Beekeeping can provide numerous benefits and advantages. But what happens if you are interested in beekeeping and you do not have access to a large outdoor space? What if you live in an apartment building, and the only place you have available to keep a beehive is on your balcony?
You can keep bees almost anywhere, including your balcony. As long as the beehives are able to be kept reasonably distanced from each other, can face the proper direction, and are placed far enough away from you and your living space for safety, bees can be successfully kept on your balcony.
While bees can be kept on your balcony, it is important to remember beekeeping safety, specifically for beekeeping on a balcony. It is also necessary to be aware of the factors that can contribute to how successful or unsuccessful your beehives will be, especially if you are beekeeping on a balcony.
Is it Safe to Keep Bees on Your Balcony?
For safety purposes, beehives should always be placed about six feet away from your house or apartment so that they are not in harm’s way and are out of immediate contact with you, your pets, your family, or anyone else living in your home.
It is ideal if there is a sliding door that leads out to your balcony, or if you can create something that blocks the bees from flying into your home every time you open the door. It is smart to take actions that reduce the risk of the bees on your balcony from getting into your home. If there are at least six feet between your balcony door and the location where the bees are going to live, then you have a higher chance of keeping yourself safe while beekeeping on your balcony.
If you are going to have multiple beehives, you should place them about two feet apart. Beekeeping etiquette suggests that you need to keep at least two beehives instead of a singular one. Keeping two beehives ensures that both hives will have a queen, should something happen to one of the two. Most beginner beekeepers start by keeping two beehives and work their way up to more, but be mindful of the two-foot rule when adding more beehives to your balcony. Do not add more beehives if your balcony does not allow for two feet of space between each hive.
Beehives should be situated to face south or southeast so that the sun can reach the hives first thing in the morning. This sun exposure allows the bees to start gathering nectar sooner than if they could if they were in the shade. This is not an extremely detrimental factor, but if the layout of your balcony allows for options of the direction in which the beehives are facing, it is a great idea to face them towards the sunrise.
Luckily, bees can fly!
Because of their flying abilities, even balconies that are on high floors of apartment buildings can serve as a home for your beehives. Whether your balcony is on the second floor or the tenth floor, your beehives can be efficiently maintained.
However, you need to remember that bees will tend to fly very far away from their hives to find nectar. Beekeepers should understand that it takes six feet from the hive for the bees to be able to gain six feet in altitude. Therefore, the beehives need to be away from other objects that might surround your balcony, such as clothes lines or cables.
What Issues Can Arise From Keeping Bees On Your Balcony?
Now that you know that it is possible to properly and safely keep beehives on your balcony, it is important to know what problems balcony beekeeping might cause. An issue that balcony beekeeping might bring about is how it is going to affect your neighbors. What if your neighbors are allergic to bees or are uncomfortable with having beehives in close proximity to them? This is a possible problem that you could run into when raising bees on your balcony. You know your neighbors best, so maybe you can reach a compromise or work an agreement out with your neighbor to make them feel more comfortable with you having bees on your balcony.
Presumably, an individual who is keeping bees on their balcony is a bee lover who cares about prolonging the life of the insects and benefiting from all they have to offer, but other bee lovers might be opposed to the idea of beekeeping on a balcony. These opposing views could potentially create controversy with individuals who believe keeping bees on a balcony is wrong, even though it might be your only option.
Keeping bees can be exceptionally beneficial for the insects, the environment, the economy, and the beekeeper. Bees can pollinate plants, which will make both the bees and the plants healthier. Bees also like to pollinate nearby fruit trees, which supports the local economy. Bees produce honey and beeswax, two products that can become quite the money maker for the beekeeper.
Honey has wide-known uses in cooking and health benefits, and beeswax is great for use in beauty and cleaning products. Beeswax is profitable because it is a highly beneficial ingredient in lip balms, body lotions, candles, and many other products. Because of these perks, beekeepers can bottle and contain natural products from their bees for marketing and make money off of the hives that they have raised.
Humans need bees, and bees need humans. We need bees to help nourish our vegetation and agriculture industry. Bees need us to protect them and their hives from damaging pests and to help create the healthiest environments possible for them to thrive. Therefore, beekeeping is a multi-faceted valuable hobby, and in some cases, an inexpensive career to pursue that offers much more than monetary rewards.
Should You Keep Bees On Your Balcony?
Now that you know that you can absolutely conduct beekeeping on your balcony and a little bit about the benefits of becoming a beekeeper, if you are interested in beekeeping, now is the time to go for it. There are thousands of beekeeping organizations for people who are interested in beekeeping to join.
There are endless online associations and clubs that support the beekeeping community and serve as resources to help each beekeeper flourish in their beekeeping journey. Spending time and energy helping a natural process thrive with an insect that is in need of saving can be emotionally rewarding, self-fulfilling, goal-accomplishing, calming, and a form of stress relief.
The beekeeping community is full of passionate and knowledgeable beekeepers. Experienced beekeepers would love to welcome you to the world of beekeeping and help you get started. They can provide even more information and advice on how to keep bees successfully on your balcony.
There is much to be learned about bees, and beekeeping is a great way to learn about how bees function in their unique and specific society, how they interact with one another and the world they live in, and how these tiny insects communicate with each other in their own language, just like we communicate in ours.
Safety is always first, so be sure to be aware of the necessary precautions you should take, like placing beehives appropriately apart, far enough away from your immediate walkways, and hopefully in accordance with your neighbors and their preferences. Keep calm, and bee keep on, even on your balcony.