Observation Hives are a Hot New Trend in Urban Hobby Beekeeping

Observation Hives and Indoor Beehives are becoming very popular in Urban Areas where outdoor beekeeping space is limited. If you are already a beekeeper or bee wrangler then you know that bees can make themselves at home just about anywhere. If you have seen a hive cutout done in a home then, you can imagine how an indoor hive might function.


Keeping Bees Indoors is a relatively new concept for the hobbyist but, educators have been using portable hives for centuries.

Brushy Mountain Bee Farm sells a product similar to the type that you may see in a school, a museum, or a nature exhibit.

Learn More: Ulster Hives

They can also be found on Ebay from other manufacturers.

Read: Learn more about getting your own portable hive  Nine Observation Hives You Can Buy Or Build – Honeydoodles.com – Build an Ulster Hive 

“People have been experimenting with indoor beekeeping for more than 100 years,” says Tim Tucker, president of the American Beekeeping Federation. “But whether you’d consider these methods successful really depends on what you want from them.” He points out that indoor observational hives—used in university and museum displays to educate the public about beekeeping—serve their purpose. You get to see bees in action without the responsibility of caring for the hive, harvesting honey, and maintaining a whole colony. – read more on Rodales Organic Life

There are several reasons why these hives have seen  increased popularity

The Practical Beekeeper, Mike Bush from Bush Farms is a proponent of the indoor hive.  He offers the most comprehensive information regarding their care on his web page.

These Hives are fascinating to watch and very cool.


Around 2015, the buzz started about a concept product called Beecosystem. It received a ton of good online press and a small cult following but failed to receive full funding before the campaign ended. The product is a bit more revolutionary than the hives in production. It would be very interesting to see these in action over the long term.

Can be kept in Small Spaces

People are beginning to embrace the idea of taking up less space.They are building tiny homes and adopting more sustainable lifestyles. Portable Observation hives are perfect for people who want to have the joy of raising honeybees but are limited on space. These hives can be installed anywhere and the methods for creating one are endless.

Bonterra Bees makes some of the best Observation Hives on the Market and also offers a set of DIY plans that many observation hive enthusiasts recommend.


Watching Bees is relaxing

Watching bees work is a very zen experience. Listening to their sounds and watching them work can put a person into a meditative state

Want live footage of bees at work? Watch Draper Bee’s Hive Live Cam


Bees Have Healing Properties

The little pollinators need us but we also need them, not only do they pollinate most of our food crops, their by-products and stings are also beneficial to us.

Related Reading:  100+ Crops That Will Die If We Don’t Save the Honey Bees #SaveTheBees #BringBackTheBees #PollinatorWeek

Celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow use bee sting therapy for beauty.

It is reported that bee stings can treat HIV and arthritis. Owning a portable hive makes accessing the bees to harvest venom from much easier. Modern practitioners, collect the venom in jars rather than allowing the bees to sting and die as they do in Traditional Apitherapy methods.

The trend for bee acupuncture comes at a time when colonies of the insect around the world are mysteriously collapsing. Environmentalists fear dwindling numbers of bees, which help pollinate crops, could have a serious effect on agricultural production.

Bee venom is one of the many traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) treatments derived from animals and plants — some of which are blamed for endangering particular wildlife species. – smh.com

Are these hives a good idea?

Yes and no. Maybe?

With the rise of CCD humanity is becoming aware of the plight of the sweet honey bee and many would like to help. These indoor hives allow more people access to honey bees which could help to increase the bee population but, the jury is still out on whether or not these indoor hives are sustainable without more human intervention than what has been reported. It is also possible that after prolonged use these hives could lead to diseases. More evidence is needed on long-term containment in these observation hives.

Learn More:How to Set Up and Maintain Observation Hives PDF

Keeping Bees Indoors may still seem like a crazy concept to some but for enthusiasts, it is becoming a daily source of healthy relaxation and joy.

Editors Note:

Do you love sitting with the bees? Do you find it relaxing? I do too, but I am not sure if I am ready to have them in my living room. Leave your thoughts in a comment or a message on any of our social media pages. Until then, I will be sitting outside watching nature, the old fashioned way.



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