Beekeeping is a rewarding, enviromentally beneficial hobby to take part in. Not only do you help the world continue to function by harboring little pollenators, you also get the enjoy the fruits of their labor! Think of Honey as a little “thank you” gift for keeping your bees happy and healthy. (Just make sure they dont go hungry!)
If you arnt lucky enough to live in an area where you have access to lots of land, it might seem like you’ll never be able to explore the world of beekeeping.
Well, that’s not true!
There are several ways to raise bees in an suburban, or even urban enviroment. There are several options available to a Beekeeper with limited space, such as indoor Beekeeping, wall mounted hives, and mason jar beekeeping to name a few.
Mason jars can be used to keep bees when you don’t have enough space for a traditional beehive. It’s one of the easiest and most space-efficient methods to keep bees with restricted room.
The technique is very simple as the bees will use the mason jars to make honeycombs. Once the mason jars are filled with honey, you can take the honeycombs out, harvest your honey and start again.
With time, things we’ll get easier for you and your bees. One of the benefits of this method is that it’s very simple and cheap. Regardless of the level of your experience, you can do this if you have mason jars, some wood, and bees.
How Can You Keep Bees in Mason Jars?
Honey supers are artificial structures that are used to collect honey, just like beehives. When you’re beekeeping honey in mason jars, you’re not trying to create a hive in the jar. It will be an extension to the honey supers.
You can get bees from a nearby farm. Search online for the nearest one and make sure that you’re choosing a trustworthy supplier for healthy bees. Here is what you’ll need in order to start beekeeping.
- Pieces of wood to build a frame for your mason jars.
- Wood screws.
- Wide-mouth mason jars.
The number of wood pieces and jars depends on the number of bees you want to keep.
There’s more than one way you can start building your mason jar beehive. The idea is to build a structure that would cover the hive like a box.
A little bit of woodwork is necessary so you can start collecting honey.
- Cut a piece of thick plywood then assemble 4 pieces around it to create the shape of a frame.
- Screw everything together.
- Use a mason jar lid to trace the mouth of the jar on the plywood.
- Use a hole saw to cut through the wood. Make sure that the hole isn’t too big.
- Make more holes for the number of jars you want to keep.
- Set a bottom board, followed by the brood box then the Queen excluder at the top. This will allow the worker bees to pass through the screen but not the bigger ones.
- Attach the wood pieces to make a frame. Keep the plywood with holes on top.
- Arrange the mason jars and make sure that they’re supported with some shims so they don’t sag once they’re full with honey.
To get the bees to work, you have to fill the jar with empty combs. The bees take some time to figure things out, but once they do, they’ll start filling your mason jars with honey. You need to make sure that the combs contain some honey to help your bees survive during winter.
In this alternative design, you’ll cut a thick piece of plywood and create holes for mason jars just like the first design.
- Arrange the mason jars in the plywood.
- For this structure, you don’t need a queen excluder. You’ll arrange the jars on top of a box of honey supers.
- Cover the mason jars with an empty honey super, to make sure that they’re enclosed from all sides.
- Put the lid of the beekeeping box on top. This will guarantee that bees won’t build their hives between the jars.
Tips for Beekeeping in Mason Jars
Here are some tips to help you with your new hobby.
- Your jars lack proper ventilation and will get hot easily. For best results, you should keep the jars away from sunlight.
- Make sure that the bees aren’t allowed between the jars. They might decide that it’s easier to build their hive this way.
- Always tempt the bees to get into the jar using an empty comb.
- It takes time and the first weeks are always the hardest.
- Avoid lifting the jars while the bees are still building the wax. However, jars get filled with honey fast and you should make sure not to keep them for long.
What are the Advantages of Keeping Bees in a Mason Jar?
This beekeeping method comes with several benefits.
- Anyone with the right components can build a beehive in a mason jar.
- Harvesting honey is much easier because the combs are confined into the jar. You just pick the jar while it’s filled with honey and extract the honey from the comb.
- This design minimizes the stress on the bee colony.
- Robber bees can’t gain access to the honey in the jar.
- This design makes better use of the existing hives because you’ll put the jars on top of the existing frames.
- It’s a cost-efficient way to harvest more honey without having to build an entire beehive from scratch.
Wherever you live and no matter how inexperienced you are, you can easily keep your bees in a mason jar. Make sure that the jars are cleaned and sanitized before you keep bees inside them. Things might be a bit challenging at the beginning, but they will get easier with time.