Beekeeping is in right now, and for good reason. Bees are dying at a rapid rate, and people who care about the environment are doing all that they can to make the world a more welcoming place for these honey-making little workers. In addition, beekeeping provides the keeper with local honey, which has myriad health uses and can go a long way in fighting seasonal allergies.
Gabriela Bratkovics has been a beekeeper for years, and she’s passionate about providing bees with healthy homes. Check out Gabriela Bratkovics’ top tips for people who are just getting started with the art of beekeeping.
First, according to Gabriela Bratkovics, you’ll need to spend some time going through the process of preparing your bee habitat. One of the biggest mistakes newbie keepers make is ordering bees before their habitat is prepared. Gabriela Bratkovics recommends first checking local laws and talking to your homeowner’s association to ensure that you’re permitted to keep bees in your area. While some areas welcome beekeepers, others have strict regulations on bee habitats.
Secondly, you’ll want to consider the path that your bees will take from their food to the hive. Bees will take the most direct route possible, and they’ll leave droppings as they fly. You’ll want to be sure that they’re not flying over walkways you use regularly, or over cars. Gabriela Bratkovics recommends placing your hive in a sheltered area. While a hilltop may be a gorgeous setting, it’s not best for bees, says Gabriela Bratkovics. Hilltops tend to be windy and bees prefer to stay out of the wind.
You’ll need to make sure that water is readily accessible to the bees, and that they’re able to enjoy some sunlight. If you or a neighbor have a pool, be sure that a different water source is closer to the hive than the pool. Gabriela Bratkovics stresses the importance of also knowing the flowers in your area, and being sure that the nectar from the flowers will be able to support the needs of your hive.
Gabriela Bratkovics recommends investing in beekeeping clothing to minimize the number of stings you get from your bees. Wash your beekeeping clothing regularly – when bees sting, they release a pheromone that encourages other bees to sting as well. In order to minimize stings, Gabriela Bratkovics recommends washing your beekeeping clothing at least once a week.
Gabriela Bratkovics also recommends enrolling in a class either online or with a local beekeeper so that you can utilize an expert’s skills to answer your questions. Remember that beekeeping is journey, says Gabriela Bratkovics, and you’ll constantly be learning more about how to care for your bees along the way.
Businesses are Struggling Amidst Pandemic, Showing Importance of a CPA, Explains Gabriela Bratkovics
Businesses around the country have been suffering due to the pandemic. With states closing many businesses and issuing restrictions on those that can open, revenues have taken a hit. Although the Small Business Administration has offered relief to some, others continue to struggle. Gabriela Bratkovics, a CPA based in New York, explains the importance of working with an accounting professional.
Businesses of all sizes need to learn how to adjust amidst the pandemic. Gabriela Bratkovics explains that action is needed to avoid having to close. Too many businesses are worried about having to close forever because of not having sufficient revenue coming in.
By working with a CPA, many businesses can learn how to take some kind of corrective action. Gabriela Bratkovics reminds businesses that they need to adjust their budget. With little to no revenue coming in, expenses have to be cut. In many instances, owners are still continuing to spend – and Gabriela Bratkovics warns that can be a mistake.
Additionally, Gabriela Bratkovics has worked with many businesses in New York to determine how they can work around some of the restrictions. Moving to an online model can allow for at least some revenue to be salvaged. Depending on the industry, it’s also possible to move a business to offer curbside services.
Gabriela Bratkovics has had a number of struggles growing up, including living in Romania until right before her 18th birthday. Although she’s struggled, she uses that knowledge to help her make the most of her life in the United States. She feels as though she has a unique perspective on the pandemic. It allows the businesses she works with to gain a new perspective on what they’re going through.
The biggest reason to work with a CPA now is to learn how to adapt. Gabriela Bratkovics explains that businesses need a new model. They need to look at where they can save money. They need to stop the bleeding, as she explains. With the ability to sit down and work through numbers, business owners can learn how they can continue to stay open. This will allow them to make it through the pandemic and continue to offer their products or services within the area.
