Aug. 23, 2021

Beekeeping and ABJ with Editor Eugene Makovec (S4, E10)

Beekeeping and ABJ with Editor Eugene Makovec  (S4, E10)

Eugene Makovec has been Editor of the for only a short time and isn’t well known in the Beekeeping world.  He is working to change that. He grew up helping his father keep the family’s bees, so has a good background in the craft. He spent...


Eugene Makovec has been Editor of the American Bee Journal for only a short time and isn’t well known in the Beekeeping world.  He is working to change that.

He grew up helping his father keep the family’s bees, so has a good background in the craft. He spent time building his career for a few years after graduating with a journalism degree, but when he came back to bees when his father was around to help him get started.

When that happened, he began working with some local associations, drifting to the communication side and working on newsletters. As newsletter editor, he attended many local and regional meetings and he got to meet a lot of the industry leaders. Eugene was awarded beekeeper of the year and stayed active in the group. He pushed the state of Missouri to change the laws regarding home production and bottling of honey, for which the Association awarded him with a second Beekeeper of the Year.

Dadant hired Eugene as editor of ABJ after long time editor Joe Graham retired and after transitional editor, Kirsten Traynor.

He likes working with writers and has good advice for someone wanting to write for the magazine. He is gradually moving the magazine in new directions while maintaining much of what the magazine if known for: Common sense, practical information for all levels of beekeepers.

You can reach him at editor@americanbeejournal.com with questions or comments. And you can view past issues of the magazine at www.americanbeejournal.com.

Links and websites mentioned in this podcast:

Honey Bee Obscura

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We welcome Betterbee as sponsor of today's episode. BetterBee’s mission is to support every beekeeper with excellent customer BetterBeeservice, continued education and quality equipment. From their colorful and informative catalog to their support of beekeeper educational activities, including this podcast series, BetterBee truly is Beekeepers Serving Beekeepers. See for yourself at www.betterbee.com

Thanks to Strong Microbials for their support of Beekeeping TodayStrong Microbials Podcast. Find out more about heir line of probiotics in our Season 3, Episode 12 episode and from their website: https://www.strongmicrobials.com

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We want to also thank 2 Million Blossoms as a sponsor of the podcast. 2 Million Blossoms is a quarterly magazine destined for2 Million Blossoms your coffee table. Each page of the magazine is dedicated to the stories and photos of all pollinators and written by leading researchers, photographers and our very own, Kim Flottum.

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Podcast music: Young Presidents, "Be Strong"; Musicalman, "Epilogue". Original guitar background instrumental by Jeff Ott

Beekeeping Today Podcast is an audio production of Growing Planet Media, LLC

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Transcript

S4, E10 – Beekeeping and ABJ With Eugene Makovec

[music]

 

Jeff Ott: Welcome to Beekeeping Today podcast presented by Bee Culture. Beekeeping Today podcast is your source for beekeeping news, information, and entertainment. I'm Jeff Ott.

Kim Flottum: I'm Kim Flottum.

Introduction: Hey, Jeff and Kim. Today's sponsor is Global Patties. They're a family-operated business that manufactures protein supplement patties for honeybees. It's a good time to think about honeybee nutrition. Feeding your hives protein supplement patties will ensure that they produce strong and healthy colonies by increasing brood production and overall honey flow. Now is a great time to consider what type of Patty is right for your area and your honeybees.

Global offers a variety of standard patties as well as custom patties to meet your needs. No matter where you are, Global is ready to serve you out of their manufacturing plants in Airdrie, Alberta, and in Butte, Montana or from distribution depots across the continent. Visit them today at www.globalpatties.com

Jeff: Hey. Thanks a lot, Sherry. Each week we get to talk about how much we appreciate our sponsor support. They make all of this happen, such as the transcripts, all the great people we get to talk to, and all the technology that makes it happen.

With that, thanks to Bee Culture magazine for continuing their presenting sponsorship of this podcast. Bee Culture has been the magazine for American beekeeping since 1873. Subscribe to Bee Culture today. We also want to thank 2 Million Blossoms, a sponsor of this episode. 2 Million Blossoms is a quarterly magazine dedicated to protecting all pollinators.

Learn more in our season two, episode nine podcast with editor Kirsten Traynor and from visiting www.2 millionblossoms.com, and that is with a l number two. Also, check out Kirsten's new 2 Million Blossoms, the podcast, also available on our website or from wherever you download and stream your shows.

