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How To Become A Beekeeper & The Denver Broncos ft Joe Komperda the “Average Joe Beekeeper”

How To Become A Beekeeper & The Denver Broncos ft Joe Komperda the “Average Joe Beekeeper”

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Show Notes

Join Nicole and Joe Komperda AKA “Average Joe Beekeeper” as they chat about how to become a beekeeper and the Denver Broncos!

What You’ll Learn

  • How the Denver Broncos are helping bees
  • Tried and tested resources on how to become a beekeeper
  • Why we need bees
  • How becoming a beekeeper helps bees
  • The importance of learning how to become a beekeeper from local beekeeping groups
  • How to find live beekeeping training online

Our Guest

Joe Komperda, the Average Joe Beekeeper, has kept bees in the Denver Metro area with his wife Debbie for 7 years. He has been certified as a Master Beekeeper by the University of Montana and runs 30 – 40 hives at numerous host locations including the historic 17 Mile House and Farm, Flat Acres Farm, Centennial Airport, numerous Hive Host Family properties, and the Denver Broncos Training Center. He combines his beekeeping experience with his love of science and biological principles along with his knowledge of “Bee-havior” to provide a better understanding of Honey Bees to his audiences. The “Bee-Engaged: An Average Joe’s Guide To…” series of presentations are aimed at novice to intermediate beekeepers but are applicable to all levels of participants. He is an avid Swarm Rescuer with more than 100 rescues and recoveries in the last 7 years. He is a retired IBM Executive Project Manager and a Retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel. Joe is a member of two Denver area Bee Clubs serving as the President of the SouthEast Beekeeping Club (SEBC). He is the Colorado Delegate to the American Beekeeping Federation (ABF) and an elected Advisor for the Colorado State Beekeeping Association (CSBA). He speaks at numerous Bee Colleges, Bee Clubs, Educational Institutions, and Community Groups and always tries to “Bee Calm and Buzz Along!”

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    Transcript

    Announcer: 0:01

    Welcome to the Backyard Bounty Podcast from HeritageAcresMarket.com, where we talk about all things backyard poultry, beekeeping, gardening, sustainable living, and more. And now here's your host, Nicole.

    Nicole: 0:16

    Good morning, and welcome friends to another episode of the Backyard Bounty podcast. I'm your host Nicole and today we are going to learn about just the basics of how to become a beekeeper from our guest today, Joe, Komperda from the "Average Joe beekeeper". And, Joe, thank you so much for joining me today.

    Joe: 0:35

    Well, Nicole, it's a pleasure to be here today. I always love to talk about bees, and being the Average Joe beekeeper. I figured that you know, I need to talk to as many people as I can so that they can understand that they can be beekeepers too.

    Nicole: 0:48

    Absolutely! Well hopefully this will get the message out there to a few more people and inspire people are encouraged people to become beekeepers. I think a lot of people have a lot of hesitation when they think about becoming a beekeeper. So hopefully today we can talk about going from just interested in becoming a beekeeper to becoming a beekeeper and the steps that we can do to get to that point. But before we dive into that, I would love to hear more about you and your beekeeping experience and some of the things that you do for beekeepers.

    Joe: 1:21

    Well, I've kept bees here in the Denver Metro area for about seven years with my wife Debbie. I am certified as a Master Beekeeper through the University of Montana. And normally we're running about 30 to 40 hives at various hosts locations throughout the Denver Metro area. We have hives at the historic 17 Mile House and Farm which is 17 miles from downtown Denver. We have Matt Flat Acres Farm, an organic farm in Parker, Colorado, there at Centennial airport. And then we also have hive host families which I'm sure we'll talk a little bit more about as we're talking about becoming a beekeeper. And last but not least, we have hives at the Denver Broncos training center. So technically we're the beekeepers for the Broncos.

    Nicole: 2:03

    And that's actually how I first heard about you my husband's a big Denver Broncos fan and I'm not really sure how the two came together but I ended up stumbling upon the Average Joe Beekeeper that way. So you know I of course have to ask although all of your hive hosting locations sound really incredible. How did you end up getting a hive out at the valley?

