Can You Keep Bees Inside for Winter? What Should You Do?

It is critical to successfully care for bees during the chilly winter season in order to have a productive production year in the spring. As a result, beekeepers employ a variety of strategies and equipment to assist their honey bee colonies in surviving the winter. One of these approaches is to confine bees within structures over the winter. Today, we ( will look at keeping bees inside for the winter and using greenhouses to keep bees warm.

Why do beekeepers keep bees indoors during the winter?

More beekeepers have adopted the approach in recent years. Temperature control is one of the aspects that makes it beneficial for successfully keeping bees indoors. Other technologies, such as carbon dioxide management, are also used in these bee dwelling constructions.

  • Mite Control

The reason beekeepers are wintering bees indoors is to ensure that the colony is free of brood. The length of time the colony goes without brood varies and can be effective in mite control. This is due to the fact that Varroa mites require the presence of a brood in order to reproduce. When there is no bee brood, the mite population in the beehive decreases dramatically.

  • Enhance queen laying

Beekeepers that keep their queen bees indoors over the winter have noticed improved laying behavior. The queen bee does not lay eggs in the cold storage sheds for some time. The queen bee’s longevity is thought to be increased by a respite from laying eggs. When the honey bee colony is removed from its indoor winter refuge in the spring, the queen bee begins producing numerous eggs, rapidly increasing the colony’s population.

Can You Keep Bees Inside for Winter

Factors to consider when keeping bees indoors?

When it comes to wintering bees indoors, there are various variables to consider. These elements are as follows:

  • Maintain the cleanliness of the beehive.

Cleanliness protects honey bee colonies free of diseases brought on by filthy environments. It is preferable if the bees can fly without leaving the interior environment. Furthermore, the beekeeper should make an attempt to remove deceased bees from the beehive. You should remove dead bees on a regular basis to avoid encouraging microbial growth in the beehive.

  • Temperature control

Temperatures just above freezing point are ideal. At this temperature, honey bees go into hibernation. When the temperature rises above a certain threshold, the bees become overly active. Later in the winter, such a colony would starve. If you let the temperature of the interior wintering shed to fall too low, the honey bee colonies may freeze and perish.

  • Light control

It is best to keep the indoor winter room dark. Bees can navigate better in the dark than they do in the light. If you absolutely must have lighting in the room, use it just for inspection and management of the wintering honey bee colonies. If at all possible, utilize the red light. It has no effect on honey bees.

  • Ventilate

Even when kept inside for the winter, honey bees require oxygen. The space in which they are winter should be ventilated to bring in oxygen-rich air and remove carbon-dioxide-laden air. Beehives with honey bee colonies should also have vents to allow circulating fresh air to enter the beehive.

The benefits and drawbacks of wintering bees indoors.


  • As an indoor wintering facility, you can use any available structure of sufficient size, sheds and other structures. When measured against the possible benefits to the beekeeping enterprise, the various systems required for space management are also not prohibitively expensive to purchase and install.
  • You can regulate the temperature at which the honey bees spend the winter.
  • By wintering bees indoors, you can monitor them without exposing them to the cold of winter. There will also be fewer inspection visits to the beehives.
  • The honey bee colony’s chances of survival are considerably boosted by being indoors. You obtain additional colonies that are vigorous and healthy in the spring.
  • Indoor wintering eliminates the need to purchase equipment such as insulating wraps, covers, and individual beehive heating systems. This significantly reduces the expense of your beekeeping operation.


  • Any mishaps or failures in the indoor beekeeping space can be disastrous for the entire honey bee colony.
  • Honey bees that leave their beehives in indoor wintering areas may become disoriented. Due to navigational faults, some cannot find their way back into the beehive.
  • The beekeeper must find a delicate balance between allowing the bees to leave the beehive on warm days and risking the bees contracting diseases and conditions while wintering.

Can You Keep Bees Inside for Winter

>>> Read more: Top 10 Best Mason Bee Houses – Review And Buying Guide

Overwintering bees in a Greenhouse

Several beekeepers have recommended using greenhouses to keep bees inside over the winter. Because of its warmth, the greenhouse construction is appealing. It offers an alternative that many beekeepers believe will significantly boost the odds of their honey bee colonies surviving winter.

Guidelines for overwintering bees in a greenhouse

  • You should turn off the lights of the greenhouse or replace them with red lights. If the surroundings are completely dark then honey bees are not excited to fly around.
  • You should install a ventilation system to let fresh air in while exhausting stinky air.
  • This is due to the fact that the individual colonies’ honey supplies are depleted throughout the long wintering period. The beekeeper must feed the honey bees in order for them to survive the winter.
  • You should remove the overwintered honey bees from the greenhouse once the weather has calmed in the spring. The colony is allowed to adjust to the warm spring temperatures and begin raising brood to increase its population.
  • For overwintering honey bees, airflow, ventilation, and temperature regulating systems must be built in the greenhouse. The three mechanisms work together to ensure that honey bees remain dormant yet do not die from the cold. Temperatures between 4 and 10 degrees Celsius are ideal for overwintering honey bee colonies.

Greenhouses pose a cons

  • Since greenhouses require refrigeration, beekeepers can expect to pay very high electricity costs.
  • Honey bee colonies in greenhouses are not suitable for conservationist beekeepers. The goal of conservation beekeeping is to keep bees in their natural environment. Using a greenhouse to overwinter the bees contradicts this major goal and feature of conservation beekeeping.
  • To save the colony, the beekeeper must feed it. This increased cost of feeding reduces your beekeeping operation’s revenues. When it is excessive, you may suffer losses.


It is critical in beekeeping to assist honey bees in surviving the winter. It has many different ways to do it, including indoor beekeeping. Structures for this purpose ensure that bees stay active while not depleting food sources too soon. Winterizing bees is simple for both novice and professional beekeepers. You can experience it on your own swarm.

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