Hey, everybody, it's a rough morning. Thanks for joining us. Kim, how're you doing?

Kim: I'm doing okay. Actually, I'm looking for my waders. I've got to go check my bees.

Jeff: That's W-A-D-E-R-S, and not W-A-I-T-E-R-S.

[laughter]

Kim: It's been wet here. We've got a couple of days of maybe it won't rain, but day after day after day. Not all day, but just enough to make it miserable and soggy.

Jeff: It's really weird, because you look across the country, we haven't had a drop of rain since June.

Kim: I would be happy to share.

Jeff: We would love to have some. As a beekeeper, how do you plan for a season? How do you plan for that? You can't, but how do you deal with that when you have honey to take off and you have winter prep to do?

Kim: All of the above. I have worked bees under an umbrella, and it's not fun. You wear lots of armor, because they're really unhappy. If you don't get it done now, it isn't going to get done, and if it doesn't get done, you don't have bees next spring. You do what you got to do.

When you start out keeping bees to keep bees, not to commune with nature, but to keep bees, have them put food on your table and honey in a bottle, you assume some responsibility. That responsibility is making sure that they have enough good food all of the time, that they have enough protection, all of those things. The weather doesn't care, so you're out there with an umbrella.

Jeff: One of the things I've seen done are beekeepers who use those pop-up tents that you often see at conferences and other events, they take those out, they're easy to move around, collapse, set up, and put them over their hive and work the bees.

Kim: Yes, that's not a bad idea. I've seen that done too. It's on my list of things to get.

Jeff: It's something else to store in your garage. Is there room left there?

[laughter]

Kim: Well, that is as uncomfortable as being wet is, it's not the fires out west and the hurricanes on the east coast. All things considered, I can't complain too much.

Jeff: This really is a tough time to be a beekeeper between the Varroa, loss of habitat, and the weather now. It's challenging. I think that the big thing is to help your fellow beekeeper when they have a rough year to pitch in and help be a mentor in cases or just be a beekeeping buddy as much as possible.

Kim: Yes, and get her done.

Jeff: That's right. Coming up on today's show, we start our two-part series, talking with the Bee Journal editors, starting with today's episode with Eugene Makovek of American Bee Journal.

Kim: I'd like to talk to him. I know him, we've talked a couple of times just briefly. I knew him before he was editor, but not very well. He's way down in Missouri and I'm up here in Ohio, so we haven't been together very much. He was on board before I left the magazines, and I believe we met at a meeting one time. It is not like Joe Graham who was there, what, 40 years as editor. Joe and I knew each other pretty well, but I'm really looking forward to talking to Eugene a lot more.

Jeff: I'm looking forward to talking to him as well. Next week, we have Jerry Hayes from Bee Culture magazine. It's really a book in, two different specials. I don't think it's been done before, has it, other than maybe at a conference?

Kim: I don't think so. A lot of years ago, before I was at Bee Culture, the person that preceded me stood up at a meeting, gave a talk at a meeting. One of the things he suggested was that every beekeeper should be subscribing to both magazines, because combined,they were a wealth of knowledge by themselves. They tended to be a little one-sided or a little different, and I think that was good advice.

Jeff: No, this will be fun. It'll be a good series. Kim, coming up this fall, we have BEEing Diverse, it's part Bee Culture's fall series. That'll be good.

Kim: Yes, first-- Was it October 1, 2 and 3? First week in October anyway. Jerry's got a heck of a program planned. If you haven't seen it yet, take a look at Bee Culture or go on their webpage and get registered, because the room only holds so many people and it's going to be full.

Jeff: That'll be an exciting weekend. In fact, I think we're planning on being there to do some-- I will do what recording we can do and maybe get some of these people on a separate podcast. It'll be fun as well.

Kim: It would be, yes.

Jeff: Those details are being hammered out. Folks, if you really want to check out BEEing Diverse, inspiring leaders in beekeeping, there's a link in the show notes and also on the Bee Culture website. Check it out. Kim, what's going on at Honey Bee Obscura?

Kim: Jim and I, we were just talking about mean bees, and that was an interesting talk. Coming up, it's fall and or it's almost fall, and some of the things you've got to do is you've got to deal with when you extract what you do with what combs. We take a look. There's a lot of choices you can make, and some of them aren't as good as others, so check out that one.

Then one of the things that happens in the fall is you got weak colonies, small weak colonies, bad queens, and do you join them, which queen do you keep? Do you add them to a bigger colony? Do you put two small ones together? You can reexplore a lot of those choices and the good and the bad of all of them.

