cedar beehive

Bees have been having a hard time the last few years. The jury’s still out on the cause of “colony collapse” and the alarming number of bees dying off, but what we do know is that we can all do our part in saving the vital pollinating insect. We were amazed to learn that hardworking bees are to thank for 80 percent of all the pollination in the world.

So, how can we help, you ask? Well, there are a few ways,  whether it’s setting up backyard hives, planting bee-friendly flowers like borage or banishing insecticides from your property.

That one reason why the Cedar Beehive Kit at Beethinking.com caught our eye.

The sturdy, natural boxes are milled in Portland, Oregon, using kiln-dried Western Red Cedar. Beethinking explains that cedar boxes are more durable than traditional common-white-pine hives, and they also weigh less. If you do have a classic Langstroth hive, no worries—the cedar drawers can be used with that design, too, for a handy mix-and-match.

If you’ve always thought about beekeeping and just never knew how to start, Beethinking’s got you covered. The company has pulled together the essential items any novice beekeeper will need.

beekeeper kit

Please don’t be offended that the Beginner’s Kit ($359) includes the informative Complete Idiot’s Guide to Beekeeping book—we’ve all got to start somewhere!

You’ll also receive one of those cool hats with the ghostly veil to keep your face bee-free. Just imagine yourself as an old-timey beekeeper, following in the footsteps of people who’ve mastered the ancient craft over the years.

The set includes gloves, too, to protect your hands when you’re pulling out frames of honey or working with the bees, and a stainless-steel smoker, a brush and a hive tool (okay, we’re not sure what a hive tool is, but we haven’t read the Complete Idiot’s Guide yet).

Once you’re all geared-up, you’ll be able to use your three red cedar boxes, which include 30 frames, an inner and an outer cover, a cedar bottom board, and tung oil for applying to the wood to protect it from the elements.

warre beehive

Beethinking has other styles of hives, too. The Warre ($284 assembled) looks unusual and will no doubt be a talking point for your visitors. We’re sure your new bee friends will enjoy their fancy home, with a quilt box with canvas and shredded cedar. Sounds cozy.

top bar beehive

The Top Bar hive ($444 assembled) looks like a natural-wood barbecue grill and is very different from the traditional vertical boxes we’re used to seeing. Beethinking has a handy online guide to choosing your hive. It explains that the Top Bar version is “rising in popularity for backyard beekeepers due to its simplicity, ease of access, no heavy lifting, and few accessories required.” All you have to do to harvest the honey is lift the lid to access the combs.

Want to learn more about bees before committing to a hive? Check out Modern Farmer‘s guide to beekeeping, which discusses colony collapse, city regulations for urban beekeeping, and more.