    Joe: 2:25

    Well, as I said hive hosting is what we do because what you'll find as a beekeeper is once you have a couple hives and you go through a winter and you find that they're going to swarm, otherwise, the only other thing you could do is split the hive. Well then you need more locations for hives. And we're always on the lookout for a place to put hives we do a lot of swarm rescue. Over five years, I've rescued over 125 swarms. And one day we were out rescuing a swarm. And the gentleman who was the caretaker of the area where the swarm was, got interested every time he had another swarm. He called us one day, he decided that he take one of the hives and put him on his property. And one of his buddies came by one day we were going through the hive and said, "How would I get a hive?". I said, well, you just asked me to bring you a hive and you can be a hive host. And he said the chef would love to have honey right there. And it's like, "You have a chef?" And where are you at and he goes Dove Valley, and I'm thinking he's in the housing development there. And he Wow, he must have. And then I looked and he was wearing blue with orange piping and I said, "Oh Dove Valley, like in the Broncos Training Center?" He goes, "Yeah, I'm the grounds manager for the Broncos, and I think that would be great." And so that started our relationship. And we produce honey there we give the team part of the honey. And they use it in energy recovery drinks after practice. Because as most people know, honey doesn't have to be digested. It goes directly from the stomach into the blood system. So they'll put honey in energy recovery drinks, for quick energy after practice.

    Nicole: 4:02

    How interesting... talk about being at the right place at the right time!

    Joe: 4:05

    Exactly, exactly.

    Nicole: 4:07

    Yeah. And I've definitely experienced the same problem that you have where you get to the point where you have too many hives for your property. And it's like well now what do I do about with them? So I've done some hive hosting as well. I think that's a really great program and really interesting and so many people really enjoy hive hosting. So I think that in talking about how to become a beekeeper hive hosting is a great option. If maybe you don't necessarily want to open the hive or be so hands on but you'd like to have a bee hive. So hive hosting is a really great alternative.

    Joe: 4:42

    I call it the gateway, you know to beekeeping and you know, in a way it's it's the gateway to an addiction in many cases because the keeping does become an obsession and in a way in addiction because you can get a lot out of beekeeping. I call it the Zen of beekeeping. When you get into a hive, there's a certain calmness and tranquility that you can derive, even though there's 10s of thousands of bees who would like to sting you. And it sounds counterintuitive to think that being around all these stinging insects can be calming. But it really is when you start getting back to Mother Nature and seeing the marvels of what the beehive holds and what Mother Nature holds in general. It's just, it's amazing. And and, and everyone should experience it.

    Nicole: 5:30

    Yeah, I totally agree with you, I find it very therapeutic and meditative in a way between the hum of the hive and the way that it smells and the focus as you're going through the hive inspection, there's something very Zen like about it,

    Joe: 5:45

    it is and almost all your senses are involved when you're in the hive. So it can be a very enlightening experience. In fact, one of the things I do occasionally is just like they're swimming with the sharks and the dolphins, I have encounters with bees. And people will come to my hives and, and we'll get them in a bee suit and let them see what it's like to be a beekeeper.

    Nicole: 6:07

    Yeah, that's a great idea. That's probably another really good first step in becoming a beekeepers, if you can find somebody in your area to do something like that, or contact you if they're here in Colorado. And and just kind of dipping your toe in and taking a look and seeing if it's something that you do want to do it.

    Joe: 6:26

    Exactly. You know, in a way, there's a progression. A lot of people start by just saying, "I want to help the bees and what can I do?" And of course, we tell them, contact your local garden center, find out what plants are bee friendly, or go to someplace like bees, like plantselect.org and find out what plants will be good, and start planting your gardens and yards for the bees. And that's going to help the bees and then as people start seeing the bees, whether they be the solitary bees, or honey bees or bumble bees that are coming to the yard, then they start thinking more about, "Geez, maybe I should have the bees here myself." And that's when hive hosting becomes an opportunity. And then a lot of those people who become hive hosts get so interested in it, especially the way we do our hive hosting is we will always have extra bee suits. And if the hive host wants to go into the hive and see the marvels of Mother Nature themselves up close, we get them in the bee suit, they start looking at it pretty soon, they want to come out every time and after a little time, sometimes a year, sometimes two, they're full fledged beekeepers, because we've been educating them in the hive. And then at that point in time when they're self sufficient. Sometimes we say we're going to turn these over to you and go somewhere else. And that's the progression that a lot of people have followed.