Jeff: Fantastic. Both of those are important decisions to make in the fall and in the coming weeks and months ahead in preparation for the winter.

Kim: You can really screw things up if you don't make the right choice.

Jeff: I know that for sure.

[laughter]

All right, well, let's get to our interview with Eugene Makovec of American Bee Journal, but first, a quick word from our friends at Strong Microbials.

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Jeff: Hey, while you're at the Strong Microbial site, make sure you click on and subscribe to The Hive, their regular newsletter full of useful information and product updates.

Hey everybody, welcome back. Sitting across the virtual Zoom table from us right now is editor of the American Bee Journal, Eugene Makovec. Not only is he the editor, but he's also a third generation beekeeper. Eugene, welcome to Beekeeping Today Podcast.

Eugene Makovec: Hi, thanks for having me.

Kim: Hi, Eugene. It's good to see you again.

Eugene: Hey, Kim, you too. Looking forward to it.

Jeff: It's fun. We've worked together more this summer than we ever have or I met you first this summer, and now we've been on several things together with the Western Apicultural Society Mini-Conference in July, and now here. It's been fun getting to know you. Eugene, as I mentioned, you're the current editor for American Bee Journal. Might you give us a little bit about your background on beekeeping or your beekeeping background?

Eugene: I'm a beekeeper for about 25 years. This is my 26th year. My dad had bees when I was growing up. We always had about four or six or so hives up on the yard. We were on a dairy farm up in Wisconsin. He told me at one point that he had as many as a dozen earlier on, but it was something that I thought was cool, never really had that much interest in it until I was over 30. Then all of a sudden, I got the edge and took a class. My dad was a few miles away, so he didn't help me personally, but I got a lot closer to him last several years he was alive, because of the bees. That was a cool thing.

Jeff: That's fantastic, working with your dad or at least having that beekeeping in common with your father.

Eugene: Yes. Since then, a couple of my brothers have gotten involved in that too, which is neat. I was the first one. Otherwise, background-wise, I have a degree in journalism and pretty much figured out by the time I was done with that, that didn't really have the personality to chase down interviews and stories and things and maybe was a little too lazy to spend years doing obits and things like that. Frankly, I love to write, but I don't like deadlines. Don't tell my writers that.

[laughter]

Jeff: No, your secret's safe here with us.

Eugene: I used to say, I write best bumping up against a deadline, because that's the only time I write. That's a little too stressful to me. I got involved and I had a couple of odd jobs and photo labs and things, and got involved in printing and spent 20 to 25 years in the printing industry, mostly flexographic in the label industry, and everything from press operator to ink specialist to graphic artist. I had a side photography business for a few years doing weddings and portraits and things. In between burnout and then crowd out from beekeeping, I finally went back to just taking photos for fun again, which was a really good thing for me.

Then as I got more involved in bees, I got more involved in beekeeping organizations. I'm currently doing my second stint as president of Three Rivers Beekeepers, this is west of St. Louis, I think the largest club in the state now, been involved in several locals and also spent 11 years as newsletter editor of Missouri Beekeepers Association. Jumped into that in part just to contribute something, but also I saw it as a way to combine my various skills: writing, photography, graphic design, just put that all together.

I essentially took a once-in-a-while newsletter that looked like it was done by a beekeeper and turned it into something a little more professional and put it on a regular schedule and made it available digitally, which allowed us to do it in color. That allowed us to sell advertising. Within a year, took that from a financial drag on the organization to actually a profitable venture. They gave me Beekeeper of the Year for it. That was a pretty cool thing.

The biggest thing was, a lot of times you take these volunteer unpaid jobs, and they might be good for you personally in some way, you're helping somebody else, but sometimes they pan out into more. In this case, it helped me personally by making me a better beekeeper. As editor, I was forced to attend all these semiannual conferences where we brought in big-name speakers from all over the country, and allowed me to meet people like Dewey Caron, and Randy Oliver, and Marla Spivak. I was forced to attend these talks and take copious notes for our members, so I learned a lot.

It also ended up, in a long-term sense, panning out for me professionally. I owe that initial thing to eventually getting me the job that I have today. I also got in contact with the editors of the two magazines. They advertised in the newsletter. They got a copy every month and occasionally would pick up an article from me. I also got to know the various vendors that showed up at these conferences, both cities and regional ones, including the Day & Nance. I'd gotten to know a couple of the Day & Nance family, which again, panned out for me later on.