Gabriela Bratkovics can also work with business owners to show them where they can get financial support. This includes identifying grants, loans, and other options. Congress has passed a bill that is providing support to small businesses that have been affected by the pandemic. Gabriela Bratkovics is always surprised to find out that many businesses haven’t applied despite being greatly impacted.
Gabriela Bratkovics has seen many businesses improve during the pandemic. She urges everyone to book an appointment with a CPA to get control of their finances in order to gain stability during the times of uncertainty.
Gabriela Bratkovics loves Disney. She also loves beekeeping. Aside from Winnie-the-Pooh, what exactly do these two topics have in common? This question may have you scratching your head, but to Gabriela Bratkovics, it’s simple. “I’ve learned a lot about beekeeping from my love of Disney,” she says. “It turns out that they have a lot in common.” In our conversation with Gabriela Bratkovics, she told us all about how beekeeping and Disney intersect. Here’s what we found out during our conversation.
“There’s Always Something New to Learn,” says Gabriela Bratkovics
“There are people who love Disney,” Gabriela Bratkovics tells us, “and then there are people who really love Disney.” Guess which category Gabriela represents.
The biggest Disney fans know that there’s always something new to learn. If you read even one Disney-themed blog, you’ll see that there’s an entire hidden world of Easter eggs in the Disney universe. Whether you’re watching a Disney movie or visiting one of the parks, it’s never the same experience twice.
As we learned from our talk with Gabriela Bratkovics, the same applies to beekeeping. “You never really stop learning with beekeeping,” says Gabriela, who’s become an expert on the subject. “There are more than 20,000 species, and they’re all unique. Just when you think you’ve learned everything, you find something new.” Gabriela is never surprised by new information, though. If Disney has taught her anything, it’s that there’s always more to explore.
Gabriela Bratkovics Loves a Team Effort
“It’s really amazing to see how they come together to build something beautiful,” Gabriela tells us. Is she talking about her bees or the people who make the magic of Disney come to life? “I was talking about the bees,” she laughs, “although it definitely applies to both.”
It’s true. Have you ever watched a documentary about what it takes to run a Disney park behind the scenes? “The important thing is the teamwork,” Gabriela says, “whether you’re making honey or running a park.” There’s only so much that one person – or bee – can do on their own. A single bee, for instance, can barely make enough honey to sweeten a cup of tea. A whole hive, however, can produce gallons of honey.
For Gabriela Bratkovics, It’s Artistry at Work
Whether she’s talking about beekeeping or Disney, Gabriela Bratkovics can’t disguise her passion for artistry. “In both situations, I’m always amazed,” she says. She goes on about the beauty and attention to detail that both experiences have to offer. At a Disney park, for example, Gabriela admires the sweeping beauty of the castles, while in beekeeping, she takes in the intricate details of the honeycombs.
Before we left, we asked Gabriela what advice she’d offer to both Disney lovers and beekeepers. “Always take a minute to appreciate the wonder,” she says. “You’re never too old to find joy in something new.”
Gabriela Bratkovics has always had a love for Disney and honey bees. If you think they have nothing in common, you might be surprised. From education to business structure, Disney has quite a bit of buzz.
Gabriela Bratkovics Favorite Character
While Disney is most well known for creating Mickey Mouse, there have been several bee characters that have made their appearance over the years. These include Spike the Bee, also known as Buzz Buzz for Mickey Mouse Clubhouse fans. Spike sometimes appears as a bumble bee, because he can sting more than once without dying. Other times, he’s shown as a honey bee making honey. Given Gabriela Bratkovics love for bees, Spike is one of her favorite Disney characters.
Disney Philosophy and Business Structure
Walt Disney once described his role in the company as that of a honey bee, saying “Sometimes I think of myself as a little bee. I go from one area of the studio to another and gather pollen and sort of stimulate everybody. I guess that’s the job I do.” The Disney Corporation also uses a hive like approach to management. Also known as the participatory approach. It allows ideas to flow both ways, and puts upper management in the center of things instead of the top.
The Honey Bee-stro
Gabriela Bratkovics loves that Disney World goes to great lengths to be “the happiest place on earth”, and she has always loved visiting. She is also a beekeeper, and is very passionate about raising awareness about bees and their impact on the environment. For the last three years, Disney has been working to raise awareness as well, by making bees and honey an integral part of the EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival with the Honey Bee-stro.
