Growing a bee colony in your greenhouse never promises the right condition ever. Well, if you can get the habitat looking just like the conventional ones, then you are good to go. You would need to understand all it entails to own a beehive for optimal success.
Can bees live in a greenhouse?
Bees can be kept in a greenhouse with a few adjustments. To ensure they thrive as they would outside a greenhouse additional measures are needed. This includes things like a makeshift water pot, synthetic nectar, and more.
Undoubtedly, keeping your bees in a greenhouse is as challenging as they come. Space may be limited compared to what your bee would need as a greenhouse can be confined. So, if you were to put bees into a greenhouse, you’ll need to ensure that the environment is favorable for your bees.
The growth of your new colony or an existing one depends on the resources they can access while kept in the greenhouse.
Your bees would need the following:
- Access to flowers where they can extract nectar and pollen.
- Access to fresh water.
- A low traffic area.
- And more.
If you don’t have this in your greenhouse, then you could find a substitute.
Bees are one of the most effective natural pollinators. Introducing bees into a greenhouse with crops helps increase the yield significantly. Bees will labor busily everyday and automatically pollinate plants in the process.
But keep in mind, honey bees are not necessarily the best option for greenhouse interiors.
Bumblebees and leafcutter bees are said to be better adapted to the limits of a closed greenhouse. Leafcutters are the most efficient of these two options. You can try setting up bee houses like this inside your greenhouse for these types of bees. (Amazon)
Honey bees typically like to forage in a 1-2 mile radius around the hive, but can travel further if needed. When kept in the confines of a greenhouse, they try to escape. You’ll see them bumping up against the glass in an attempt to fly further afield.
However, if you do want to keep a hive of honey bees inside your greenhouse, make sure they have openings to let them roam outside. You’ll get some of the bees pollinating your greenhouse crops, and hopefully a nice harvest of honey.
In the next two sections, I’ll show you how you could go about that. But first, you need to understand a few things before you start keeping bees.
Before You Start Beekeeping in a Greenhouse
If you want to grow a colony in your greenhouse, there are a few things to keep in mind. The following tips will make your greenhouse beekeeping journey a successful one.
Get to Know the Bees
The first thing you need to do as an intending beekeeper, you could get books. With those books, you could learn about the little insects and what they are all about. It would help if you were well informed before your bees come into the picture.
Learn How to Make Honey
It would help if you also tried to grasp all about an active hive and how the bees are created. Your bees work by making nests in the hive and then find their ways to flowers and extract nectar. When they bring this nectar back, your bees will place them in the comb, slowly mine it into honey.
Find Fellow Beekeepers in Your Community
When it regards to beekeeping, some things are peculiar to your area. Suppose you have strong backing and resources from already existing. You can quickly get someone to check your queen bee if you need one. Some other local beekeeping organizations would offer you mentorship all through the process of getting your hive set up.
Set up a Proper Hive
You would need a beehive for your bees. Without a beekeeper, they build up their hive themselves. So, if you want them in a controlled environment, then get them somewhere they can live. You could make several choices when selecting your beehive, and you need to understand the setup.
Keep a To-Do List and Follow it
Beekeeping is more like gardening, and the beekeeping tasks are usually divided by the various seasons. I would suggest that you started your beekeeping by spring so that your colony has more time for the growth process.
How to Set up a Beehive in a Greenhouse
This is a step by step guide on getting your beehive set up. Please read this before you get your hive set up, but also keep it handy during the process.
Pick a Location
Your bees need four basic things in their habitat:
- Your bee would need access to sunlight.
- Your bee needs a protective shade in case the sun gets intense.
- Your bees would also appreciate a freshwater source close to their hive. You can get a large plant saucer for this)
- Your bees would also love a bit of protection from the wind.
- Your bees also love their privacy.
You must realize that if you place them somewhere that wind can get to them, you would be causing many problems for them. The wind can blow in snow, rain, or another thing that could obstruct your bees.
Regarding their privacy, you should avoid areas that are high-traffic areas like your pet areas, play area, and so on. In all, your bees would appreciate ample space to spread out, and you should give them just that.
Fix up the Location
Your bees hive should preferably face south, and you should also keep them off the ground to keep out dampness. You can pour a cement pad over the platform to ensure the place doesn’t hold up mud or gather water.
Invite Your Bees into Their New Home
You will be doing your bee an excellent good if you place them in a new hive during spring. At this time, blooming flowers would serve as their food supply. Once you have bought the bees and got the hive set up, this shouldn’t be a big deal.
Feed your Bees
Since you are starting up, a new colony requires that you put in a lot of work. You would need to take care of the queen and her new brood, and you could give them nectar. All you need to do is combine an equal amount of granulated sugar and water, and they feed it to them as nectar.
Keep an Eye on the Bees
If you are new to beekeeping, you should realize that an essential part of this duty is observation. You should ensure the hive is free of bee poop and clean, boards are litter-free, there are no ants on the hive.
You can ensure all these by opening the hive and inspect the frames for any eggs or larvae living in the space. If your queen is living healthy, then you would find larvae at different stages of development.
But, opening the hive all the time isn’t too good, you could look around without dismantling the place. You may be stressing your bees with every time you pull open the frames.
Beware of Disease and Pests
You should always check out for Varroa mites as they are significant pests that find their ways into hives. If you don’t handle the pests, they could cripple and eventually wipe out your whole hive. There are other pest and diseases you should look out for like:
- The small hive beetle.
- The wax moth.
- American and European foulbrood.
If you get this out of the way, then you would have a healthy hive all the way.
Watch Your Hive Thrive
You could start with one body-brood box as a deep hive, and then as your bees expand, so should you’re the hive. You can start with adding a second brood, and when it is exhausted, get a queen excluder if you feel the need. Next, you could top it all up with a honey super, and this is the box where you would keep all the honey they produce.
Well… Can bees be kept in a greenhouse? Growing a beehive on a greenhouse requires that you makeshift a few things. You would need to make the hive look as natural as possible by providing artificial freshwater sources and synthetic nectar. But, it can be achieved as long as you have all the information required.