Roughly 100,000 bees were gently buzzing a few inches beneath me as I reclined atop a wooden bench inside a “bee hut” in rural Boulder County. I inhaled deeply and relaxed as I smelled the slightly sweet scent of honey mixed with the woodsy aroma of cedar.
For the next 30 or so minutes, it was just me and the bees, safely separated by a metal screen and the hut’s sturdy cedar planks. While I was meditating, the bees were busy flapping their wings to help dry out the newly made honey they’d deposited into the four hives below. When my session ended, I felt calm and rejuvenated.
The bee huts are the brainchild of Carolyn and Charlie Peterson, who own Capella Ranch on the outskirts of Lafayette. Since August 2022, they’ve welcomed visitors to their property for the chance to commune with their bees inside their two, custom-made cedar huts.
The huts are cleverly designed: On the north side, there’s a human-sized door for people to enter, take off their shoes and recline on an elevated, built-in bench among comfy pillows. On the south side, there are two horizontal slits about a foot off the ground that allow thousands of bees to enter and exit as they please. Their four hives are tucked directly below the built-in bench, meaning that whoever is resting inside can hear—and, very often, feel—the vibrations of these bustling yellow-and-black pollinators.
“It’s a nice guided meditation with nobody there—the bees are there, but you don’t have to have another human,” says Carolyn Peterson.
Why bee huts? The story begins roughly six years ago, when the Petersons first moved to the five-acre ranch and decided to take up beekeeping. They briefly dabbled in the honey business, but quickly realized how much time and energy that required.
After doing a little research and chatting with fellow bee aficionados, they learned about apitherapy, or the practice of using bees and their honey in an array of health and wellness practices. A subset of apitherapy involves simply breathing in the tiny, aerosolized particles of honey that float through the air as the bees dehydrate their honey from a roughly 70 percent water content down to 20 percent; beekeepers experience this all the time while tending to their hives.
“That evaporation is the vapor you’re breathing in, and there’s a noticeable particle count difference from outside to inside the hut,” says Carolyn Peterson.
That idea really resonated with the Petersons, who decided to dive right in and build two huts. They opened them up for booking for the first time late last summer and, so far, the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
“Some people go in totally stressed out, wait five to 10 minutes and then they’re sound asleep—one guy came out saying it was the best two-hour nap he’d ever had and he was only in there for 25 minutes,” says Carolyn Peterson. “Another person said it was like a psychedelic trip, that there was all this energy spiraling around her. Somebody said it was like doing an hour of hot yoga. It’s across the board.”
Try It Yourself
Make a 30-minute or 60-minute reservation online by visiting capellaranch.com/reserve-bee-hut. Appointments are available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from April through September, so long as the weather is warm enough for the bees; no walk-ins allowed. The ranch also has honey available for purchase.