If you’re fond of honey bees and want to spark up your beekeeping passion, now is the time to step into a unique avenue: indoor beekeeping. Whether you’re an avid homesteader or someone thrilled to sell honey, beeswax, and other bee products right from their home, indoor beekeeping is for you.
The concept of indoor beekeeping isn’t only fascinating, it’s rewarding too. If the thought of caring for those little creatures, selecting the right beehives, and collecting honey excite you, you should first collect ample knowledge about indoor beekeeping. There are state laws and numerous other concerns you should know about before starting the indoor beekeeping journey.
Let’s dig deeper into knowing more about indoor beekeeping.
Is Indoor Beekeeping Worth the Hype?
Nobody knows for sure who discovered the practice of beekeeping. That’s why we can say that the concept of beekeeping exists since the beginning of human existence. Indoor beekeeping isn’t a novel activity either. Explore some old homes, and we bet you’d be surprised to see some wall-mounted beehives!
In the past, walls were old stone. These walls were constructed in a way that people could build permanent beehives on them. The inbuilt-hives helped bees to stay cool in summer and warm in winter. This comfortable environment was ideal for them to produce honey. Since the beehives were in-house, the house members could easily extract honey from the hives whenever they needed it.
The trend evolved over the years and is now known as indoor beekeeping. It’s worth the hype because of the level of convenience it provides to beekeepers. If you love taking care of honeybees and feel inner happiness after seeing honey clusters around the beehives, you’re on the right track. Besides saving your precious time, indoor beekeeping will give you access to the bees without even leaving your house.
You’ll also be able to monitor the behavior of bees while controlling their aggression. Since you’ll be closer to every in-house beehive, you’ll get the opportunity to treat them in the best way you can. There are technological advancements now and then when it comes to indoor beekeeping. That’s why you can also get the latest tools that will further help you.
Is Installing an Indoor Beehive Dangerous?
Beekeeping enthusiasts often have this question in mind. The answer is, “not at all!” Indoor beehives differ from traditional beehives. Indoor beehives are user-friendly. They often have screws that provide extra strength. As you shop for one, you’ll notice various types available – depending on the buyer’s needs. Some of them are portable, while others have the in-built option. Portability will allow you to grab the beehive and show your bees to friends.
Ever thought if a bee could sting you? Fear not. Bees are easy to manage. You just need to learn a bit about them. Provide them a healthy environment and see how you’ll start loving those bee colonies.
The Perfect Time of the Year to Start Indoor Beekeeping
It’s amazing how bees follow a specific schedule to pollinate and store honey. Since summer is an ideal season for planting perennial flowers, it’s perfect for beekeeping too. Suppliers begin to deliver queen bees and beekeeping equipment in the spring. Once you’ve bought the required items for indoor beekeeping, you’re ready to begin the journey.
Bees start storing honey at the beginning of summer. But you’ll find them supporting their colony in colder months. That’s why you should provide the required feed to the bees in winter so they can easily complete the inventory. You’ll also need to keep track of the food supply because you might often experience food fluctuations in spring. You can protect your bees from starving by giving them bees syrup.
Things to Do Before Going into Indoor Beekeeping
There are certain points to keep in mind before even bringing honeybees home. If you’re new to indoor beekeeping, doing your homework beforehand will eliminate any future worries.
Here’s what you need to do:
Follow the legal requirements
Beekeeping is just like raising any other domestic stock. State laws require you to take optimal care of the bees without ignoring their needs. However, beekeeping laws might vary from one state to the other. That’s why you should know which regulations apply in your area before you decide to buy the bees.
The good news is that abiding by the laws is as easy as providing a nurturing environment to the bees. Secondly, you must ensure that the bees wouldn’t create any disturbance or distraction for the neighbors. Also, it’s not legally right to abandon the hive in case you’ve got bored of this hobby. Even if you want to switch your indoor beekeeping passion to something else, you should first give the hive away to someone who wants to continue beekeeping.
Get the right clothing
You’ll have to go a bit closer to the bees to inspect the hive, feed the bees, harvest honey, and relocate the hive. Therefore, wearing specific clothing will help you protect yourself from any stings. Interestingly, bees act nicely if they see light-colored, smooth clothing. They react aggressively if dark colors are around them. That’s why you should avoid wooly and dark clothing. A white bee suit will be ideal for you.
You’ll also need a beekeeper’s hat that’s strong and firm, so it can easily support the veil. Ventilated veils are the best bet if you’re doing indoor beekeeping in hotter months. Don’t forget to protect your hands and feet. The gloves should allow your fingers to move freely when it’s time to harvest honey. Grab the elastic-sided shoes. They should also cover the ankles.
