October 19, 2016


Warre and top bar hives now available in sugar pine!


It’s illogical to harm the forests while on a quest to help bees. Until recently, the privilege of owning a sustainable pine hive at a moderate price was fiction. That’s why when we introduced our FSC Certified pine Langstroth hive, we saw a new boom of interest. Not only are beekeepers concerned about bees, they are interested in responsibly crafted hives made from ethically grown and forested lumber--resources that don’t harm the very land and vegetation the bees foster.

We are excited to announce that our Warre and Top Bar Hives are now available for pre-order in beautiful FSC-certified Sugar Pine. Pre-order today and receive 20% off top bar or Warre hives in either wood option! 

pine warre and top bar hives

 Not only does our Sugar Pine stay true to our core value of sustainability, but it is also a strong and handsome wood that makes excellent beehives for your yard or apiary. With small and infrequent knots, Sugar Pine is strong and offers great insulation for your bees.

Warre and Top Bar Hives offer numerous advantages for beekeepers. Mainly, neither of these hive models require extremely heavy lifting, making them much more accessible options for folks of all ages and abilities. The Top Bar Hive is extremely easy to manage and steward, though it needs more frequent inspections during spring and summer, and the Warre Hive was designed specifically for a certain philosophy of hands-off beekeeping developed by Abbe Emil Warre; a great hive if you travel a lot or like to let your bees be!

Warre top bars
The addition of sugar pine hives to our line of goods has brought numerous positive and exciting changes to our company. We’re experiencing fast expansion in a way we can be proud of. While we’re thrilled to be progressing and growing, our production mill is maxed with our swelling number of orders! We’re very busy bees keeping up with our workload and we want to be able to give each hive the care and attention it deserves. That’s why we’re offering Top Bar and Warre hives for pre-order (in either wood option). Place an order now to get yours in time for beekeeping season. The extra time will allow us to uphold our high quality standards and will give you some time to read up on beekeeping practices and plan for your new hives. After all, sometimes it’s nice having something to “pine” after.
October 14, 2016


Pumpkin Spice Latte with Homemade Syrup

The content for this article was provided by Hillary Bergh of foodheals.net. Hillary Bergh is a 5th generation chef with a passion for kitchen play. Growing up in the kitchens of her family’s multiple restaurants gave her a solid foundation that was then developed further while working as a manager at Bouchon Bakery, chef and wine club manager at Swanson Vineyards, and executive chef at Google with Bon Appetit Management Company. She holds two culinary certifications along with a nutrition certification and is currently earning a bachelor of science in healthcare management.

It’s that time of year again: The time of year when pumpkin spice arrives and takes over every grocery store, coffee shop, and retailer. You'll find it in some delicious and maybe not-so-delicious iterations... lattes, muffins, pancakes, potato chips, pies, cookies, popcorn, cereals, yogurts, sausages, protein powders, and salsa?!?! Isn’t it funny how the blend of warming spices traditionally used in pumpkin pie for decades is now used to "flavor" all sorts of non-pumpkin foodstuffs?

We felt obligated to contribute to the madness with an amazing Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) recipe... Made with actual pumpkin and honey! The PSL syrup recipe makes a batch large enough to have the potential of lasting an entire week. And should you choose to get frisky, you can even spike your latte. Yes, spiked PSL!

We'll start with a blending basic pumpkin spice (PS) that includes a touch of black pepper to help balance the sweetness and to add depth. The PS blend can be incorporated into your PSL, pumpkin spice ginger cookies, and all the other PS recipes you'll be whipping up this season.

Pumpkin Spice Blend:


  • 1/4 cup cinnamon
  • 4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 4 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 tsp ground clove
  • 1/4 tsp finely ground black pepper


  • Combine all spices and store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one year.

Now onto the PSL syrup that will make all your dreams a reality! Plus, you can feel good about drinking one every day for the next three months since the pumpkin gives a healthy addition of fiber and nutrients. Yes, there is quite a bit of vanilla extract in the base—that amount is not a mistake. This helps round out and balance the earthy flavor of the pumpkin.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Syrup:


  • 1/2 can (7oz) plain pumpkin puree (make sure to get plain, not the pre-flavored pumpkin pie)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup dark maple syrup
  • 1/4-1/2 cup wildflower honey
  • 1/4-1/3 cup vanilla extract
  • 3 Tb pumpkin spice blend


  • Heat medium saucepan over medium heat with pumpkin and spices.
  • Stir continually for 2 minutes until it becomes very aromatic.
  • Remove from heat, add 1/4 cup maple syrup, and stir to combine well.
  • Add 1/4 cup vanilla and 1/4 cup honey and stir to combine well.
  • Taste. Add additional maple syrup, honey, vanilla to increase sweetness to your liking. It should be sweet, keeping in mind you'll be adding it to coffee and milk like a syrup.
  • Store in airtight container in fridge for up to 10 days.

