Apiculture (beehives and beekeeping)

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Apiculture is the science (and some say art) of raising honey bees, also know as beekeeping. Bees live together in groups called colonies and make their homes in beehives.

Tending a hive is not as easy as it may sound, although it can be a very rewarding experience. To start on the path of the apiculturist, all one needs is a beehive deed and an area with flowers and water.

Much of this information is compiled and made available by Harmbringer, and many others' help. There are in-game books currently located on top of the Youth Center, which can easily be copied and kept for reference.

Setting Up Your Beehives

You'll need a couple of things when you first set up your beehives:

Bee-Friendly Plants, must be one of these varieties and can be set to decorative:

  • Poppies, Lilies, Snowdrops, Campions
Plants can be obtained from player vendors, or grown yourself.

Water, can be present in a few different ways:

  • Water/Wine Pitchers, Water Troughs, Fountains
Pitchers of water can be bought at an inn, from a baker or bartender. These are the best to use as you can control access better.

Beehive Deeds

Available from Beekeepers, one just north of Skara Bank, there is another west of Brit Bank

When setting up your beehives, you can use 1 flower and 1 Pitcher for all hives, if the hives are set up where all beehives are within three tiles of the flower and water.

One Tile Tending

Bees can be set up in such a way that you can tend up to 22 Beehives from one location, as beehives can be tended up to two tiles away from you:

Tending 22 Beehives From 1 Tile
Beehive(BH) Open Tile(OT)

- This is where you would stand to tend the 22 beehives and set up your initial flower and water pitcher.

See here for more information on flower and water needs for later stages

Placing Beehives

  • To place a beehive, double click the deed and select where you would like the beehive to be placed.
Note: beehive deeds come with their own table. No need to make or buy one, just use as a regular deed, and the table is automatically placed with the hive.
  • Once the beehive is placed, it will do a Hive Growth Check at the next World Save.
    • Be sure to have your flower and water pitcher(F/P) placed. If you put your beehive down close to a world save without F/P, they will sometimes go [Empty] immediately - meaning you have to remove them and place them again. Usually, the hive ends up getting sickly or dying.

Removing Beehives

In order to remove (re-deed) a beehive, use an axe to chop down the beehive, it will go back to a deed in your pack.

If a beehive has produced resources, you will lose them when you re-deed a beehive. You'll also not be able to harvest from or interact with an [Empty] beehive, so once again the resources the hive has produced will be lost.

Beehive Stages

There are 3 distinct stages in a beehive's development:

Colonizing - the hive sends out scouts to survey the area and find sources of flowers and water.

Brooding - egg laying begins in full force as the hive gets ready to begin full scale production.

Producing - after a hive reaches maturity, it begins producing excess amounts of honey and wax.

Beehive Health

The health of a hive is measured in two ways: overall health and bee population.

Overall Health

Overall health offers an indication of the average bee's well being:

Thriving - the bees are extremely healthy. A thriving colony produces honey and wax at an increased rate.

Healthy - the bees are healthy and producing excess honey and wax.

Sickly - the bees are sickly and no longer producing excess resources.

Dying - if something isn't done quickly, bee population will begin to drop.

[Empty] - The bee population has left the hive, the hive is dead. The hive must be re-deeded, and all stockpiled resources are lost.


Bee population is a rough estimate of the number of bees in a hive. More bees does not always mean better for a large hive is more difficult to maintain. More water and flowers are needed in the area to support a large hive (the range a hive can check for flowers and water is increased as the hive gets larger). If the conditions get bad enough, a colony of bees will abscond, leaving an empty hive behind.

Hive Maximum Population

A single beehive can support up to 100 thousand (100k) bees. A thriving hive can last indefinitely.

Apiculture Gump

Managing and caring for the hive is done using the Apiculture gump. Almost every aspect of the hive can be monitored from here. Down the left side of the gump are the status icons:

Bee wax.png Production - this button brings up the production gump where the beekeeper can harvest the goods the hive has to offer.

Garden Infestation.png Infestation - a Red or Yellow Minus here means the hive is infested by parasites or other insects. Using poison potions will help kill the pests. If there is no minus next to the icon, it's fine.