    Nicole: 7:42

    I think that that makes total sense. You know, seeing somebody out there working the hive, natural human curiosity and then I think once people get over that fear, then they're more than excited to dive right in. So if somebody doesn't want to host a hive or maybe they don't have somebody in the area to offer them a look inside of the hive. What would you say is the very first step to start beekeeping?

    Joe: 8:09

    Well, here in Colorado as with most states, there is a Beekeeping Association here in Colorado, so the Colorado State Beekeeping Association or CSBA, and they're at Coloradobeekeepers.org. And if you go on that website, you can look up that there's 14 affiliated regional associations and clubs in the state of Colorado. And one of those clubs are probably nearby almost, you know, most of the folks that are listening in Colorado, and even in other states, there's various beekeeping associations, almost every state has a state beekeeping Association. So just look it up on the internet and start there because that's, that's one of the great places to go. The other is the American Beekeeping Federation, or ABF, and they're ABFnet.com, I believe it is. That's off the top of my head, hopefully I got it right. And they're the national beekeeping Association. And they have listings of beekeepers all over the country, you can call or write their contact on the website, and they will find you a beekeeper in the area to link you up with.

    Nicole: 9:16

    And I'll post links to the description for all of those that people can look. And then I actually do have a resource on my website, HeritageAcresMarket.com. I'm still working on building it, but it's a list of all of the bee clubs by state so you can go in, go to your state, and I try to keep it as up to date as possible. So you can hopefully find a bee club closer to you if you're not in Colorado.

    Joe: 9:41

    But that's the best way to start is by by the local bee club because then they'll put you in contact with local beekeepers. And right now because of COVID a lot of the bee clubs are meeting virtually so it's really easy no matter where you live, to attend to be club meeting. If you just seek out some of those clubs, find their website and ask to join a meeting.

    Nicole: 10:02

    Yeah, that's a great idea. I don't know what you think of this, but I also think a good first step for beekeepers is to do as much homework as you can. I like to say, do homework or read or research for about a year or the year before you want to start beekeeping, just because there's so much to learn. And, and it's better to look and get as much information ahead of time instead of you know, going home every night to try and research, you know, whatever it is that you're finding or trying to accomplish. What are your thoughts on that?

    Joe: 10:32

    Well, I would agree wholeheartedly with that. But one of the great things about the internet is it's a wealth of information. But one of the bad things about the internet is it's a wealth of bad information. So you know, anybody who has a computer can go out there on the internet and post things that are sometimes so awfully wrong. I just cringe when I read some of these beekeeping forums, Facebook pages, or just some of the YouTubes I watch. They're just so wrong. And so my recommendation is if you're going to look at the Internet, go to sources like universities, state extension offices, Department of Agriculture, either in your state or at the federal level, and find those sites where they have information that has been curated and proven to be true. And that way, you're going to get much better information than if you just go find any fly by night beekeeper who happens to have a computer and has a his or her own idea about what's right, because there's a lot of information out there. And it's really hard to sift through it all.

    Nicole: 11:37

    Yeah, I would absolutely agree with you. You know, there's lots of ways to accomplish things. But there's also a lot of misinformation, as you mentioned. And I don't have a link offhand. But I will post it in the description, once I look it up. But in a different interview that I did with a University Extension beekeeper, there is an actual website, there's just for beekeeping articles from the extensions. So you can just go there and find just a catalogue of extension written beekeeping articles and things in it, that's a really great resource too.

    Joe: 12:14

    It is and the other thing of course, our books are usually well curated and annotated. But even that today, with Amazon self publishing, and things like that, sometimes you can get some questionable information. But most of the time most books that are published, are going to have good information. Also, I would tell you that my library here that I'm looking at in the shelf in my bee office here has over 100, different titles of different books. And so there's a wealth of information in printed form out there also, and, and that's a good place to start. And there's all kinds of books. And yet, even though I'm the average Joe, I'll tell you that the "Dummy" books are not bad. The "Idiot guides" have good information. So they're places to start. But once you get past that basic beginning, you need to get probably into some more of the books like the biology and anatomy books, because too many beekeepers don't understand the insect itself. And therefore they're asked questions that if they just understood a little bit about the biology and anatomy, they would be able to answer on their own.

    Nicole: 13:17

    Yeah, I agree with that as well. Do you have any books that you recommend some of your favorites?

