Slovenian Beehives at Knapp Ranch
The small but mighty bees are an important part of the environment
Carmen Weiland wants Americans to love their pollinators.
Weiland is the director of estate operations and the beekeeper at Knapp Ranch, a privately-owned ranch focusing on sustainability and preservation of the land. Weiland studied bees in Slovenia, a country known for its beekeeping practices and how they share a national love and respect for the bees.
“In Slovenia, they teach beekeeping in the schools at an early age. They feel that strongly about it,” Weiland said.
So what’s the buzz all about and why should we be concerned? “Biologists fear several bumblebee species have disappeared from parts of their range, including the once common western bumblebee. It appears that habitat loss and pesticide poisoning account for much of the population declines,” Weiland said.
According to “No Bees, No Life” written by Dr. Peter Kozmus, 75% of economic crops benefit greatly or depend on animal pollination. The book also states that one out of every three bites of food we take as humans are pollinated by a pollinator.
Pollinators include butterflies, moths, hummingbirds, beetles, wasps and even flies, but bees are the most effective pollinators.
Knapp Ranch houses the bees in a Slovenian-style bee house. This is an elaborate set up with several cupboards, shelves and chambers for specific bee activity. From an overhanging roof to keep the bees cool and protect them from rain, to colorful artwork and painted panels to attract the bees. “When I was studying in Slovenia, everyone would ask me, ‘why are your American bee hives white? Bees love color!’,” Weiland said.
Knapp Ranch sells the Slovenian beehives and Weiland’s services and there are a few of their hives in the Lake Creek area. “But we make sure to keep the beehives about one mile away from each other to promote the proper environment for all the beehives and native bees to coexist with each other,” Weiland said.
If you don’t want to go to the lengths of getting an actual beehive, Weiland has these tips:
- Bees prefer blue, purple and yellow flowers and sweet fragrances.
- Most of the native bee species (70%) nest underground, so avoid using weed cloth or heavy mulch.
- Use organic weed killers.
- Have a birdbath filled with water and stones. Stones provide a safe landing for the bees and other pollinators.
To learn more about the Slovenian beekeeping practice or what Knapp Ranch is doing to promote bee health, contact Weiland at http://www.knappranch.com.
Many events and activities round out the MLK holiday weekend in the Vail Valley. Here’s a look at a few things happening on and off the mountain.