You may not know this about us but for the past few years, we have been keeping bee hives indoors for fun and health-related issues. So far we’ve been successful keeping them off-camera when we record our Bookmark shows.
All this started back in San Francisco, where in the spring, Julie would get severe allergy attacks and JP had difficulty dealing with hay fever. Quite by accident, we found that by ingesting large amounts of honey, in our teas, in our coffee, drizzled on our food, especially desserts (yum!), our health improved.
While we had been experiencing the great benefits of locally harvested honey, we also had a very serious bee problem inside our apartment. When we opened the windows, swarms of bees came in from a neighboring hive and it took hours to coax them back outside.
After weeks and weeks of this, we decided, well, if you can’t beat them, we may as well join them. As we were letting them buzz around our living room, swatting them away while we ate dinner or watch a movie, we asked ourselves, “How can we make the most of this situation?”
Locally harvested honey from the store is very expensive. But, it has become a necessary component in our life. We simply cannot live without the honey’s healing benefits.
Then we came across an article about an 11 year old Texas girl who signed an $11 million contract with Whole Foods to sell her honey infused lemonade. That’s when it dawned on us. We should harvest our own honey! But honestly, although there were a bunch of trendy restaurants with bee hives on their roof tops, signaling out their support for sustainability goals, we really just had our health in mind when we started all this. But who knows, maybe we’ll start selling jars of “book of ours honey” sometime in the future.
For us, raising bees indoors, especially in an urban setting, just makes complete sense. The biggest issue we’ve found is the difficulty of growing bee-friendly plants like sage and lavender inside, since these types of plants just prefer an outdoor garden. Even after three winter seasons, we’re still working through some kinks and issues with the bees in our new home in Pittsburgh.
Here is a picture of JP in his suit.
In light of the events of this past year, we have decided to name all the worker bees, “Truth.” We are so proud of our worker bees and how they have kept the hive humming. However, our Queen Bee is difficult and combative. She is constantly trying to undermine the hive. We named her AOC.
On the other hand we named the drone bees “Covid.” They are disruptive to the efficiency of the hive and all the Truth bees are constantly trying to push the Covids away. Things can get a little testy around here, especially when we are trying to watch a movie or work on a video. They really hate having the lights on after dark.
Overall though, this has been a rewarding and healthful hobby. I think more people should have indoor urban hives in their apartments, flats and houses. Unlike our former home San Francisco, which although had a wide range of micro climates, the weather was fairly consistent all year round and the bees could go out and collect what they needed all day all year long. Despite the consistent weather, we kept our hives indoors for space reasons. San Francisco is a very densely populated city and not many people have back yards.
However, in Pittsburgh, with the cold weather lasting up to six months, it made complete sense to us to bring the hives inside at least for the winter, where they are dependent on what we grow inside. Here, we have a back yard and move the bees outdoors in the spring and summer months where they have more room to stretch out and collect what they need to maintain a healthy hive.
We feel that this is not only a great hobby but that everyone should do this and bee as bee-fanatical as we are!
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I love the names you gave the bees!