    Joe: 13:23

    Well, the Beekeepers Handbook is one of the better ones. It goes into a lot of detail. But what it does is present alternatives. So one of the things in like installing a package of bees, which for the folks who aren't beekeepers, they probably won't understand what that is. But it's like three pounds of bees in a screened box with a queen in a cage. And that's how you start out a hive. Well, in the Beekeepers Handbook, it tells you two different methods of installing a package. So it gives you alternatives. One, you kind of bang the box and make the bees fall to the bottom, bump them out. Another one is a less intrusive, more gentle way of doing it. So they give you alternatives. And I like that because you get to decide which way you want to perform various actions. One of the by products of beekeeping is the old adage, "If you ask three beekeepers how to do something, you're going to get five different answers".

    Nicole: 14:22

    Yes.

    Joe: 14:22

    And sometimes if you ask me how to do something, I'll give you five different answers myself. So it all depends on a lot of different things. And so that's one of the books I like the best because it provides alternatives.

    Nicole: 14:35

    That's great because like you said, there's there's so many different ways to do it. And and people can be somewhat opinionated. And that doesn't mean that there's necessarily a right or wrong. There's just there's just different options. So it's it's nice to be able to choose which one would work better for you.

    Joe: 14:52

    And then I also like a good bee biology book and there's several of them out there. So I'm not going to tell you which one is the better. One of my favorite is by Dewey Caron, who's who he originally taught at University of Delaware. But there's other be biology books out there. Also, if if you buy bee magazines and there are a couple of them out there, you can see various bee biology books. And they're also good references to have, although they go in a lot deeper than a first year person usually would look for. But as you're doing that first year of study before you get your bees as you suggest, which I agree with wholeheartedly, you know, reading a little bit about the biology is a good thing so that you'll understand how the bees are going to act. You know, one of the things that people don't realize is that beekeeping is a form of agriculture. You know, most people don't think about beekeeping and farming. But beekeeping is a form of agriculture. And you know, US Department of Agriculture has all kinds of information on beekeeping. And you know, when you become a beekeeper, whether you're just a hive host, or an actually full fledged beekeeper, you learn all kinds of different things, all science type things in a lot of cases, but you're going to learn a little bit about biology and entomology which is the study of insects, and then bee behavior. And even horticulture because you need to know something about the plants that the bees are going to. And then you start learning a little bit about science and maybe even a little pharmacology as you start treating for mites. And then you might get into your other side of the brain and start doing some artistic work on your hives because you know, the bees have to have a nice place to live in. And and you might even get into woodworking making some of your own boxes and things like that. So beekeeping can be very varied experience, and you can make it what you want it to be.

    Nicole: 16:39

    Yeah, I really enjoy how you can branch off and into whatever direction is best suited for you. So after, let's say the first year for lack of better terms that somebody has done research and expanded upon their library, what would you say is then this sort of the next step to becoming a beekeeper?

    Joe: 16:58

    Well, like I said, before, you know, you want to find a club so that you can get some support. And then you got to look at buying some equipment and there's various types of equipment out there. There are the Langstroth hives, there are various top bar hives. There are other hives like British National hives, and various forms of hives that you can go to, but I recommend that person start with a Langstroth hive, either eight or 10 frame, because about 95% of all the hives are Langstroth hives. And you learn that first and that way you understand the bees. And once you have a little time on your belt in that basic beekeeping method, then you can branch off to other ways of doing things like Warre hives, or top bar hives, or even Slovenian hives or some things like that. But this way, if you start with something that most people have, you can find support. If you decide to start with a Warre hive, you might only find one person in your local area that has a Warre hive, so you don't have that depth of knowledge. So I believe you should start with a Langstroth hive, get the support you need from others learn the bees over a period of time and then branch out to whatever you want to do. Once you know the bees. The one thing I would say though, too is before you actually buy that equipment, make sure you can have bees where you want to keep the bees because there are various regulations at various places. Some cities won't allow bees. And even if the city does allow bee sometimes if you're like a homeowner's association, the homeowners association may not allow bees. So you don't want to go and spend a whole bunch of money on getting all the equipment getting all ready, and then find out you can't have the bees at all.

    Nicole: 18:41

    That's a really good point and one that I tend to forget just because I live in such a rural area, but yeah, there are a lot of places like you said, either don't allow hives or you have to have them within a certain distance of the property or or something like that. So definitely good to do that homework first. And I know kind of a hot button topic but people that are interested in becoming beekeepers, I know that they typically look at the Flow Hive, and I have my own personal opinions of that. But what do you think of the Flow Hive for a beginner?