Jeff: That's really good. You never know where, like you said, picking up a volunteer activity or something that you do for fun, may lead to greater opportunities in the future. You did say something that piqued my interest, because I have a history in doing a lot of photography and weddings and stuff. We don't need to go too much in detail, but Nikon or Canon?

Eugene: Hasselblad.

[laughter]

Jeff: Good, even better.

Eugene: Started out with Canon just because the Nikons were too expensive for me and ended up doing the Hasselblad thing, which are much more expensive. Funny thing was, I started shooting weddings with a camera that was a year older than I was. Those things hold up over time.

Jeff: They do. The Hasselblad is a fantastic camera. That's fantastic. You're very active in the Missouri State Beekeepers Association. Are you still actively involved?

Eugene: Not as much, though I still go to the meetings. My wife Diane handles the- I don't know, they used to call it the hospitality booth, I think they call it a Beehive Café now, providing refreshments for everybody. I help out with that. Then bum around, talk to the vendors between things and try and attend the meetings while I'm there too. I don't get as involved as I should anymore.

Jeff: You said that you got Beekeeper of the Year for your work, but you got it twice, didn't you?

Eugene: I did. The other one, actually, I'm more proud of. Down the road, several years, I went to work and got a law changed in the state, basically deregulating honey sales in Missouri so that small-time beekeepers like myself don't have to battle and extract our honey in a commercial kitchen in order to sell it through the local feed store and through markets and places like that. That just arose out of me, getting my honey yanked off the shelves of the local meat market and taking it personally. I went through the organization and went to my local senator, and ended up rounding up some people and getting the law changed. That was a pretty neat thing. Actually, I wrote about it. I had stories about it in both magazines, the better one's actually in Bee Culture. I think if you search deregulating honey in Missouri, possibly something like that on the Bee Culture website, you can find the story there.

Jeff: Actually, we have the link to that article in your bio that's on our website. If our listeners want to read that article, you can go to Eugene's bio on the Beekeeping Today podcast website, and the link is right there.

Eugene: Great. I appreciate you bringing that up, because I feel pretty passionate about that issue.

Jeff: It is a fantastic accomplishment, because I remember, as a beekeeper in Ohio, the law changed at that time, much the same thing for- That's when it went into effect in Ohio, that we had to have a commercial kitchen, a commercial grade, stainless steel, everything, that really just concerned all of us, hobbyist sideliners, who were selling honey at farm stands. Kim, is that still the law in Ohio or did they change it like Eugene was able to get it changed in Missouri?

Kim: They must have changed it, because that's what they're doing now. They're selling it at farm markets, out the back door sort of thing. I don't recall a law being different than that. How do I put this? It hasn't been in effect since I've been selling honey here. I still sell honey at farm stands and what have you.

Eugene: In Missouri, this law had been on the books for a while, and just for whatever reason, the State Health Department decided to start enforcing it. All of a sudden, they started cracking down, going to the counties and telling them to crack down. My county, Lincoln County, was one of the early counties to start doing that, but maybe we shouldn't speak too loudly about this or they'll start cracking out on you guys too.

Jeff: [laughs] That's right. You're going to wake up some county health inspector, Kim.

Kim: Gene, listening to you tell your background and how you ended up where you are today, I'm impressed with the similarities of you and I ending up doing something that we had not even come close to planning on doing. My background is in honeybee research, USDA research, and when that fell apart, I ended up in Connecticut.

Got involved in the Connecticut Beekeepers from there, Eastern Apicultural Society, met John Root . He needed an editor, and here I am. We're not all that different, you've got way more training in printing and all of those things than I did. I walked in here pretty much a rookie, but printing and all the things, graphic design that you mentioned. You bring a lot to American Bee Journal. I'm impressed.

Eugene: Again, basically in the label business for most of that time, so I wasn't printing magazines or anything, but I did. I had an appreciation for layout and design and just quality. I see one of the magazines comes in and it's something I don't like about- this color is not quite right or whatever. I know what I'm talking about. If I want to go bend somebody's ear about it, not like they listen to me, but at least I feel better.

[laughter]

I can talk the tough talk.

[music]

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[music]

Kim: The other half of what you do of course is working with the writers. Like most magazines, you've got people that are writing every month and you've got people who've come in and do one time or one or two, and then you don't see them again or don't see them for a long time. How do you work with your writers that are regular writers? Do you got a system worked out?

