Sweet as Honey: A look at the Buzz Squad’s award-winning State Fair honey
by Brenden Nickels
Brenden is a blogger, Senior Office Assistant at KA’s Twin Cities headquarters, and a member of the Buzz Squad.
Urban Bees on KA’s Roof
Since the summer of 2018, Kraus-Anderson has taken to beekeeping on top of the roof of its still-new headquarters. The idea of recently retired KA Construction Company’s Twin Cities Co-Director of Operations Craig Francois (himself an experienced beekeeper), we originally thought of putting our hives on the north side of our roof, but after investigating that location, we decided it would be better to have them on the south side. In addition to hives, we also wanted to have a pollinator garden, so planters were also installed with lots of herbs and flowers for the bees to enjoy.
“Our first year as bee keepers we inspected the bee hives close to once a week.” said co-chair Brendan Ward. “This was in an effort to learn about the bees firsthand and also see how they were doing. As we became more experienced we realized that is wasn’t necessary to inspect the hives that often.”
The “Buzz Squad”
I happen to be a member of our beekeeping committee, known as the “Buzz Squad”. While I’m not involved with handling the bees directly, I have written updates on what we’re doing at the moment, how the bees are doing, and how employees can get involved in what we do.
“I feel we are doing our part in the sense that we get the opportunity to educate our fellow KAers,” said the Buzz Squad’s other co-chair, Tonya Kostick. “Many are fascinated by the pure intelligence of bees and what they can do.”
Blue Ribbon Bees
On another note, I’ve been going to the Minnesota State Fair each summer since my parents first took me in 1992, and I’ve always enjoyed it a lot. One exhibit at the Fair I visit each time is the Bee and Honey exhibit at the Agriculture Horticulture building. Since we’ve been making honey with our bees, I thought it would be fun to enter it into the State Fair’s honey competition.
When I stopped by the Bee and Honey exhibit on the first day to see how we did, I was both surprised and excited to see my name with the “First Prize Premium” blue ribbon next to it. (It was my name because I was the one who set up the account for it.) I mean, I wasn’t expecting us to get 1st place right away, being newcomers to the beekeeping game.
“I was very surprised,” Ward adds. “Considering it was our first year doing it, I didn’t really think we had much of a chance. But I knew our honey was good and that the judges would be impressed with the quality and moisture content. Thankfully we have met some incredible people/bee keepers in the past couple years that have given us some great advice, including tips on submitting honey at the state fair. Just like everything else here at KA, it’s all about relationships.”View Comments