Garden Disease.png Disease - a Red or Yellow Minus here means the hive is currently diseased. Using cure potions will help the bees fight off the sickness. If there is no minus next to the icon, it's fine.

Garden Water.png Water - this icon displays the availability of water in the area. Be warned, water breeds disease carrying bacteria, so too much water can make a hive more susceptible to disease.

Bee Flower.png Flowers - this icon provides an indication of the amount of flowers available to the hive. Bees use flowers and their by-products for almost every function of the hive including building and food. Too many flowers in the area, however, can bring the bees into contact with more parasites and insects.

Down the right side of the gump are the potion icons. See here for more information

Hive Growth Check

A hive's growth check is performed once a day during a world save. This is generally at the same time everyday, from the first world save time that your hive first experienced. This time can be altered with server restarts and resets. The upper right hand corner of the Apiculture gump displays the results of the last growth check:

Growth Check Symbols
Symbol Meaning
! Not Healthy
! Low Resources
- Population Decrease
+ Population Growth
+ Stage Increase/Resource Production

Tending Your Hives

Like any living thing, bees are susceptible to attacks from outside forces. Be it parasites or disease, the apiculturist has a plethora of tools at their disposal. You will generally have to use potions on each hive every day to maximize production and maintain proper hive health. You will want to use the following potions to combat the various maladies a beehive will encounter:

  • Potion Agility.png Greater Agility potions give the bees extra energy allowing them to work harder. This will boost honey and wax output as well as increase the range the bees can search for flowers and water.
They cannot be used until the hive is in Producing stage.
Starting at a placement of the hive, Greater Agility will increase the search range by +2 Tiles even though the GA potions will not be consumed until reaching 10k population.
The amount of Greater Cure or Greater Poison potions you will have to use will vary.
Red(-) = 2 Potions
Yellow(-)= 1 Potion
No Symbol near the icons = 0 Potion
  • Potion healing.png Greater Heal potions can be used to help heal the bees.
The amount of Greater Heal potions you will have to use will vary based on the Overall Health Status of your hive.
Dying = 3 Potions
Your hive will require a two day treatment - 2 Potions on the 1st day, 1 Potion on the 2nd.
Sickly = 2 Potions
Healthy = 1 Potion
Thriving = 0 Potions
  • Potion strength.png Greater Strength potions can be used to build up a hive's immunity to infestation and disease.

Note: You can only apply a maximum of 2 Potions per day for each type. When you click the potion icons, a honeycomb looking gump will appear with 2-6 red dots to click. Once all dots are clicked the potion is applied. The gump will pull potions directly from kegs or bottles if you are carrying them. Bottles filled with potions or a Keg must be in your backpack for you to tend to your beehives.

Flowers and Water

Search Range

This is the amount of tiles away from the beehive that the bees will travel to access flowers and water. Tiles refers to how many steps away you are, with the hive's current position being the 0th tile and the tile right next to it being the 1st tile and so forth.

  • Bees will ignore the Z-axis, so if you placed flowers within range on a floor below or above your beehives, they will access those.
  • Bees can use flowers and water from nearby houses, so be aware that if a neighboring house has flowers and water within a 14 tile range, your bees can use those as well.

Range by Stage & Population

  • 3 Tiles - Colonizing, Brooding Stage, up to 20k Bees.

For here on out, each 10k bees increases the search range by 1 tile:

  • 4 Tiles - 30k Bees
  • 5 Tiles - 40k Bees
  • 6 Tiles - 50k Bees
  • 7 Tiles - 60k Bees
  • 8 Tiles - 70k Bees
  • 9 Tiles - 80k Bees
  • 10 Tiles - 90k Bees

On the first day the hive reaches 100k, the search range will be 11 Tiles. There will be a Green + in the upper right hand corner to help determine this.

The Second day of 100k bee population, there should be a Blue + in the upper right hand corner. The search range will have reached its maximum range of 12 Tiles without Greater Agility.

Greater Agility will always add +2 Tiles to the search range starting at 10k Bees.

The overall maximum range that can be achieved is 14 tiles.