Eugene: I do have a system. It applies to all the writers, but applies a little bit differently to the regular columnist, in part because they know the system. I don't know how other editors do this, but I make sure I work with my writers throughout the process. When you send me an Article and I accept it, that's not the last time you're going to hear from me till it shows up in the mail.

I go back and I edit it, and make my edits. I save the changes in the document where you can see them. I send that document, typically a word document back to you. You can see what I've done with it. That gives you the opportunity, first of all to know what I'm doing, but also gives you the opportunity to fight about it if you want to. That's something you liked the way it was, feel free to tell me.

Most people say, "It looks good or thanks for catching that or whatever." I do have some people that come back and they say, "I liked it the way I set it. I don't understand what you did here and why." I appreciate those people, because sometimes they can teach me something too. I have made sure that you're happy with it before I move forward. Then I send it on to print formatting and I work with Susan. She does that.

She's our artists. Then once she's got everything laid out, I go back and forth with her until I'm happy with it. Then I send it back to you again for the final approval. I do all this for a couple of reasons. One is, I've been on the other side of this. I know writers don't like surprises. I've had things go places in the past, and not Bee Culture or ABJ, but other places where you send them something and you get it back and they changed something around or they pull out what you thought was a critical paragraph or something.

You never knew anything about it until you read it, when it showed up on your desk. I appreciate that you care about what you're writing, but the other reason is a little more selfish. That is, I have my preferences, my style, the Journal has a style like most periodicals do. If there are things that I like to do certain ways, and more than that, it's a matter of consistency. I like word usages and footnotes, and the punctuation around quotation marks and things like that.

There are things I just like to keep consistent. I want you to see those changes, so that assume when you are going to be writing for me again, you're going to start to save me the trouble, hopefully by the third or fourth time around or I'll say, "Maybe save me the trouble by going elsewhere." I don't know, but we're going to learn to work with each other and in the more smooth fashion.

I was very fortunate to come into the magazine with the main writers that I have, and they're good. I was very, very pleased that they stayed on. A lot of these writers, some of them I had met before to conferences and whatnot, but some of them had never heard of me. I feel we've earned each other's respect. I'm very happy about that.

Kim: That's a good way to look at it. When I was being editor, I was probably less cooperative than you seem to be. I've worked with other magazine editors who went all the way from my way to the highway or the highway to working with a writer as well as you do. If somebody wants to write for you, then do you like to see a letter beforehand or communication beforehand that says I got an idea and here's my background, and what do you think or do I just put the article together and send it in?

Eugene You can do it either way. If you've got an Article ready that you feel good about, you can go ahead and email it to me at editor@americabeejournal.com. The better way to do it, if you're not to that point is to go to our website, americanbeejournal.com. There's a tab at the top called contact or contacts, and it drops down to writers guidelines, and it'll give you some of the ins and outs and preferences and things there, and how to send the photos.

That's probably the better way to do it. Then send me an idea and see if I'm interested in it. That doesn't necessarily mean I have to accept what you send, but at least I'm open to the idea. To me, it's interesting. You mentioned that my way or the highway thing or whatever. To me, the hardest thing to do is to reject an article. It's because I don't take rejection well myself-

[laughter]

-but it's something you have to do sometimes. There are some times where I will accept something and it ends up being so much work on my part that I regret doing that, because there are frankly some articles that don't-- There aren't as well written as you would hope. Kim, I remember you telling me a few years back, after you had picked up a couple of my articles, I asked you a question about something.

You said, "It's not always easy to find someone who is really good at what they do, and also good at writing about it." When you were talking about, I had Colby at the time, but it's very true. You can be the best beekeeper in the world or a very talented researcher and putting that down on paper to make it understandable. In complete sentences that's a different part of the brain and not everybody's brain, two sides work together that way. That's understandable.

Kim: I ran into several of those over the years and you hit the nail on the head when you say, "How much work is involved on my half of this? I got a deadline the day after tomorrow, am I going to get this done?" There's always a deadline, always a deadline. That never quits. As soon as you mail one out, what's next?

Eugene: One of the greatest things about my job though, is every month I have a bunch of really smart people send me articles and I have to read them all. [laughs]

[laughter]

I got her a couple of two or three times, but you learn so much in doing that. I love my jobs for a variety of reasons. That's one of them.

Kim: You mentioned you had a layout and design person. What other staff do you have there?