How to Begin: Getting the Bees
This is the most exciting phase of indoor beekeeping. You can get the bees by purchasing a bee nucleus colony. This colony comprises a queen, a brood, a few worker bees, honey, and three combs. You’ll have to contact a credible bee equipment supplier to get this colony. The ideal time to get the nucleus colony is from September to October. Once you’ve bought it, you’ll soon see it grow into a strong bee colony.
If you want to try another option, you can go for an indoor hive. You’ll get the bees inside it. Therefore, you wouldn’t have to buy bees separately.
Another way to start indoor beekeeping is getting the honeybee swarms. But you need to ask an experienced beekeeper to get it for you because the swarms are on the tree branches, and it requires expertise to extract them.
Indoor Hive: The Home For Your Bees
You need to get an indoor hive, fill it with bees, and then mount it onto your wall. But when we talk about indoor beehives, nothing compares to the BEEcosystem. It’s an indoor beehive technology that’s getting popular among indoor beekeepers. It’s unique because it helps you keep bees indoors even if you’re living in an urban area. Constructed with cedar, it has a hexagonal shape. Its size is perfect for first-timers who prefer easy management but sufficient honey.
You can compare this hive with an aquarium. The only difference is that there are no water and fish. Instead, it’s filled with bees! It also comprises of a cover that filters light. That way, you can ensure that indoor lighting doesn’t interrupt the natural cycles of the bees. The transfer tube of the BEEcosystem enables the bees to move freely and connect to the outside world.
You can think about expanding your indoor beekeeping hobby because this system has a modular design that you can expand. If you get this one instead of the traditional hive, you wouldn’t have to worry about collecting the bees because it comes with stocked honeybees. You just need to mount it onto the wall.
Feed For Bees
It’s amazing how these little creatures store honey for food. They store it in their hive during the colder months. Besides, they collect honey when the flowers with nectar are scarce. So, when the nectar is unavailable, they use the stored honey as their feed.
You should often monitor the exact quantity of stored honey in the hive. If the bees have consumed honey and nothing is left, they might begin to starve. That’s when you’ll need to feed them to make sure that the bee colony lives longer.
You can prevent starvation by moving the bees to the plants where they can get the nectar. Besides, you can provide them the feed consisting of white table sugar or white sugar syrup. But here’s the challenge: You must know the do’s and don’ts of feeding the bees as even a bit of negligence might infect the entire hive. It’s wise to take guidelines from an experienced beekeeper first before feeding your bees.
How to Control Bee Aggression
Bees might often show aggression when you come closer to them but that’s normal. You should first analyze the cause of their aggression. Sometimes genetics are responsible for their aggressive behavior. In that case, you cannot do much about it. But if the bees have changed their behavior because of the change in environment, they’d soon settle down.
Sometimes it’s the weather that brings aggression in their nature. In this scenario, you should just wait for colder weather. Their temper will get worse as the season improves. Fortunately, you can do a few things to control their behavior:
- If the bee colony was calm earlier, but its temperament is changing within a few days, it means that you should re-queen the colony.
- The bees might be hungry, and thus, this might lead to aggression. Feed them, and then see if they’re behaving better.
- Perhaps, your bee suit is messy and smelly because of the honey, wax, and propolis. This smell might make the bees insecure which is why they tend to be aggressive. Wash your white suit, and then check if it solves the issue.
- Were you anxious while collecting honey from the hive? Your bees might sense it with your hand movement. Therefore, you should move your hand smoothly around the hive. It might be difficult at first, but practice will help.
How to Care for Your Bees in Winter
Winter can be harsh for bees even if their hive is indoors. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that the bee colony survives well in colder months. That’s possible if you provide a favorable environment to them. Here’s a checklist you should often look at to make sure you’re keeping your bees in the best condition possible:
Set the temperature control system
Room temperature between 33.8 degrees F and 41 degrees F is appropriate for keeping bees healthy. If the temperature goes outside this range, it might lead the bees to consume their honey reserves. No beekeeper wants that, of course. Therefore, installing a temperature-controlling system will help you achieve consistent temperature.
Provide adequate ventilation
Honeybees secrete excessive heat, carbon dioxide, and moisture in winter. This can affect their health if they don’t have adequate ventilation. That’s why it’s worth keeping the room ventilated while balancing the temperature.
Get rid of too much light
Vibrations, noise, and light might disturb the overall rhythm of bees working hard to produce honey. Minimize lighting by using light traps at the entrance of the indoor beehive. You can also install window coverings to get a dark and quiet environment for the bees.
So, Are You Ready to Light Up Your Indoor Beekeeping Adventure?
What’s next? The aim is to have a healthy bee colony. Your bees will do well if you’ve provided a comfortable environment for them. That way, they’ll also be free from pollutants and noise.
Now that you’re aware of the basic information about keeping bees indoors, we wish you all the best for your indoor beekeeping endeavor! Expressing your ideas with us might help other beekeeping beginners. So, don’t forget to share your indoor beekeeping experience with us.