What Is A Honey House? An Essential Guide

Stacks of supers in a honey house next to an extractor

Hobbyist beekeepers may prefer to extract honey inside the house, but it’s not ideal. Honey and wax get everywhere, and stray bees usually find their way into your home.

Beekeepers with the available space and budget will greatly benefit from a separate area for honey extraction. This guide looks at honey houses, why you need one, and their setup considerations.

What is a honey house?

A honey house is a dedicated space where beekeepers extract honey from its comb and prepare it for sale or consumption. It contains equipment for extracting and filtering honey and can also be used for storing and packaging the finished product.

Beekeepers may use the area to repair and assemble hive equipment and render beeswax.

Do I need a separate building for a honey house?

The decision to have a honey house will depend on several factors, including:

Scale of operation: Small-scale apiaries may be able to process honey in a home kitchen or a spare room. Commercial operations and sideliners selling honey may legally require a purpose-built honey house.

Space availability: If you have the room, a separate honey area offers convenience, keeping your house cleaner in the process.

Budget: Building a separate structure can be costly. If budget is a concern, using a space already available may be more economical.

Workers smiling at the camera as they work next to a honey extractor in a honey house processing facility
Commercial honey houses efficiently process a lot of honey.

Pros and cons of a honey house

Carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages of honey houses before investing in one.


  • Protection: An enclosed space offers protection from yellowjackets and aggressive bees.
  • Efficiency: Setting up equipment to enhance a productive workflow is easier in a room designed for honey processing.
  • Storage space: A honey house is a helpful spot to store beekeeping equipment and tools.
  • Regulatory compliance: Some towns have regulations for honey processing facilities.
  • Separation of work/personal life: Some beekeepers prefer keeping their work separate from home life.
  • Hygiene: An environment free from pets and kids is more appropriate for larger apiaries.


  • Cost: The construction, maintenance, and ongoing costs related to utilities, taxes, and insurance.
  • Regulations: Zoning laws may restrict the construction of new buildings, and permits are a time-consuming process.
  • Logistics: While your kitchen may be near the bee yard, a honey house may be in another location requiring logistical consideration.

What should a honey house include?

Before planning a honey house, it’s good practice to determine exactly what equipment, supplies, and tools you’ll use. That will give a better understanding of space requirements.

Consider including these supplies:

  1. Sink with hot running water
  2. Cleaning supplies like rags, paper towels, spatulas, and mild soap.
  3. Suitable electrical supply
  4. Honey extractor
  5. Sturdy table to place equipment on
  6. Metal sieve for straining honey
  7. Food-safe bucket with a honey gate
  8. Honey refractometer
  9. Fans and dehumidifier
  10. Weighing scales
  11. Uncapping knife and fork
  12. Uncapping tank
  13. Drop cloths or paper to keep surfaces clean

Honey house planning considerations

Before getting started with a bee house plan, it is essential to consider your budget and what size building is required. Think about the future output of the apiary rather than what it currently produces.

Always check building codes and zoning regulations to avoid any future headaches. Consulting neighbors on your plans is also strongly advised.

The proposed location should be easily accessible, with proper drainage, electricity, and water availability. It should also be well away from dust sources, strong odors, and disposal sites.

Locating a honey house near the beekeeper’s home offers convenience and the ability to share utilities. But the two must be located separately if someone in the home has bee allergies.

How to layout a honey house

There are many approaches to designing a honey house. The larger the operation, the greater the need for an efficient flow. A good honey house will avoid double-handling and minimize bottlenecks in the process.

The U-Flow layout is simple and efficient – frames enter the house and follow a U-shaped path.

Below is a simple diagram showing the setup for a small apiary. For more extensive operations, an advanced design will improve efficiencies.

A diagram explaining a U-Flow honey house
Diagram of a U-Flow honey house setup.

Building components

Floors: Concrete floors make sense in a honey house as they’re durable and easy to clean. Consider adding a sealed coating to help keep the space sanitary.

Walls: Construct walls with a durable material that’s easy to clean. You’ll have ample working room if the ceiling is 10-12 feet high. Increasing the height further allows space to stack more hive bodies.

Coving: While not a concern for hobbyist beekeepers, commercial apiaries may need a flexible sealant where the floor and walls meet.

Do I need to build a honey house?

For small hobbyist beekeepers, investing in a standalone honey house usually won’t be worth the expense. But if you have an old shed or some spare space in an existing building, you could repurpose it.

Beekeepers with a growing yard will find having a purpose-built area for extraction significantly increases production efficiency.

Those looking to sell their honey and other resources should check the legal requirements in their town.

Quick tips for honey houses

  • Plan the equipment layout before planning the honey house to get a clear understanding of the room that is needed.
  • Small hobbyists on a budget may find a 40-foot container doubles as an excellent honey house.

Commonly asked questions

How much space does a honey house require?

The required space will depend on the number of hives and the type of equipment you intend to use in the honey room. As a ballpark guide, 150 square feet should offer sufficient room for a small apiary. There is an interesting discussion on Beesource you can also check out.

Can I extract outside?

While some beekeepers process honey outdoors, we do not recommend this practice. The honey’s aroma will quickly attract every bee and wasp to your location. You’ll have to deal with swarms of stinging insects.

What temperature should a honey house be?

A hotter temperature helps with honey extraction but also makes working uncomfortable. It is best to raise the temperature to 100F for 1-2 days before extraction, then turn it down during production.

If you enjoyed this article, check out our guide to the best options for honey extractors. We reveal some excellent units ranging in type, price, and capacity.

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