For more than 20 years, Corwin Bell has been on a mission to save the honeybees.
In 2005, after a decade of refining his beekeeping hobby, he launched BackYardHive in Eldorado Springs, Colorado. Besides selling beekeeping accessories and build-your-own hive supplies, the blueprints for which he designs, the site provides learning tools that act as an alternative to conventional beekeeping methods. Bell believes that by arming people with a convenient, actionable way to combat one of the greatest environmental challenges of our time, we can help honeybees survive and thrive — and do so right from our own backyards.
Though the rates of Colony Collapse Disorder — first identified in 2006 after colonies of worker bees mysteriously disappeared — have declined in recent years, honeybee populations continue to be threatened by pesticides, mite infestation, low genetic diversity and climate change.
In 2017, beekeepers across the U.S. lost 40 percent of their colonies, which Bell attributes in part to extreme temperature shifts that are occurring more and more frequently.
To that end Bell, who had already been making hives based on the traditional top-bar design, eventually invented what he calls the “cathedral hive” to help bees survive cold winters and preserve their genetics.
Aside from saving bees, Bell’s bigger vision includes educating more backyard beekeepers. Through BackYardHive, he offers bee guardianship courses ranging from the beginner level to intensive, hands-on workshops.
“We have bee guardians all over the U.S., and for sure all over the world, that are creating this extended habitat for the bees,” he says.
Watch the video above to learn more about the plight of the modern honeybee and how Bell’s efforts are helping this very vulnerable population.