urban beekeeping

Seattle sleuth

Whenever Seattle undercover beepeeker Tracey Bryne points her camera, she turns up fascinating sights. Today, she sent photos of her neighbors’ bee hive. She explains:

“For the past couple years, they’ve had bees move into their empty hive in the spring. This year, the swarm came, settled, flew in and out of the hive, and then started building comb UNDER the hive.”

Sure enough, an awesome hive now hangs from the balcony just below the empty Langstroth. The grid of the deck provides perfectly parallel comb guides, spaced exactly for honey bees. The balcony also provides diffuse sunlight, good ventilation, partial rain protection, and a nice view. What else could a honey bee ask for?

Thanks, Tracey, for spying on your neighbor . . . and don’t forget the updates. We want to know what happens next!



Provide a home and they will come . . . although they may not actually move in.


Maybe they preferred the view, or maybe that big open door was too scary.


Partial protection from the elements, but excellent ventilation.


Amazingly perfect comb guides . . . no wonder the bees couldn’t resist.


Sun or shade, whichever you like.


  • Wow! That would be so fun to watch. I have thought of making a super out of plexiglass so I can see what my bees are doing. But that is way better.

  • Oh man, this makes “brood nest” and “brood pattern” so easy to understand!
    Please continue to send followup stories!

  • Hard to defend from attack I would have thought. Crazy bees, wonder why they didn’t want to live in the box. Wouldn’t like to walk on that balcony, strong chance of a bee right up the trouser leg.

    • Julie,

      I don’t know, but honey bees in warm, dry climates do it that way. We’ve had an unusually warm and dry spring here in the Pacific Northwest, which probably brought out their repressed instincts. They would not like our usual spring weather.

  • Bees don’t seem to bother cats. I think it’s because cats are slow and don’t bounce around like dogs. My cats actually lay down in front of the hives and roll, or you will find them sleeping under the bee hive stands. Now, the dogs, they get it all the time because they just can’t keep their noses away from the entrance, they must like the smell of honey. The cats will also try to swat the bees as they come and go, too funny ! Sometimes you will see the bees make comb like this under the screened bottom boards. Bees tend to do what they want, when they want.

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