A beekeeper who helped airport bosses to introduce an apiary on their premises has explained why aviation facilities are an ideal location for hives.
Joe Komperda and his wife Debbie own Happy Busy Bees in Denver, Colorado. They manage hives in several locations such as the Denver Broncos Football Club training centre and Centennial Airport (APA).
Asked by the Airport Improvement magazine to elaborate on the geographic and ecological circumstances at APA, Joe explained that its runways “take up a very small portion, even with all of the skirting and the hangars and everything else.”
Joe – a Certified Master Beekeeper who regularly holds seminars – added: “There’s a lot of open land, and if that land is allowed to grow naturally, it grows all those things that the local environment can use.”
The enormous potential of small flower strips and untouched grasslands has been underlined by entomologists and environmental campaigners all over the world for some time.
Joe told the Airport Improvement magazine: “We may call them weeds, but the bees and other pollinators see them as a smorgasbord board of epic proportions.”
Joe and Debbie are not just busy managing hives and selling a wide range of products such as beeswax candles via their online store. They also offer hive inspection and maintenance services, run a popular blog called Bee-Engaged and carry out bee swarm rescue operations.
APA – where around 1,000 takeoffs and landings take place each day – is located 28 kilometres (17 miles) southeast of the Denver city centre.
With 950 native species, Colorado has the fifth-highest bee diversity among all of the USA’s 50 states, the Denver Post reports.
The United States are one of the leading producers of honey in the world. However, the number of honeybee hives has dropped dramatically in the past few decades.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), there were 2.5 million hives across the country in 2021. This is a significant decrease from figures of the 1940s when there were around six million hives.