Abuzz About Backyard Bees

Bee box built by Benjamin Alexander Clark

April 11, 2011

That stranger the sun came out briefly today, and hundreds of honeybees from our backyard hive streamed out to greet a world festooned with spring blossoms. They seemed to take as much delight as I do when the clouds break and the temperature rises. Of course for them this weather change is like a factory whistle signaling it’s time to make honey. That’s not to say their pantry is empty. Many pounds of honey await harvesting in our top-bar-style bee box, crafted by Benjamin Alexander Clark, our artist and woodworking friend extraordinaire.

If there’s enough sun and warmth this weekend — good conditions for honey harvesting, we’ll get our first taste of the bees’ labors since they moved in last summer. However, our reason for getting the bee box from Benjamin and wild swarm from bee wrangler Will Dart had more to do with helping to reverse the essential insects’ dwindling numbers around the world. The book A World Without Bees, awaiting me on my nightstand, features on the cover this quote from Albert Einstein: “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years of life left.”

Benjamin’s boxes, made from recycled materials, are increasingly in demand in Portland as more people add honeybees to urban backyards. Interested? Contact him at benjaminsbeeboxes@gmail.com. He ships out of state, too.