We all know how important those busy little insects, the honeybees, are to our flowers and fruits and vegetables, not to mention the delicious honey they produce. But would you ever want a beehive in your bedroom?
Today on “You Can Grow It”, garden master Jim Duthie introduces us to a 12-year-old bee enthusiast who has one in his bedroom, and after you see this, you just might want one in yours, too.
There are lots of amateur beekeepers in Idaho, but their beehives are always outdoors, way out in the backyard, or in a field. So when Ryan Tucker’s mom asked me if I’d be interested in checking out her 12-year-old son’s beehive, I thought, what could be so special about another beehive. Then she told me that it was inside his bedroom. So I decided that this was something I had to see, and I think you’ll want to see it too.
“My name’s Ryan Tucker. I’m 12 years old. And this is my indoor beehive.”
Ryan is a typical seventh grader, except that he has a passion for honeybees. So much so, that he wanted a way to observe them all the time.
So he and his dad built this indoor observation hive in his bedroom.
“It’s 180 degrees and it can go all the way around.”
“Then down here we have the tube. So that leads outside.”
A few years ago, Ryan and his dad saw an indoor observation hive on the internet, but it was very expensive.
“So we decided to make our own by looking off of video and having they guy tell us, and we made it for like a fraction of the price. Super cheap compared to the ones buying online.”
Ryan’s interest in bees started when he was about eight years old.
“I heard they were becoming extinct and I was wanting to do my part, so I started out at the library with my mom and I found a bee book and I thought, 'Oh, this would be interesting to read.'"
“So I started reading it and I got so interested that these small insects can do so much for our world, like pollinate flowers and all that and feed us. So that’s how I got started.”
A family friend, who is a beekeeper, began teaching Ryan about bees and beehives, and eventually set up a hive in Ryan’s backyard.
“So that’s what really got me all started. And my mom thought when I first got stung that I wanted to quit, but I didn’t.”
“Getting stung isn’t that bad, just a little pinch. It’s not bad at all.”
The indoor hive is made of a wooden frame covered with clear plexiglass to allow you to see the bees inside, much like an ant farm.
It’s mounted on the wall near a sunny window, and pivots to be visible from both sides. The hive contains about 22,000 bees, including the queen that lays up to 2,000 eggs each day.
“She’s right there. That’s the queen right there.”
The bees move through a clear tube that leads outside at the bottom of the second floor window.
An attached jar filled with sugar water provides an additional source of food for the bees.
On the wall next to the hive is a large chart that Ryan uses to teach people about bees.
“Friends, neighbors, they come in and ask a lot of questions, so I can actually tell them off this chart and they can read it for themselves, too.”
So how did Ryan’s mom feel about having an active beehive in the house?
“She wasn’t full on the idea. So we told her more about the plexiglass and vents, and then she was kind of on board, but now she’s fully on board with it.”
“The YouTube channel is for teaching people about the hive and getting them interested. And the Facebook’s for selling. We’re going to sell these, the indoor observation hives, and we’re going to be selling our lip balm.”
Ryan’s also been working on a design for a different kind of observation hive that will resemble a real tree or tree stump, more like a natural beehive. He’s got design sketches drawn on his closet mirror doors.
“It just looks cooler than the plain little box or just this, it just looks more fun.”
Meanwhile, he’ll keep making plans for the future.
“I want this for a career, my future job, and I want to get people interested.”
“I’d say it’s a really fun hobby.”
Ryan hopes to grow his business selling lip balm and other products, and plans to keep operating that business when he eventually goes to college to earn a business degree. Until then, he’ll enjoy watching his bees from the comfort of his own bedroom.