Eugene: Susan does our design layout. The ones that are listed on our masthead are Susan Nichols, Diane Behnke, she does a lot of different things. She handles subscriptions, she handles general inquiries, she keeps up with databases, and she just does a lot of different things. Marta is listed. She handles advertising, but it's odd to try and quantify them, because I'm the only full-time-- They're full-time employees, but I'm the only full-time ABJ employee. They're Dadant employees that spend time on ABJ. Susan spends most of her time on ABJ. I'm not sure about Diane's breakdown, but there are a couple of other people involved behind the scenes as well. It's hard for me to quantify who does what and how much, and I'm not in the office either. I work from home.

Jeff: Is that by design or is that by COVID?

Eugene: By design. In that sense, it was a smooth thing for me last year and I was happy about that.

[music]

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Kim: How much on the road are you?

Eugene: Not too much I attend some conferences or did before COVID, go to ABJ and some of the other things. I was hoping to attend Heartland again this year and EAS, I plan on going to this year, and they'd said everything was still groups and wearing masks and everything. Now with everything else going on, the Delta resurgence and that, I'm not going to bother with it, because I don't even know if it's going to happen maybe, but I'm going to hold off on that. I've done a couple of Zoom lectures and things like that, but I don't get out and about the way you do it or the way Jerry does.

Kim: You bring up a good point and you, and I and Jeff, and Jerry, and Jerry Bromenshenk, were together a little bit ago talking about communication in the bee industry. What comes up is you are print media and now you are on Zoom media. I'm not sure what kind of media that is, digital or something. Communication--

Jeff: Streaming media.

Kim: Streaming media, go [laughs]o d. It's changing how beekeepers talk to beekeepers, and how that information is both produced and absorbed. I'm wondering where you sit on this now that you're on Zoom.

Eugene: I would say ABJ has a little stagy in that sense, a little more so than Bee Culture. Bee Culture's had more of a digital presence for longer and the website is more active. We have put out-- I was able to talk to the powers that be into putting out our past issues on the website. They're accessible, but on the website to more than just our digital subscribers. If you're not a digital subscriber, you have to go back 12 months, but beyond that, you can access about previous 10 years or 10 or 12 years from as long as we've had a fully digital version of the magazine.

We've made that step forward, I know Bee Culture has a bit of Catch the Buzz daily email blast. We've got a version called ABJ Extra. Ours is not a daily though, it's probably every week or 10 days on average, it just depends. It's something that I do and just when I feel like it's something that I would be interested as a beekeeper. I send it out. I'm not under any pressure to do that. The good thing from my standpoint, we don't sell advertising ads on it. I'm not under pressure to put something in your email box every day. I just send something out, and it's something I feel is more important that can't wait for the next magazine.

Kim: When you mention digital issues, do you wish it was more or less or--

Eugene: I don't know if I wish it was more. we're talking hundreds rather than thousands, it's a small segment. I don't know. I have the printer's bias, I like things in hard copies, I like folding out the newspaper in front of me or I did before. Out where I live, it's not a reliable service, so I'm forced to go digital with newspaper, but if I can, I'd like to lay a magazine out in front of me and read it, it's just easier for me, especially since I stare at a screen all day. Working with my regular job, I don't need it all evening and over breakfast either.

Kim: I'm still there too. I'd want a hard copy, I want the ink to smudge on the paper when I grab it. [laughs]

Eugene: I know that as we get further and further into the future, that those people who have not grown up with paper, are not going to be probably moving the paper to the extent that they are now. It's interesting though, we did a survey, ran in June, and found some interesting things. Our age groups are-- Average age of our readers is close to 60, which is not a big surprise. The average age of the newer readers is not that much younger.

I think it reflects that the age of beekeepers, we don't have a lot of 20s and 30s. I've found in teaching beginners workshops, we have a lot more women these days in those newer beekeepers, but the average age isn't dropping that much. I think in part, it's skewed by the number of people who think, "I'm retired now, I have time to do things like keeping bees," that pushes those ages higher.

I think about that-- I look at that in two ways. One, "Hey, it's cool that you have the time now and you can devote to this,", but I also think most people are getting up into that retirement age. If you're a long-term beekeeper, you're thinking, "Boy, I don't know how much longer I can lag these boxes around." It's hard to imagine people getting in at that age and saying, "I'm going to start lagging heavy boxes around now."

