Current Issue / DU Alumni

Life With Bees

Beekeeper Jerry Webb says bees are a "wonderful stress reliever." Photo: Michael Richmond

Jerry Webb knows all about the birds and the bees — especially the bees.

Webb (BSBA ’54) has been beekeeping for most of his life, getting his start on the family farm in Kansas.

“It’s a wonderful stress reliever,” Webb says of beekeeping. “You go out to your hives, nobody is there, it’s a nice warm day, birds are chirping, bees are flying, and nobody is bothering you.”

One doesn’t have to be a “bee whisperer” to get along with honeybees, Webb says. A regular person who understands their habits will do just fine.

Webb might be expected to relax after a 36-year career in the insurance industry. But, he stays busy tending several hives at his home south of Denver, as well as 25 in Hudson, Colo. For the past 23 years, he and his wife, Bette, have owned the Beekeeper Co., which stocks beekeeping and candle-making supplies. For the past 17 years, Webb has taught beekeeping classes for the Denver Botanic Gardens. He also maintains the Gardens’ exhibition hives at Chatfield. One will occasionally see Webb on the local TV news sharing his voluminous knowledge of honeybees. He’s also been known to run around town (his license plate reads “BEEKPR”) with a “bee vac” to capture swarms of bees to be relocated to a managed hive.

When he’s not about his bee business, Webb occupies himself with competitive racquetball. In August, he won a gold medal at the State Games of America — one more medal in a collection of dozens he’s earned in the past 25 years of competitive play. In October, Webb will compete in the World Senior Games in October.

Webb certainly fulfils the old cliché: He is, indeed, busy as a bee.

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