    Joe: 19:14

    Well the Flow Hive is is great if you're in the right location with the right conditions, you got to remember that the Flow Hive was actually developed to where it is today in Australia where they have almost year long nectar flows. here in Colorado we only have a very short period of time when you have nectar flow. So you can make it work here. But there's a lot of people I know that haven't been able to make it work. And even if you have a Flow Hive that's only for harvesting honey, and most first year beekeepers should not expect to get honey in the first year because the bees if you buy a package, they're starting from scratch, they have to build a whole house. They have to put comb on all kinds of frames. They have to build up their numbers from a very small number. And it takes a lot of energy to do that. And so in the first year, we tell beekeepers don't expect to get on any honey, if you get honey, it's a bonus. But if you go in with the expectation, you won't get honey till your second year, then you won't be disappointed if you don't get any. And if you do, great. So even with a Flow Hive, you still have to be a beekeeper, you have to learn how to have a brood nest where the bees can build up. And then once they built up to a certain point, you can put the Flow Hive on top to harvest honey. And it works for some people and some people it doesn't work. So it all depends. And there again, if you're a Club member, you can find out if there are other club members who have a Flow Hive, and they can tell you their experiences. I do a lot of work with mentoring. And I have various clients who pay me to help them. And some of them have flow hives, some don't, some flow has worked for them, some don't. So it's just a matter of what works for you.

    Nicole: 20:59

    I think that the Flow Hive is a really great invention. If you're interested in learning more, I do have podcasts with the co-inventor Stu, it's a few episodes back, I would definitely recommend listening to that. And I actually just got my first Flow Hive, it came in the mail last week. So I'm excited to put it together for next spring. But as much as I think it's a great product, I don't know that if it's necessarily the best for a very first year beekeeper, because like you said, some people it works for some people it doesn't. And I think that because there can be some varying results, it would be better to start out with just a regular Langstroth hive, it's a little bit less expensive, you can figure out if you like beekeeping, I think it promotes success a little bit more. And then maybe your second year, consider switching or adding a Flow Hive. If that was something that you are interested in doing.

    Joe: 21:49

    There, again, there's a lot of gadgets and beekeeping. And you could spend a lot of money on a lot of gadgets, and find that a lot of the gadget you get you never use. So there again, if you start off with the basics, and then understand the bees understand what you're doing a little bit more after a couple years, then you could branch out to the Flow Hive, there are actually mite treatment capabilities that use a thermal heater that cost several hundred dollars. So if you're only starting out, you don't want to necessarily put a lot of money into something. One of the interesting things is only about 80% of new beekeepers stay in beekeeping more than three years.

    Nicole: 22:30

    Mm hmm.

    Joe: 22:31

    And you know, 15-20 years ago, the average used to be about seven to eight years. So it's going down. And you don't want to spend a lot of money just to find out two or three years in that you don't want to do this anymore. And you have all this money invested. And very frankly, you're not going to get full price if you try to sell that to another beekeeper. So you take it a little slow, do the basic items, do the generally accepted equipment. And don't go off and get all kinds of fancy stuff until you really know that that's what you want to do.

    Nicole: 23:05

    Absolutely. And I also think people get so overwhelmed at seeing how many different choices there are out there. So keeping it simple. And just like you said, start with the basics. And then you can figure out what you like and what works best for you. But just start with the basic simple beginner starter kit, or just a simple Langstroth hive. And I think that that will definitely benefit new beekeepers the most.

    Joe: 23:31

    There again, though, if you're going to get a beginner starter kit, make sure you do it from somebody who knows what they're selling to you.

    Nicole: 23:38

    Yes.

    Joe: 23:38

    And they have support. So there are local beekeeping shops in many places throughout Colorado. And they're welcome to spread the knowledge of what you're buying and give you recommendations. And that's usually a good thing to have, especially if you don't have a club to fall back on. And the members that club, the the beekeeping stores that I know of up and down the Front Range are really good about giving you information and advice on what you need to do. And they won't try to oversell you, because they understand that you're new and you need to have the basics. And most of them are good business people and are also good stewards of bees, because they're all beekeepers themselves, and they're going to lead you in the right direction. There are places where you can buy a basic beginner class kit, but you don't get any information or any support. And so then people find themselves floundering. So as a new beekeeper, you want to have that support. And that's why I stress local clubs because they really have people who care about the bees and they're going to help new beekeepers.