Kim: I think one of the things over the 30 some years that I was there, is we did those surveys fairly routinely. I watched the average age creep down, but like you, not a lot. Delving into that though, why is that? One of the things that I found was it takes money to keep bees. When you're in 20 and 30 and you don't have a house, and you've got kids and a family, and money is, "Am I going to spend it on bees or am I going to spend it on food this week?" That also was part of it on the younger people, but you're right, it's an older group. Now that I'm a member of the older group, I can understand the boxes part of it too.

[laughter]

Jeff: I would think a big part of it is starting another family. There's so much in starting a new family, and at the same time they're probably into a new house and everything. Beekeeping is on the list of things I want to get to eventually.

Eugene: I think where you talk about the families, that's where a lot of those younger beekeepers come from is people that grew up in it, especially in the commercial side of it. They grew up helping with those bees on a larger scale, so they know what they're doing, they know what the commitment is. It's not something they're going to jump into and give up the next year, because, "Boy, this is a lot of work."

Kim: Eugene we've looked at how you got here and what you're doing now that you're the editor of the American Bee Journal, what have we missed about, Eugene?

Eugene: I dropped off there between the background and how I became editor. I was doing that newsletter thing and making those contacts, and I always- I was looking in the latter years of that at the two magazines and I was thinking, "Both of these editors, they've been at this quite a while."

[laughter]

Kim, I'm not saying you're old.

Kim: Yes, you are.

[laughter]

Eugene: I was hoping you'd say it for me, but in any case, we'll move on. I was thinking, "One of these guys is going to step down one of these days. When they do, I'm going to throw my hat in and just see where it goes." Somehow the Jill Graham thing got by me. I sent him an email late '17 and got an out of office response, "I'm retired. See Kiersten Traynor." [chuckles] I was like, "Shoot. How did how'd that happen?" There was nothing I could do about it. It was about a year later, late 2018. I was at a Missouri Conference, and I ran into Gabe Dadant. He was there at the Dadant vendor booth, which I hadn't seen him in several years.

He hadn't really been covering the conferences much on his own anymore. Struck up a conversation. I mentioned the magazine to him and I said, "I wish I had known Joe was retiring." I thought I would put my hat in for that job. He looked at me and he said, "I wish I had known you were interested. Your name actually came up." [chuckles] I thought, "Well, I wish somebody had said something."

Again, I figure there's nothing I can do about it. It was a couple of weeks later in early November, I woke up on a Monday morning, had an email from Gabe saying, "Guess what? Our editor stepped down over the weekend. When did you come and see us?" Then as it happened, I had the next day, Tuesday, scheduled off work to run some errands. I told Diane, "I know what my errand's going to be tomorrow." I said, "I can be up at ten o'clock tomorrow." Dadant is about 125 miles from home, a little over two hours mostly back. Country roads, nice drive. I said, "I can be there at 10:00." I went up there and talked with the three members of the family up there for a couple hours. They took me out to lunch and offered me the job. It was so sudden and unexpected, and the weird part about it was they had said that when Joe stepped down, they ran an ad in the Journal, which I hadn't seen. They got a bunch of responses, interviewed several people before they hired somebody. This time around, I'm pretty sure I was the only one they talked to.

It happened so suddenly, it just, "Hey, come up tomorrow and you're hired." It was funny because they said, "We're offering you job. Think about it, talk to your wife about it. We'd like to know by tomorrow if possible." I went home and made up a big show of thinking it over carefully, and-

[laughter]

-drove back the next morning and said, "Heck yes, I'll take it." Two weeks later I went up- it was a week after Thanksgiving, went up then I spent a week with Joe Graham, because he'd come out of retirement to finish the January issue. He called me a couple of days prior and one of the first things he said was, "Yes, when I decided to retire, you were the first name that popped into my head and I didn't think you'd be interested." [laughs] I was thinking, "Would it have killed somebody to call me?"

[laughter]

Jeff: So close on multiple occasions.

Kim: Amazing. It's fun. Eugene, this has been fun. A little background on the American Bee Journal and its current editor and we hope you're there long. It looks, I subscribed. I get to see what you do every month, and I certainly enjoyed the magazine. Thank you for being with us today.

Eugene: Thanks. Thanks for reading. Appreciate you talking to me.

Jeff: Love to have you back on a regular basis too. Just keep us up to date on events there, in Hamilton or in Missouri. St. Louis basically is what you said, isn't it? You're not too far from it. Fantastic.

Eugene: I'd love to love to come back and talk about the regulatory thing some time, if want to do that.

Kim: That would be good.

Jeff: Eugene, appreciate you being here. Thanks for joining us.

Eugene: You're welcome.

