The word sustainability is often used vaguely, and with so many murky definitions it can be hard to know what's actually intended. Here is what we mean when we say sustainability.
We don't want to harm the forest or nearby communities while helping bees. We know our customers feel the same way. We source wood that is FSC® certified and responsibly grown and harvested, and are now the first hive producer to be FSC® certified.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 by producing sustainable hives.
We are very proud to be B Corp status pending.
Here are some of the ways in which we strive to be an industry leader in sustainability practices.
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, prohibit illegal logging 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 to, keeping our material miles low, and helping the local economy.
Here at Bee Built, we use three types of wood to make our beehives: sugar pine, douglas fir, and western red cedar. These woods are harvested within a couple hours of our mill, which allows us to minimize our carbon footprint.
Sugar pine trees are very large and for that reason, John Muir coined them "King of the Conifers". 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.
Douglas fir is the state tree of Oregon where it grows vastly, and is a go-to material for many builders, due to being the hardest soft wood available. Douglas fir has small, tight knots, and close grain. It's a little heavier than both sugar pine and western red cedar, making it a solid, stout material for hives. It has good durability and looks beautiful when sealed with tung oil.
Western red cedar is a 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. If left natural, it will age and patina to gray.
We work extremely hard to use every scrap and shaving left over as we create hives. We use these pieces to produce one-off birdhouses, mason bee houses, wooden feeders, and extra cedar shavings for quilt boxes. We are always working to develop 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.
The reason we use the woods we do is because they are ideal materials for bees to thrive in. These woods are light, durable, and they provide excellent insulation which reduces the strain put on bees to keep the hive at a constant temperature.
Our woods can be treated with 100% pure tung oil for increased longevity, so they'll never be exposed to the harmful chemicals found in paint and other finishes. Finally, since these are such long-lasting woods, you won't have to continually replace your hive. Your bees will thank you for creating a constant, reliable place to call home.
We ship a lot of hives and we're incredibly conscious of the environmental impact shipping can cause. That's why Bee Built opts into UPS' carbon neutral shipping program when it's available. UPS buys certified carbon offsets to balance out the emissions caused by transportation of shipments. UPS has also supported projects involving reforestation, landfill gas destruction, wastewater treatment, and methane destruction. We're proud that we're able to demonstrate our clean climate commitment to our customers every time we ship a package.