Beekeeping in the High Country: Expert shares tips with locals |

Beekeeping in the High Country: Expert shares tips with locals

SILVERTHORNE – Local residents got schooled in the art of beekeeping Saturday afternoon with Margael Meister, founder of DenverBee.

Despite Summit County’s long winters and short honey season, beehives may be kept in backyards – where it’s legal – year-round. They will generally need about 150 pounds of honey to survive the winter.

“They can be cold, but not cold and wet,” Meister said to the small group of people upstairs at Alpine Earth Center.

The perennial creatures keep warm through winter by staying in a clump and constantly moving themselves from outside the clump to its interior.

“They’re just like furnaces, and they have to keep generating heat,” Meister said.

Bees must maintain a temperature of 92-93 Fahrenheit in their central nest regardless of outside temperatures, according to

To get started on beekeeping, people purchase the live insects for about $80 to $110, Meister said, depending on the type of container.

The bees will come from within the United States, and they haven’t been imported to the country for many years.

They pollinate one third of the food produced in this country – including fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and fibers such as cotton – and their services alone exceed $15 billion, according to information from High Country Conservation Center.

Colony Collapse Disorder has contributed to the disappearance of an estimated one-third, or 800,000 hives. When bees become sick, they evacuate their hive to protect other bees, but CCD, is a “massive evacuation,” according to HCCC.

Meister’s workshop continued with information on bee races and breeds, disease, pest management and more.

For more information on honey bees, visit

Robert Allen can be contacted

at (970) 668-4628 or

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