Jeff: Take care. I was really happy to have you. I say that all the time. I enjoy our guests. I enjoy doing a show, but it was fun having Eugene on the show. Having ABJ and your history and background with Bee Culture, having you both on the show. Like I said, it was all a little bit of historical moment there. Not hysterical. Historical.

[laughter]

Kim: I was intrigued by the differences and the sameness of how we got to our respective positions. Neither of us started out to be here, and the luck of the draw on and fate. I ended up here, because I got involved in a Bee Group. He ended up there, because he got involved in a Bee Group. It was interesting to hear, and it was nice to hear that I'm not the only one

[laughter]

Jeff: Yes. There's different ways of looking at that. [laughs]

[laughter]

No, that's good. I think it also points out people always expect, there's a-- I don't know. When I started beekeeping way back when, and there was ABJ versus Bee Culture all the time. The similarities are greater than the differences and they're both great publications. Both have served the beekeeping industry for a long time and have a devoted readership. For the most part, that Venn diagram of Bee Culture and ABJ, the overlap is greater than where it doesn't overlap. It was fun to see that. I was very to have Eugene on the show.

Kim: My introduction to the beekeeping world of literature was American Bee Journal, because that was a journal that was refereed research articles. That's what I was doing. I was publishing refereed research articles. What I wanted was science and that's what they were offering. When Bee Culture came on the scene, I was unprepared. I didn't even know they existed until after I had left research and was in the regular beekeeping world. Like I said, here I am.

Jeff: You know that I wrote one Article for ABJ one time, way back in the past. I don't think you were happy about it at the time. I don't know.

[laughter]

I'm kidding. No, I can't even remember what the Article is. I have to go look at my archive.

Kim: I know you wrote a lot for me. I know.

Jeff: Yes. I'm just teasing you on that. That's good. I'm looking forward to having Eugene back. The beekeeping industry is so small. The print media, both journals are fantastic and Kirsten is a third for basically in the Pollinators with a toe in the beekeeping. It's fun. It's a great three publications, and ABJ and Bee Culture. Fantastic.

[music]

Kim: Yes, I couldn't agree more.

[music]

Jeff: That wraps up for this episode. We hope you enjoyed it. Before we go, I want to encourage our listeners to rate us five stars on Apple Podcasts or wherever you download the streaming show. Your vote really helps other peak keepers find this quicker. We really need you to write a view and let other beekeepers looking for a new podcast know if you'd like. You can get there directly from our website by clicking on reviews along the top of any webpage.

As always, we thank Bee Culture, a magazine for American beekeeping for their continued support of Beekeeping Today podcast. We want to thank our regular episode sponsor, Global Patties. Check them out at, www.global patties.com. We also want to thank Strong Microbials for their support of the podcast. Check out their probiotic line at www.strongmicrobials.com.

We want to thank Better Bee for joining us as our latest supporter. Check out all of their great beekeeping supplies at www.betterbee.com. Finally, we want to thank you, the Beekeeping Today podcast listener, for joining us on this show. Feel free to send us questions and comments at questions@beekeepingtodaypodcast.com. We'd love to hear from you. Anything else, Kim?

Kim: Yes. If you get a chance listeners, pass along the information that you heard here today, and that there's a really good podcast out there that they should be listening to Beekeeping Today Podcast.

Jeff: That's right. Thanks, Kim. Have a good day.

[00:48:52] [END OF AUDIO]

Eugene Makovec

Editor, American Bee Journal

Eugene Makovec, Editor of American Bee Journal, is a 25-year, third-generation hobbyist beekeeper with about a dozen colonies. He is currently President of Three Rivers Beekeepers in St. Charles County, Missouri, has been active in several other local clubs and the Missouri State Beekeepers Association, and is the only two-time Missouri Beekeeper of the Year (2006 and 2015). He made a brief foray into politics in 2015, when he spearheaded a successful effort to deregulate the sale of honey in Missouri, removing honey from the “jams and jellies” law (and beekeepers from their “food processor” status) and thus allowing thousands of the state’s beekeepers to sell their product through retail outlets without benefit of a commercial kitchen. (See https://www.beeculture.com/deregulating-honey-in-missourithere-are-19-ways-to-kill-a-bill-and-only-one-way-to-pass-it/.)

A journalist by training, and a longtime printer, photographer and graphic artist, Eugene wrote occasional articles for both American Bee Journal and Bee Culture before being offered the ABJ job in November of 2018.