    Nicole: 24:40

    Yeah, I think that's definitely some great advice.

    Joe: 24:43

    The other thing is, you know, you can do beekeeping on the cheap but there again, you got a look at what you're trying to do. I know people that will go to the big box home improvement stores and buy one of these painting coveralls for about $10 and then they'll go on the internet and buy a veil for their head that costs three or four dollars. And they've spent $15 on quote unquote, protective gear. Whereas you could go to the big bee manufacturers and distributors and spend $150 on a ventilated bee suit. But I'll tell you what the ventilated bee suit will probably give you better peace of mind. You're going to put out a lot of money for it, but you're also going to be a little safer. And one of the things about beekeeping is: everyone asks, you are going to get stung?

    Nicole: 25:33

    Yes.

    Joe: 25:33

    It cannot be avoided, no matter what protective equipment gear you have, or anything else, it will happen. And it will happen when you least expect it. The bees do not want to sting you because the bees will die when they sting you because they have a barbed stinger. And when they sting you it sticks into your skin. And when they try to pull away, they essentially rip out their guts and they die. So you know, they're doing it for the good of the of the colony, but they don't really want to die. So you know, you want to try to make it such that they're not going to want to sting you. And the suit helps. But even then sometimes you'll get stung through the suit.

    Nicole: 26:08

    Or in my case with a nice investment ventilated suit, and then you realize that you don't put the zipper up all the way and then I literally had a bee in my bonnet.

    Joe: 26:18

    Yes. And there's nothing worse than having a bee inside your veil, knowing that you're going to get stung somewhere in your face.

    Nicole: 26:25

    Yes.

    Joe: 26:26

    And no matter how hard I try, if you have something the size of a pencil eraser opening in your suit of bee will find a way in there and won't be able to find a way out. And it's not fun. But it's it's all part of the experience. And if you understand that you will get stung. It makes it a little bit easier when you do.

    Nicole: 26:49

    Yes, absolutely. So what other tips and suggestions and guidance do you have for new beekeepers or prospective beekeepers?

    Joe: 26:59

    Well, like I said earlier, the best thing to do is start by looking at what you're planting in your own location. And then if you're really not sure you want to make the jump, consider becoming a hive host. And the best way to find people who you know are looking to place highs is to contact that local club. And then once you've get bitten or in this case stung by beekeeping, then you can become a full fledged beekeeper yourself. And you just follow those rules of doing your work ahead of time and understanding what you're getting into trying to find someone who will let you get into the hive with you before you get your bees so you kind of understand what you're getting into. And last but not least, buy like a Langstroth hive and equipment, because most people have it. So you're going to be able to get the support. And you're on your way. Now you know, if you're a hive host, you're committed, it's kind of like the chicken for breakfast, the chicken provides the eggs. But when you become a beekeeper, you're involved, like the pig is involved by supplying the bacon. So you need to understand that you're going to get involved, it's going to become an obsession, and you got to be willing to make that jump. So for a lot of people starting as a hive host is great. And one thing you know when we talked before about maybe the laws don't allow you to have hives at your location. That's when you join the club. And you find you know that you want to do this and you buy all the stuff and then you find yourself a hive host family who's going to let you put your hive equipment on their property. And it's the best of both worlds if especially if you can't you know you could be an apartment dweller for that matter. And you find somebody that wants to be a hive host for you. And you can be a beekeeper even though you're not a homeowner.

    Nicole: 28:37

    Yeah, I've also asked family members and co-workers to when I've had a few too many hives if I could borrow space in their backyard so.