The Honey Bee-stro is sponsored by the National Honey Foundation. Menu options like honey tandoori chicken flatbread allow guests to experience honey in new ways. Guests can also find unique types of honey, including buckwheat and orange blossom.
For bee lovers like Gabriela Bratkovics, the sweetest part of the Honey Beestro is the education it provides to the public. Educational materials on display show how bees make honey, the steps it takes to get honey from bee to bottle, and how beekeepers work with bees to get honey. In true Disney fashion, the education is full of fun. There’s even a scavenger hunt. Guests can go on the hunt and search for Spike the bee, and discover what flower he is pollinating. Fun prizes are awarded for participating in the scavenger hunt.
Gabriela Bratkovics came from humble beginnings in Romania. She grew up with food rations. She came to America at 18, and sought a college education. She did well, but never forgot her roots and childhood struggles. She now cares for her bees, and takes pride in knowing that bees also aid in agriculture.
Starting beekeeping as a backyard hobbyist is quite rewarding, says Gabriela Bratkovics. There are a number of methods of raising bees and the rewards are amazing, she explains. The products you’ll get from raising the bees will vary, however. This all depends on the type of bees you choose and how they are harvested each year. Here, Gabriela Bratkovics talks about some things you’ll want to look for when choosing which honeybees to get for your backyard hive.
There are many bees to choose from, says Gabriela Bratkovics. Some experts say there are seven biological families of bees with nearly 20,000 species. However, only about seven species are popular with beekeepers in the United States, with the most popular being the Western honeybee.
If you’re keeping bees because of the honey and byproducts, you’ll want to make sure you get bees that make honey, says Gabriela Bratkovics. Not every bee makes enough honey to harvest, she adds.
Honey is a natural sweetener that is a byproduct of the beekeeping industry and comes in several varieties that depend on the biochemical composition, nectar source, and processing methods, she says. The type of bee you choose also reflects the type of honey you’ll get, she says, and not all honey tastes the same. Based on its texture, honey can come unprocessed as with honeycomb or as a liquid, granulated, chunked or creamed. The flowers that the bees pollinate also have an effect on the taste. A lot of it depends on where you live, too, since some bees do better in different climates.
If you want bees just for the pollination they’ll provide your garden or farm, you might want a different type of bee, she says. While all bees have different traits, you’ll choose the traits that are most important to you.
There is not one right answer, Gabriela Bratkovics says. For example, some bees are more prone to mites than other bees. Some bees have longer proboscis (tongues) and can reach more flowers than other bees. Some bees are gentler than others while others are more prone to swarming, and some bees are more winter hardy than others. There are many choices and it just depends on what your goals are, she explains.
When you go to buy your queen bee, says Gabriela Bratkovics, you’ll be able to do more research based on what the seller has available. They should be able to educate you further on the specific types of bees they have and the pros and cons of each. I also recommend looking into some online courses* about beekeeping or getting an encyclopedia that tells you everything you’ll need to know. Lastly, your local cooperative should be able to direct you to someone to ask about specific bees for your area.
Gabriela Bratkovics of White Plains has been keeping bees in her backyard for few years now. It’s a hobby she really enjoys that she found years ago after her children were older. She says it satisfies both her need for saving the environment and being penny-wise and thrifty. Every year after harvest time, Gabriela Bratkovics says she is asked how to get started in beekeeping. “The honey is just so good!” she says. Here, she talks about the materials you’ll need to begin beekeeping as a backyard hobbyist.
“It’s easy to get started,” Gabriela Bratkovics says. “I did a lot of research and read a lot of books,” she adds, “so it’s all second nature to me now.” She says the first thing she would recommend is to get an education by buying an encyclopedia on beekeeping. “There are so many good references out there now,” she adds. Just go on Amazon and look at the ratings and reviews. “A great book I’d recommend for learning all about it is The Backyard Beekeeper: An Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Keeping Bees in Your Yard and Garden*, by Kim Flottum. It has everything you need to get started,” she adds.