Pumpkin Spice Latte:


  • 1/3 cup syrup
  • 1 cup milk of choice
  • 2 shots espresso or 1/2 cup strong coffee
  • whipped cream (optional)


  • Heat milk to desired temperature.
  • Blend syrup and milk until frothy in stand mixer or with hand blender in a mason jar.
  • Add espresso.
  • Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of spice blend or drizzle of base.

If you’re looking to spike your latte, you could add a few splashes of mead! We suggest Redstone Pumpkin Nectar, San Francisco Meadery Bourbon Barrel Apple Pie, or Chateau Lorane Life Force with Maple.

Cheers to autumn and all things pumpkin spice!


September 23, 2016

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What Sustainability Means to Us

The word sustainability is often used vaguely, and with so many murky definitions, it can be hard knowing what’s really intended. Here is what sustainability means to us here at Bee Thinking.

It’s paramount that in our work of crafting hives that we aren’t causing harm to forests while helping bees, and we know our customers feel the same way. We take concrete steps to source wood that is FSC certified and responsibly grown and harvested, and now we are the first hive producer to become FSC certified.

Our passion for bees is as immense as is our concern for the environment and nature. That’s why we source wood that won’t harm our forests. Here are just some of the ways that we aim to nurture the balance of our ecosystems, support the bounty of our beautiful land, and encourage beekeepers to join us in our mission to promote pollinator health.
Since 2008, sustainability has been at the forefront of our minds. In fact, the first wood we ever sourced was salvaged western red cedar—trees that had fallen in storms or had been harvested due to disease. Even though we have outgrown that wood source, we haven’t outgrown our commitment to using local and sustainable materials.

We believe that beekeepers care about the environment and are committed to doing their part to help. We think beekeeping suppliers should do the same. 

After plenty of careful research, we decided to source our wood from forests certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. FSC is a highly respected, third party certification that currently sets the bar for defining sustainable forest management. FSC is an international organization that provides principles and audits with the strictest requirements to ensure lumber comes from forests that maintain natural integrity, protect indigenous rights, and support surrounding communities.

As a result, FSC wood often commands the highest market price because of its quality and because it is harvested with minimal impact to the environment and the surrounding communities. We believe that by supporting the demand for sound forestry practices in the construction of long-lasting bee hives and woodenware, we benefit honeybee health by producing a beehive that is truly sustainable and considers all of nature. Not only is our wood FSC certified, but it all comes from sustainably-managed forests in Oregon and Northern California, reducing the carbon footprint tied to transportation, and helping the local economy.

Here at Bee Thinking, we use two types of wood to make our beehives: sugar pine and western red cedar. Sugar pine grows in southern Oregon and northern California. They are the largest of the pine trees, and John Muir called it the "King of the Conifers" for that reason. Sugar pine trees grow very straight, are dimensionally stable (meaning they resist warping, shrinking), and process beautifully through our machines with minimal tearing or cracking, making it the ideal pine species for bee hives.

Western Red Cedar is the premier beehive material. Native to the Pacific Northwest, Western Red Cedar is rot resistant, stable, lightweight, has tight straight grain, and insulates better than pine. It is revered for its beautiful grain and coloration, and due to its decay resistance, doesn't require paint in the elements. Our cedar is harvested within a couple hours of our Portland location.

We work extremely hard to use every scrap and shaving left over as we create hives. We use these pieces to produce birdhouses, mason bee houses, wooden feeders, and extra cedar shavings for quilt boxes both on our website and in our retail shop. We are always working to develop the new products and accessories our customers ask for, in a way that utilizes every bit of the wood we’ve brought in and in keeping with the design aesthetics we are known for.

Our efforts don’t end with wood sourcing, but apply to all aspects of our business. Each year we ship thousands of hives to our customers all over the world. To mitigate the environmental impact of shipping, we invest in carbon neutral offsets through our shipping providers whenever possible.

