ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Occasionally in the practice, a few honeybees will buzz round the Denver Broncos’ Gatorade bottles.
That was the situation. But when the group doubled the landscape in its headquarters, the club’s director of grounds and sports turf, Brooks Dodson, noticed something.
It was time to draft a swarm of new players.
“I only noticed there was not a lot of bees within our house,” Dodson said.
A friend in the exact same line of work at a Denver suburb said that he had met with two or three beekeepers.
So Dodson and Joe and Debbie Komperda Seen.
The beekeepers, whose business card reads “Bee Happy,” were eager to help out their cherished Broncos by creating them a bee lawn north of the indoor practice center about 100 yards in the practice areas.
Debbie Komperda built every orange, four beehives and blue and every particular so that the bees know that home is theirs.
It is considered the Broncos would be the first professional sports team to function as hosts.
Joe Komperda said it is a win-win: that the Broncos get the benefits of hosting hives while the honeybees get a chance to thrive at a time when numerous colonies are inexplicably dying, a phenomenon called colony collapse disease.
“There’s a lot of individuals that want to make sure we can encourage the bees,” Joe Komperda explained. “Along with the Broncos being a fantastic corporate citizen and looking out for the surroundings, when they realized their blossoms were not doing well and they had longer bees … we were able to think of an agreement which the Broncos will be a hive bunch.”
Between 20,000 (winter) and 100,000 (summer) bees now buzz around the four beehives. As they gather nectar and pollen from a 3-mile radius, they pollinate plants, and they steer clear of the players except for its people drawn to the Gatorade bottles.
“So that’s why there’s bees at clinic all the time,” linebacker Todd Davis said, laughing. “This explains a lot.”
Another advantage is that a number of the honey the Komperdas harvest gets used by the chefs of the team in the Broncos cafeteria .
“That is really cool,” Davis stated. “It is kind of similar to that farm-to-table facet. I believe that’s really cool having new honey”
The Komperdas take care of the bees year-round and maintain the hives.
“We strive to keep them nicely and try to be certain that they’re out there pollinating flowers,” Joe Komperda explained. “And while they are not pollinating crops, so to speak, right here, they are still making a difference to the environment.”
The hives have thrived.
“The blossoms do considerably better,” Joe Komperda explained. “Of course, this entire region is planted very nicely. … What that’s done is since it is irrigated, planted, the bees had nectar all summertime. In areas where we had bees that the bees did not do honey since there wasn’t the capability to do 24, producing. It was not wet enough. There weren’t enough blossoms. But around here the bees thrived.”
Even in the cold winter of Colorado.
“Although people think that honey is for us as a sweet desert and something good, actually it’s how he bees survive winter,” Joe Komperda said. “The bees actually get together in a bunch, a ball about the size of a soccer ball and they shiver and shiver and shiver and they keep the temperature inside the hive between 75 and 95 degrees the whole winter.
“The queen is in the middle of that audience so that they can keep her hot and make sure she is going to survive. And like that is survived by the bees generally. They move into the interior like the penguins do, since the bees on the outside get cold. And they always go and they use that honey so they can burn calories and keep it warm.”
And the Broncos get to enjoy.
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