One of the first things you’ll need to do is order your bees, Gabriela Bratkovics says. “That might seem counterintuitive to order the bees before you have any equipment. However, the bees won’t be ready until April or May,” she says. Most people order their bees in January, so be sure you’ve done your homework prior to then, she adds.
Next, you’ll need to decide what type of hive system you want. The two major types are vertical and horizontal. The vertical system is called the Langstroth hive in which the boxes are stacked on top of each other, and the boxes are pulled out like drawers to access the honey. Each box contains the frames where the bees build their combs and store the honey. The other system is horizontal. With this one, the boxes are arranged side by side, and you pull the box upwards to remove it. “Either one will work fine,” Gabriela Bratkovics of White Plains adds, “but I’d recommend starting out with a single-story hive. You can add more later.”
A good website to check out is Barnyard Bees*, Gabriela Bratkovics says. They have just about everything you’ll need for the bees, a hive, and the rest of your materials. Another idea is to check for used equipment on your local online agricultural forum, she adds. Occasionally, you’ll find someone who is getting rid of theirs, and you can get a good deal.
Some of the other materials you’ll need right away are protective clothing, a smoker, and a bee brush. Gabriela Bratkovics of White Plains says her best recommendation, however, is the beekeeping encyclopedia. Just by reading a few good references and watching some videos, you’ll be able to learn so much, she says. “It’s so easy to do and so rewarding, especially at harvest time,” she adds.
The Backyard Beekeeper: An Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Keeping Bees in Your Yard and Garden* – https://www.amazon.com/Backyard-Beekeeper-4th-Absolute-Beginners/dp/1631593323
Barnyard Bees* – https://barnyardbees.com/
Gabriela Bratkovics of White Plains knows all about bees. For the past three years, she has turned her backyard into a swarming oasis of sweetness. “It’s fascinating to observe bees and the way they interact with each other,” she says. Here, Gabriela Bratkovics talks about beekeeping, what’s she learned about bees, and how she got started in her most favorite hobby of all time.
“Many people aren’t aware there are different types of bees,” Gabriela Bratkovics says. She said she decided on honeybees since she knew the honeybee population had been declining and honeybees are very gentle to start with. “Did you know there are over 20,000 types of bees?” she asks. When I found a great book on honeybees, I just decided to go for it.
Gabriela Bratkovics of White Plains says each tiny bee can make only about 1/10 of a teaspoon of honey over its lifetime. “However, a full hive can net about 40 pounds each season, she adds. She’s quick to add that honey isn’t the only benefit of beekeeping. There’s also beeswax and royal jelly, she says. “But it isn’t all about what I can get from the bees,” she explains. “Honeybees are incredibly interesting creatures and tending them is actually very relaxing to me.” Gabriela Bratkovics says she has a mutually rewarding relationship with her bees. “I feel like I’m doing my part to save the bees,” she adds, “and they do their part to pollinate the area.”
Gabriela Bratkovics says if you’re considering keeping bees, spring is the best time to begin. She recommends checking your city or county zoning codes to make sure there are no problems ahead of time. “Your neighbors might want to know as well since I got some good advice from a neighbor who had raised bees for years,” she adds. “plus, the bees help pollinate nearby gardens, which helps a lot.” She says it’s helpful to join a beekeeping club in your area if you can find one. You can also find a lot of helpful information online.
Beekeeping can be difficult at times since the harvesting occurs during the hot summer months. You’re usually in the direct sun, Gabriela Bratkovics says, and the bee suit and veil needed when harvesting is very hot. You’ll need to be able to lift about 70 pounds once the frames are full, she says. Harvesting the combs will get you beeswax, but not all beekeepers do this, she explains. “Some like to leave the combs for the bees to keep using.”
Gabriela Bratkovics of White Plains says a smoker for calming the bees is an essential tool you’ll want to get. You’ll also need a fenced yard she says, as well as a water source. There are a lot of small details, Gabriela Bratkovics of White Plains says. “A great book I’d recommend for learning all about it is The Backyard Beekeeper: An Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Keeping Bees in Your Yard and Garden, by Kim Flottum. It has everything you need to get started,” she adds.