We hope this helps to make clear what we mean when we say we are committed to sustainability in every aspect. If you want to hear even more about our sustainability philosophy, check out the below video with our co-founder, Matt!

September 09, 2016


The Comb Joint

Honoring tradition, while maintaining modern aesthetic and design practices, is what we do best. That’s why we designed our unique comb joint, an upgrade from the traditional finger joint traditionally used to make hive boxes. Our signature comb joint makes for stronger, more efficient, and more striking hives. We’ve been so excited to share the news; you may have already heard about our new and improved joinery. Let’s get down to what makes this joint so special.

One of the biggest components that makes our boxes and joinery so special is that they are made using a CNC machine, which is a state-of-the-art piece of milling equipment that is far more accurate than a traditional hauncher. “CNC” stands for Computer Numeric Control. This means the machine’s movements are operated through specific numerical commands entered into a computer, as opposed to manually controlled wheels and levers. This level of precision allows us to get the perfect cut every time, meaning our boxes fit together easily and securely. We know that most of our customers buy our boxes unassembled, and this kind of precision makes assembly a cinch. 

The new comb joint also has 9% less exposed end grain in comparison to a standard finger joint. If you’ve never heard of end grain before, end grain refers to the end of the board where the wood was cut. It’s also where water could seep into your hive and cause damage. 9% May not seem like a lot at first glance, but considering there are four corners per box and multiple boxes per hive, this 9% can make a big difference. This significant decrease of exposed end grain makes for a more weather-resistant hive, meaning it will last you and your bees for many more years to come.

Lastly, bees inspire us every day, including when we hit the wood working table. We designed this semi-hexagonal shape to mimic a comb cell—a shape bees instinctively employ for its strength and efficiency.

Don’t forget that our 20% off Hive and Harvest Sale is still going on! Additionally, our pine hives are 25% right now! This is the best time to get your own box with comb joints and see our new and improved joinery for yourself.

Watch below to learn even more about the comb joint from Bee Thinking co-founder, Matt Reed!

September 07, 2016


Safe for You, Safe for Your Bees: 100% Pure Tung Oil

Along with our precision-milled beehives, our tung oil is one of our most-beloved products—for good reason! There are many benefits that make our tung oil special.

100% Pure Tung Oil

Many other tung oils are filled with chemicals and solvents. Our tung oil is 100% pure and all natural with no additives. To us, it makes sense to use an all-natural finish on our beehives because it really allows us to stay true to our natural, treatment-free beekeeping philosophy. The absence of solvents also means our tung oil is more concentrated. It takes a little longer to dry, but in the long-run this makes for a more durable, highly water-proof hive so you can feel confident heading into the winter months!


Unlike other surface treatments, tung oil actually bonds with the wood to make it waterproof and lends protection from the elements for years to come. Buying a beehive is an investment, and having to replace it every few years just doesn’t make sense! Applying a simple coat of tung oil once a year (summertime is ideal!) is a great way to keep your investment protected against extreme weather. You can use it on either your Western Red Cedar or Sugar Pine hives.

Easy and Versatile

Applying tung oil to your beehive is a simple, three-step process:

  1. Using a smooth cotton cloth, old t-shirt, or paper towel, apply one thin coat (about a tablespoon) of tung oil to your hive. Make sure to spread with the grain, from side to side.
  2. Wait 3 hours, then remove excess oil. Patience is key!
  3. After 24 hours, repeat steps 1 and 2. Once it dries, you are all ready to go!

      Additionally, 100% pure tung oil is food safe and therefore incredibly versatile. It’s not just for your hive! You can also use it to treat wooden cutting boards, furniture, and birdhouses.


      While some choose to paint their hives, we prefer admiring the natural beauty of the wood itself. Pure tung oil enhances the natural color of the wood and leaves a satin finish. Check out these before and after photos below to see the difference that a couple coats of tung oil can make:

      Check out the video below to learn even more about tung oil, including a demonstration of applying it to your Bee Thinking hive:

      Click here to get your own bottle of 100% pure tung oil, now 20% off during the Harvest Sale!

      September 02, 2016


      Leave Them Bee: New Windows for Langstroth Hives

      Bees are fascinating creatures—but we don’t have to tell you that. All their hard work is manifested within the hive, through beautifully drawn comb, plenty of brood to keep the colony going, and sweet honey stores to survive the winter. One of the most exhilarating parts of the beekeeping experience is sitting back and watching your bees work.  