    Joe: 28:45

    And you know most people love it. Now every beekeeper has a different way of doing hive hosting. And you know, some beekeepers will charge you to have their hives on your property. Some people won't charge you anything, and in fact will give you some honey for rental of the space by having the hives there. So, it all depends on your beekeeper on what they want to do. In our case, we have various arrangements with different folks for different reasons. And you know, you just find the beekeeper or the hive host family and you make out the arrangements with them and you know works in everyone's best interest in most cases. So all of our hive hosts, we try to give them honey from the harvest if we don't get any harvests from their hives. Because we have other hives, we'll give them some honey just for the fact that even though their bees didn't make any that year, we still want to reward them with it with a little sweet nectar from from the hive and therefore, we try to keep good relations with them. The other thing is if you become a beekeeper yourself, you probably want to let your neighbors know that there's going to be bees there and sometimes that won't go over well, but usually a couple bottles of honey at the end of the season makes the neighbors happy to have the bees around and most of the neighbors will find that their gardens will do better, their flowers will do better, their vegetables will do better, because the bees are there. And in fact, where I live, the homeowner association banned bees several years ago, and people are now coming to us, because they know we're beekeepers, saying, "How come my garden isn't growing?" And it's like, well, when you get rid of the bees, you get rid of pollination, when you don't have the pollination, you don't have the food. So the bees are very essential to our way of life. And yet sometimes homeowners associations or municipalities, they don't understand how it is all interrelated as part of the circle of life that we need the bees to have the food and granted, we're not maybe making food for the world in our backyard. But you know, the food that we're making in our backyard is feeding us and we want to have good food available. And that's why we need the bees and all the other pollinators.

    Nicole: 30:54

    Absolutely. I wholeheartedly agree. So there's obviously you know, a bit of a process to go from non beekeeper to a beekeeper and more than we could even cover in just one single episode. So if somebody wanted to contact you for the possibility of hive hosting or for additional information, what is the best way to get ahold of you?

    Joe: 31:15

    Well, right now the best way for me is on Facebook. And hopefully most of your listeners are on Facebook because you have your own Facebook page, and they can find me at Average Joe Beekeeper on Facebook. One of these days I'll get my website up and running. But sometimes beekeeping takes precedence than sitting behind the computer. So...

    Nicole: 31:33

    I totally, absolutely understand.

    Joe: 31:36

    And you know, right now we're running about 34 hives of our own. And then I've got client hives that I manage. So we're somewhere working over 50 hives on a regular basis and especially during the spring, we'd like to be in every hive every week. And that way we can ensure that they're not going to swarm on us and we can split the hives when the time is right. And of course, those terms for the non beekeepers who might be listening will become apparent as you get more into beekeeping. But for your beekeeper listeners, they know exactly what I'm talking about. Yeah, and you know, what was supposed to be two hives becomes four, and those four become 12. And 12 becomes 36. And all of a sudden, you know, you have 50 or 60 hives, and it becomes an obsession. And sometimes you got to step back and just say, maybe I need to lighten up a little bit, but it's hard, especially when you're in there. And as we said earlier, that calmness, that tranquility, that Zen filling makes you want to want to have more even though that sting is inevitable.

    Nicole: 32:38

    Well Joe, thank you so much for your time today. I really appreciate it. I think that this is a great resource for people that are interested in becoming beekeepers, and hopefully they can reach out to you I know that you also have some online beekeeping classes available.

    Joe: 32:53

    Yes, I'm we're gonna offer our first class this year, in the month of October and more information is available on my Facebook page at the Average Joe Beekeeper, but it'll be the second third and fourth Mondays of October virtual online via zoom. And in fact, this class is certified by the Colorado State Beekeeping Association as a gateway class into their master beekeeping program. So if you take the class and complete it, you get your certification as a basic beekeeping class, and then you can enter the Colorado State Beekeeping Associations Master Beekeeping apprentice program.

    Nicole: 33:26

    Wonderful. And of course, we'll put a link to that in the description so that you can find that easily. And, Joe, thank you so much for your time today. I really appreciate it.

    Joe: 33:36

    Nicole, it was great talking with you and happy to talk anytime.

    Nicole: 33:40

    Wonderful. And for those of you listening, again, we'll put all of the links to the resources mentioned in the show notes. And if you'd like additional information on beekeeping, please check out Joe's Facebook page, the Average Joe Beekeeper and also HeritageAcresMarket.com where we have some beekeeping resources. If you'd like to sign up for our beekeeping newsletter, you can text the word "honeybee", one word honeybee to 44222 and get signed up to our beekeeping email newsletter. We will see you again next week.

    Announcer: 34:14

    Thank you for listening to Backyard Bounty, a podcast by HeritageAcresMarket.com. Don't forget to subscribe and leave us a review. If you have a question you'd like us to answer on the show. please email us at ask at HeritageAcresMarket.com. Also find us on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube at Heritage Acres Market. All the links mentioned in this podcast will be included in the description. See you again next week.

    Edited by PodSugar Audio Production & Editing

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