides and herbicides), large scale farming, monocultures, and climate change to name a few. You can read more about the why we need to save bees here.

      Bringing bees to your workplace is a great way to make an impact and raise awareness not only about bees but bigger environmental issues. 

       

      Can bees survive on an urban rooftop?

      Much to people's surprise, bees thrive on urban rooftops. Rooftops are up out of the way of people and get good amounts of sunlight and there is always a water source in the form of condensation from air conditioning units. Urban rooftop hives are also in close proximity to parks, bushland and suburban backyards so there is always a good source of pollen and nectar throughout the year. 

      It's important to consider environmental and weather factors on a rooftop. Too much sun, an exposed site with no wind breaks, and polluted sites mean your bees will be a greater risk of stress which can lead to pest and disease issues. 

      We conduct site assessments to find the best location for your beehives so the bees have the best chance at success. 

       

      Honey FAQs

      Do I get to keep the honey?

      Yes, you get to keep 100% of the honey produced by your bees. 

        

      How much honey will my hives produce?

      Honey volumes fluctuate based on a number of factors: seasonal weather conditions, colony health, genetics, stressors, etc. As such we can't guarantee minimum quantities of honey. We harvest responsibly, only extracting the excess. 

        

      How do I extract the honey?

      Honey extraction is included in the service. When your bees produce excess honey, our beekeepers will remove the honey frames and prepare them for extraction. We incorporate the extraction in our on site programming and encourage hands on participation from staff and tenants.  

       

      How do I receive the honey?

      The extracted honey will be supplied in food grade plastic tubs with tamper seals. We can arrange for glass jars and assist with labels as an addition service. 

       

      Does honey have a used by date?

      Honey is one of the only foods in the world that never spoils. It's antibacterial and antimicrobial which means it can essentially last forever! By law under food safety regulations a best before date is required but only when selling to the general public. 

       

      What is crystallised honey and is it safe to eat?

      Yes, in fact, crystallised honey is better for you! The process of crystallisation is only possible when honey is at its rawest form, containing the most beneficial enzymes and antioxidants. Honey that does not crystallise (supermarket honey) is pasteurised and has been heated and processed to remove impurities. It's completely safe to eat and your natural guarantee that the honey is 100% raw. If you prefer runny honey, gently warm your jar in a pan of warm water ensuring it doesn't exceed 38 degrees celsius. 

      Can't find an answer to your question? Get in touch here and we'll answer your burning questions.