Amount of Flowers and Water

By adding additional flowers and water when necessary you will naturally get 7 Flowers and 3 pitchers at 100k population. Regardless of the amount of hives you have, you'll only need 7 Flowers and 3 Pitchers total, if all hives are within range of them, as hives will shares these sources.

To determine whether or not the amount of flowers and water is excessive or lacking you can view the symbol near the flower and/or water icons on the beehive gump:

Flower and Water Pitcher Symbols
Bee Flower.pngGarden Water.png
Symbol Meaning
X No Access
- Needs More
Perfect Amount
+ Slight Excess
+ Huge Excess

There will be no symbol near the icon if there is a perfect amount of Flowers or Water are available to the hive.

If a hive has a deficiency of flowers/water during their growth stage, they will not increase population.

Wax and Honey


Applying 2 Greater Agility potions will increase the amount of wax and honey that hive produces per Growth Check, if the hive doesn't fail to produce. As the hive grows in size, more resources will be produced per growth check. Application of Greater Agility is best started at around 30k+ bees, when the amount of resources produced has increased.

With more than 25 Hives, many hives will fail to produce. Many people lower their hive amounts to 24, as less hives fail in comparison to keeping 25 hives. Read here for a complete discussion on beehive amounts: Bee Data

Note: Bees can be tended to by Alt Characters, or other players, but this will only maintain hive health. When bees are tended to by a character that does not own the house in which the hives are placed, they will not produce wax or honey, nor will the hive grow in population.


You may harvest 2 items from your beehives:

  • Honey (3 Honey + 1 bottle = 1 Jar of Honey)
For each jar of honey, 1 Hive Tool use is used.
  • Beeswax (You will have to render your raw beeswax in order to sell or craft with it)
All the beeswax is extracted with 1 Hive Tool use. For this reason, some people wait until the hive is full of beeswax to extract.
Rendering raw beeswax also deposits the impurities from the raw beeswax, known as "Slumgum".

The hive can hold a maximum of 255 per resource.

Required Tools
  • Hive Tool - To extract both beeswax and honey.
  • Small Wax Pot - To render your raw beeswax into pure beeswax.
Both are available from Beekeepers

Using Resources

Honey is used in some Cooking recipes, but more often is sold back to Beekeepers.

You must purchase a 10-use wax tool from the gold stone in Trinsic for 10,000gp, in order to craft with the beeswax related items below:

  • Resources
Candle Wick, Dipping Stick
  • Candles
  • Fruit Bowls
  • Plants
Poinsettias,Topiary, Potted Plants
  • Statues
Wax Bust, Color Wax Bust
  • Miscellaneous
Wall Sconce, Royal Hive Boots, Royal Hive Robe, Magic Medallion

Pet Leashes and Enchanted Pet Leashes also require beeswax to make, but are crafted with a Pet Brush.

Beehive Changes on Oct 6 2011

Bee Hibernation

There is a way to hibernate your bees for a vacation mode using an item known as pine needles. This method (added on December, 21 2011) may be updated in the future.

Currently, it works as follows:

From the blue Trinsic token stone, purchase pine needles, a stack of 10 costs 10,000 tokens. Buy as many pine needles as you need for each of your hives. For example, if you have 25 hives, you will need to buy 3, 10 stacks of pine needles and it will cost you 30,000 tokens, and you will have 5 pine needles left over.

At your house, click the pine needles and then click the TABLE part of the hive, not the rounded hive itself, and it will put your bees to sleep for 24 hours. You can add additional pine needles to the same hive to extend the vacation timer for 24 hours per pine needle application.

Example: If you need to go on vacation for 1 week and you have 20 hives, you will need 140 pine needles (140k tokens). And then, you simply need to apply 7 needles to each hive for a full week of hibernation. So, instead of coming back to dying bees with lower population, they will still be 100k when they wake up. And, of course, while sleeping, the bees do not produce any resources.

Again, be very careful to select the bee's table with the pine needles and not the hive. If you select the hive cone, it may apply the hibernation status to the hive next to it instead of the hive you intended to put into hibernation.

The side benefit of the pine needles is that putting your bees in hibernation mode will sync them to the same timer.

External Links

A mini guide with pictures.
Apiculture post on RunuUO forums