Host a Hive
Hive hosts are at the center of the work we do - and our favorite part! Without you and your neighbors, we couldn't provide neighborhood honey or help our local bee population.
A hive host provides space for at least two hives in their backyard, which we tend, and in return receives a credit in our store (for honey, candles, and beekeeping supplies/classes) and the knowledge that they’re helping the bees and pollinating their neighborhood. We do all of the required maintenance, harvesting, etc., so the host can simply enjoy the bees.
Interested in being a hive host? Read the details below and then fill out our Hosting Application.
All residential and commercial hosting plans include:
- 2 hives. We feel that 2 hives is the minimum size for a healthy, sustainable apiary, and is also a good number that will fit any host yard. Many other hosting services charge extra for a second hive. More hives are available for an additional fee if desired, and if your location is right (if we believe the extra bees won't be a nuisance to you or your neighbors).
- Rainy Day Bees premium management plan. We love our bees (and you will too), but sometimes their natural inclinations can interfere with our hosts' or their neighbors' lifestyles. To mitigate any negative interactions, we go above and beyond other hosting services and provide:
- Intensive management to prevent swarming. Weather permitting, we inspect our hosts' hives once a week throughout the primary swarming season for signs that the bees are getting ready to swarm. If swarm preparations are found, manipulations are immediately performed to prevent the swarm. We can't guarantee 100% swarm prevention on all hives, but we're pretty good at it! If we do miss a swarm, we will come out to get it immediately when you or your neighbor calls to let us know.
- Ongoing management throughout the year for health and swarm prevention. Outside of the primary swarming season, all hives are inspected every other week during the active season to make sure that the bees are healthy and that off-season swarm preparations haven't been initiated. Hives are checked once a month during the cold months to make sure that they have sufficient food to make it through to spring.
- A bee and pollinator friendly water source. Bees need water too, and sometimes they will choose a source that is inconvenient for hosts or neighbors, such as a pool, dog bath, or fountain. By providing a dependable water source in the host's yard, the chances of the bees foraging for water in inconvenient places is reduced. As a bonus, the water source is available for butterflies and other local pollinators too!
- Optional upgrade: Mini pond, set up, planted, and maintained by Rainy Day Bees with pollinator friendly and/or food plants (requires electricity)
- Invitation to our annual harvest party. You love bees, we love bees. We host a party for our hive hosts, hive sponsors, and neighbors once a year to celebrate the bees, the harvest, and each other.
- Paying your beekeeper. Hosting fees go directly to whoever is doing the work on your hives. Rainy Day Bees does not keep any profits from host fees. We only make money on your yard if your hives produce a honey harvest. But thanks to you, our hosts, we know that we will at least be able to pay your beekeepers.
Standard Residential Hosting
Additional Standard Residential Hosting benefits:
- $100 credit for anything on our store, also usable at farmer's markets
- Quarterly Bee/Host updates
Standard Residential Hosting costs:
- Annual pricing review in progress
Premium Residential Hosting
Additional Premium Residential Hosting benefits:
- $150 credit for anything on our store, also usable at farmer's markets (replaces $100 credit)
- Hive monitoring system, reporting weight, temperature, and humidity
- Personalized hive report sent monthly with notes from your primary beekeeper, hive statistics, and graphs generated from your hive monitoring system. And interpretation of those graphs, of course.
- Optional upgrade: $200 for private beekeeping experience in your backyard for up to 6 people. Beekeeping equipment provided by Rainy Day Bees ($600 value at market rate)
- Optional upgrade: email us for pricing for your own, private label, single origin estate honey. You get to keep all of the honey from your hives. Also available custom labeled in your choice of jars.
Premium Residential Hosting costs:
- Annual pricing review in progress.
Residential Hive Sponsorship
- For those who can't host themselves, but want to support our urban bees and beekeepers.
- Your sponsorship will be directly credited to hosts who can't afford the standard hosting fee, but have space and want bees
- Gift bag dependent on sponsorship level
- Harvest party invitation
- More information on sponsorship available here.
Commercial hosting cost: bid by location
Have a commercial building where you want bees? We can place and manage hives for you. All contracts are customized and bid individually, based on the client's location and needs.
Farm hosting is done as a direct land for pollination trade. Farm hosts provide us with a roughly 40x40 area for bee hives in exchange for increased pollination of their crops. The site must be accessible by pickup truck in all seasons, and not in a flood plain. 1 gallon of honey will be provided in a jug for personal use. Additional honey can be purchased at a reduced price for your farm store/CSA if desired. We will custom bottle and label it for you.
Do you have space to devote to 2+ hives? We recommend a minimum of an 8x12 foot area with very low to no daily pedestrian traffic. The hives themselves will take up roughly 2x2 feet each (plus a little space for the beekeepers to work), and it is best to give the bees a 10 foot "runway" in front of the hives to reach cruising altitude above people's heads. If you don't quite have that space, there are ways to reduce the space in front of the hive and get the bees flying above head level sooner if necessary.
Does the location get at least half day sun? In and around Seattle, honey bees like as much heat/sun as they can get, because it allows them to start foraging earlier, and stay out later. Sunlight and heat also help prevent diseases. Less than half-day sun isn't a total deal breaker, but the more sun we can get the bees, the better it is for everyone.
Is the location easily accessible without having to pass through any building, and in all seasons? Beehives take regular maintenance and we want to be able to service them without disturbing you or your family.
- Are you or any of your family known to be allergic? Honey bees don’t like to sting, and severe honey bee allergies are actually relatively rare (normal localized swelling around the site of a sting is not an allergy). Still, if you or your family are allergic to honey bees, you are probably not a good candidate for being a hive host unless you have a very large property where the bees can be placed in a completely unused area.
If you are interested in being a Hive Host, please fill out our Application Form. We ask for all hive hosts to make a one year commitment to hosting, with the understanding that circumstances (e.g. allergic reaction, neighbor relations, etc.) may require the removal of the bees from the host site prior to the end of the year.
”I just love watching the bees! They are so calming.” - Rainy Day Bees Hive Host