Marvel Bees Frequently Asked Questions
How does sponsorship work?
You choose how much money you’d like to contribute and which benefits you’d like to receive from sponsoring the bees. Fill out a sign-up form by clicking here, and I will send you a confirmation email about your payment and benefits.
The money you contribute goes towards purchasing bees and beekeeping equipment, and you will receive your benefits over the course of the November 2017-November 2018 year.
How often do I pay my sponsorship fee?
Just one payment at any sponsorship level makes you a sponsor for a year: December 2017-December 2018.
When should I sign up and pay my sponsorship?
As soon as possible! Colonies become available for order in mid to late November, and ordering early guarantees we’ll get our bees!
How much money are you trying to raise?
The minimum amount of money I need to order 3 packages of bees and two additional sets of protective gear (so you can join me on hive inspections) is $515.
Packages: 3 at about $125/ea ($425 total)
Gear: two additional sets ($130 total)
Hats/Veils: 2 at $25/ea ($50)
Jackets: 2 at $20/ea ($40)
Gloves: 2 sets at $20/ea ($40)
However, additional money above that $515 will go towards more supplies to expand what I can offer to sponsors.
A fourth package of bees ($125)
Two additional sets of protective gear ($130)
Extra beekeeping equipment for a fourth hive (about $150)
Extraction supplies: ($50-$150)
Bottles and jars for wax, pollen, and propolis (about $50)
Non-GMO sugar (depends on the number of hives and how much feeding the bees need)
Short version: I need to raise between $515-$1250 for this project to be a success!
When will I get to visit the bees?
Packages of bees become available for order in mid to late November. The bees are delivered between late March and mid-April. The timing depends on weather and other factors.
Our package installation party for Queen Bee sponsors will take place in early to mid April. Workshops and inspections will begin 7-10 days after the package installation. Once I know when we’ll install the packages, I’ll be in touch with all of our sponsors to schedule their tours, inspections, and workshops!
When will I get honey and other bee products?
Depending on the health and strength of our bees, we’ll harvest honey and wax twice: Once in mid July and once in late August. Honey will be distributed in late July and early September.
Because these are first-year hives and because it is impossible to predict how the season will go, I can’t guarantee the quantity of honey we’ll receive. The amount of honey and other products distributed to various sponsorship levels is subject to change based on the amount we are able to harvest!
However, all honey harvested will be split equally between myself and sponsors. Part of the honey I keep for myself will also go to In Good Heart Farm in return for their generosity in hosting our hives and workshops.
What happens to the bees in the winter?
As the number of available flowers (and nectar and pollen) decreases, the queen bee stops laying eggs. The worker bees kick out the drone bees (males) and the number of bees in the hive decreases overall. Enough worker bees remain to gather in a basket-ball sized cluster in the brood chambers, and they vibrate their wings and eat their stored honey to keep themselves and the queen warm throughout the winter. They don’t quite hibernate, but their metabolisms and activity slow down in cold weather.
Bees do not leave the hive when the weather is below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. On warmer winter days, they will emerge to excrete and to clean the hive of dead bees. As the weather warms, the workers begin gathering nectar and pollen and the queen begins laying again, and their cycle continues through the spring and summer.
Can I be a sponsor next year?
Absolutely! Right now, I’m not sure what form next year’s sponsorship will take — we’ll see how this year goes! But assuming all is well, I’d like to have more hives and bring in more sponsors next year. Sponsors from 2017-2018 will receive a discount or other benefit for signing up for the year of 2018-2019!