What to do with your bees when you go on holidays

photo credit: besar bears via photopin cc</a

photo credit: besar bears via photopin cc


As hobbies go, especially ones that involve looking after other creatures, looking after bees is relatively easy-going, even when it comes to going on holidays. For short breaks, many beekeepers will leave their bees unsupervised and in most cases return to find life in the hive much like as they left it. For longer breaks however, and depending on the time of year that you’re planning on taking a trip in, getting someone to come and keep an eye on things for you while you’re away is never a bad idea.

Link Up With Other Bee Keepers

Even if you don’t regularly attend, you should at least be aware of the other beekeeping groups and meetups in your area. Beekeeping – as is often pointed out on Kiwimana – is local, which is to say that what works in your area might be very specific to your area and so it’s good to link in with local beekeeping experts for localized tips and advice. You can find a list of beekeeping clubs in New Zealand here.

Making friends with local beekeepers is not only a good idea for getting tips specific to obtaining tips about beekeeping locally, but also to find someone who’ll help you out, for example when you’re thinking about going away on holidays.

Get a “Bee Sitter”

Getting a pet sitter is common with cats and dogs, so why not bees as well? The typical response is that finding a pet sitting agency with experience in looking after bees – or willingness to look after bees – could be difficult but that isn’t necessarily the case. Sites like TrustedHousesitters.com list thousands of animal minders, many of whom like Raymond and Penelope from Parua Bay have a background in looking after bees and even better, don’t charge for house and pet sitting.

Train Up a WWOOF-er

If you aren’t able to find a sitter with previous beekeeping experience, another option would be to find a WWOOF-er, train them up and then broach the topic of them minding things while you’re away.

WWOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms and WWOOF-ers spend their time helping out on farms in return for the accommodation you give them in return. For them it’s a wonderful opportunity to travel for free; for you it’s a chance to get some help on the farm, or in this case find someone who you can train up to cover for you while you’re away.

Depending on the amount of work involved, you should ask your WWOOF-er to arrive at least a week before if not two weeks. This should be enough time for them to not only get familiar with any day-to-day tasks, but also for you to get to know them as they’ll be in charge while you’re away.

For more information about WWOOF, visit WWOOF.co.nz

About James O' Rourke

James is an animal care specialist with a background in looking after everything from bees and stick insects to livestock and everything in between.

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