In 2012, Gregg McMahon decided that Denver needed a new bee club. Gregg was teaching his introductory beekeeping classes at Vicki Monroe’s shop: “To Bee or Not to Bee”. This was the original site of the shop and was located off of 39th Ave. and Fox St. in an equipment/machine rental yard. Gregg taught his classes upstairs of the large garage with the smell of engine oil permeating the room. It was an ideal beginning to the Mile Hive Club. For the first couple of years, the club met in this room or in summer weather outside on the patio of “To Bee or Not to Bee.” As the club grew in membership, we clustered closer together with standing room only on most meeting evenings.
Gregg was assisted by beekeepers Kristina Williams and Shava Crocetta to keep the meetings informative. The early meetings had few formal speakers, no powerpoint presentations and were sometimes at the mercy of the weather. That said, we learned beekeeping tricks and techniques as we struggled with mite treatments and bee health. Mitch Gerber, the Club’s first treasurer, who was also an organizer, drew up the bylaws and completed the required tax paperwork to designate Mile Hive Bee Club as a non-profit organization. There was a logo contest somewhere along 2014 and a website was established. Membership fees were $18.00 per year and that included joint membership in the Colorado State Beekeepers Association. A leadership board was established with President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer positions along with two open member-at-large roles.
Vicki Monroe sold “To Bee or Not to Bee” when her brother, who owned the equipment rental business died suddenly. Dave and Ashley Baker purchased the business and relocated it to Littleton (at Wadsworth and Coalmine). Mile Hive Bee Club lost its meeting room and was adrift for a year looking for a new meeting site. Venues were tested and included the relocated ‘To Bee or Not to Bee Shop” (too far and too small); The Mercury Café (too noisy and no parking); and various odd rooms around the metro Denver area. Eventually, the club found a welcoming space at St. John’s Cathedral located at 13th and Washington near downtown. For a time, the church had kept beehives on their roof and were more than happy to provide the Club with meeting space (just so no one parked in the Bishop’s space). The club gives a donation to the church each December as a thank you for their hospitality. The Board decides on the amount of the donation with membership approval.
The Club has had a presence at local street fairs in the Denver area as well as members filling speaking requests for various organizations and groups. Bee and pollinator education have been hallmarks of the Club’s foundation. Along about 2017, led by John Swayze, the club established an apiary at the old Riverside Cemetery. Three hives were installed and managed by volunteers from the club. A small honey harvest is collected and sold with profits donated to the club’s coffers.
The Club has met at the church the second Tuesday of each month for 5 years. Meeting styles have
changed with a “newbee” half hour at 6:30 p.m. followed by a formal meeting and program at 7:00 p.m.
A new board position was created to organize the speakers and topics for each meeting. Club
membership numbers have varied from 30 to 80 each year, drawing in new beekeepers whilst retaining
a few old timers. In 2020, the Club faced the COVID pandemic and shifted to ZOOM meetings. This has enabled a wider
variety of speakers to present and been an exciting new format for the club, although members lament
the lack of gathering.