      That is why we are excited to announce that we now have Langstroth hive boxes with windows. Now beekeepers everywhere can enjoy watching their bees work without disturbing them, regardless of their hive style. We want to give every beekeeper the chance to observe, marvel, inspect and even learn from their bees!

      As you may know, these are new for us. Up until this point we have only had observation windows available for Warre and top bar hives. But, we listened to what our customers want, and you want to see your bees! So we started our careful planning and design process, and here we are.

      Perhaps the best part about this new development is that observation windows allow for you to check on your bees without disrupting them. Since there is a window on either side of the hive, you can get a clear picture of the entire box without ever opening it. This was important to us as we designed these boxes. We wanted you to be able to see as much bee action as possible!

      And observing from a distance isn’t just courteous, it’s practical. Especially as temperatures fall, opening your hive can put your bees at risk by disrupting the methods of insulation they have put in place. With windows, however, you only need to remove the small cover to make sure your hive is alive and well. We can already hear your bees thanking you!

      Our new windows come with a wooden, easy-to-remove cover, so insulation is not compromised. Even better, the window cover comes adorned with a CNC precision-milled bee design, with hollow wing cutouts as handles. Now you can show off your love of bees while adding a unique touch to your hive and apiary!  

      To see our new windows in action, check out the video below:

       Finally, don’t forget our Harvest and Hive Sale is going on right now! This means that you can get your brand new boxes with precision-milled windows for 20% off in premium Western Red Cedar, and 25% off in sustainably harvested Sugar Pine. We hope you are as excited as we are about this exciting new feature leaving our Portland mill.

      August 27, 2016


      Sustainable. Quality. Valuable. Introducing Sugar Pine.

      After years of searching for a sustainable source of pine, we've found material that's not only suitable for the bees, but is responsible to the environment, handsome, and available at a great value. As always, we are committed to bringing you the highest quality products while staying true to our core values of using sustainable, local materials.

      We are excited to announce that we will now offer our Langstroth hives using sustainable Sugar Pine sourced from FSC Chain of Custody suppliers in the Pacific Northwest. Here’s why we are thrilled to be offering Bee Thinking pine:

      View full article →
      August 17, 2016


      Introducing Our New Comb Joint

      There’s a reason we included “thinking” in our company name. Since day one, we haven’t stopped thinking of ways to design the strongest, smartest, most beautiful and efficient beekeeping products available. This means sweating the small stuff, including the joint that holds our boxes together.

      So we listened to a lot of customer feedback, and did our own research. We examined all kinds of existing joints,
      looking back over hundreds of years of woodworking techniques throughout the world. We ultimately took inspiration from the bees themselves to make a strong and efficient joint that we think you’ll love. Since the very beginning, our boxes have used interlocking finger joints; the industry standard for hive construction. This makes sense! Finger joints are strong, attractive, and suitable for most woodworking endeavors. But we couldn’t help but to explore any possible modifications to make our joints even better. 

      Our new Comb Joint includes everything we love about the typical finger joint but is also specially designed to be sleeker, stronger, easier to assemble, more efficient, and longer lasting. Our new Comb Joint features interlocking semi-hexagonal pieces similar to honeycomb. We used this shape for the same reasons bees do: it’s highly efficient and it’s strong. The inset frame rest leaves no weak points, making for an incredibly strong box from top to bottom.

      With approximately 9% less end grain exposed compared to a traditional finger joint, there's less area for wood to seep in and damage your hive.

      The joint is milled using a CNC machine, which is five times more accurate than a traditional hauncher, allowing us to get the perfect cut every single time. Assembly of our new boxes is quicker and simpler with miniscule opportunity for error. We want beekeepers, novice and experienced, to spend less time setting up and more time keeping bees!

      Finally, we know that appearance matters with any addition to your home or garden, and we take that seriously! Our new design is sleek, compelling, modern, and completely unique. It is sure to add something special to your yard or apiary.

      We have spent endless hours in our workshop and are extremely proud of what we designed. We will continue to invest in our mill, using the latest woodworking technology to craft products that make the beekeeping experience even more special. We’re confident that you, too, will love the latest generation of precision milled joinery leaving our mill in Portland, Oregon.




      More about the comb joint below




      July 14, 2016


      July 07, 2016