Over the last decade, you've probably heard about the problem we are having with bees, and how they are dying off. We understand the need for pollination from the bees for our food supply, but do they also play other roles in our ecosystem?
Overall it is common for people to think of insects as creepy crawlies that need to die, especially once they enter the home. But insects play very important roles in our ecosystems, which we will be discussing with Danny Najera.
What To Expect From This Episode
- [0:00] Welcome to the Summit For Wellness Podcast
- [2:15] Danny Najera is fascinated with the evolution of insects over the years
- [3:45] What are the estimated number of species of insects on the earth
- [4:30] What are the common roles of insects in our ecosystem
- [6:30] Are pesticide usage impacting insects on a global scale, or just within local areas
- [7:45] What insects have the hardest time handling pesticides
- [9:30] Are there any estimates on the loss of biodiversity in the last few decades
- [12:15] When insect species are threatened do they go on an endangered species list
- [14:15] Is it better to focus on native insects in localized areas, or the insects roles within the ecosystem
- [16:15] What should we know about introducing honeybees to our local areas
- [21:00] Is it better to order honeybees from a national supplier, or a local beekeeper
- [23:00] Do diseases among insects spread because of easier access to transportation
- [25:15] What is the mite issue like for bees compared to the pandemic we are all experiencing
- [28:15] What are some great tips for starting with honeybees
- [32:00] Final thoughts from Danny on how to get started with beekeeping
- [34:30] What are Danny's top 3 ways for us to have a healthy ecosystem
Resources From This Episode
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Transcript For Episode (Transcripts aren't even close to 100% Accurate)
Bryan Carroll: [00:00:14] one year ago when the world was shutting down, I decided to try my hand at beekeeping. Since we hear about how the bees are dying and how that can impact our ecosystem and food system, I figured it would be a good way to support my local area.
Little did I know that there is so much more to be keeping than just getting a hive and letting it do its thing. And I also didn't know that honeybees are not a local species to North America. What's up everyone. I'm Bryan Carroll and I'm here to help people move more, eat well and be adventurous. And today we have a little bit of a different episode than normal.
Entomologist Danny Najera is joining me to talk about how important insects are to the ecosystem and what we can do to improve our local gardens and areas to be supportive to these creatures. Now, this isn't a creepy crawly type of episode. There's lots of fascinating information in this show. It's almost like listening to a national geographic show, but in audio format.
So let's get into my conversation with Danny. Danny Najera grew up in a military family living mostly on the West coast and the Midwest. He spent a good amount of time camping when younger and fell in love with the natural world. His interest in animal behavior led him to the university of Kansas, where he received a PhD in entomology, studying honeybee cognition.
His two boys come out on adventures in nature and know more than they think they do about the natural world around them as a result. Thank you for coming onto the show, Danny.
Danny Najera: [00:01:44] Awesome. Happy to be here. And
Bryan Carroll: [00:01:46] I'm curious if you went from the West coast and you were living around the West coast, what drew you to Kansas to study nature and entomology?
Danny Najera: [00:01:57] Well, my dad being in the military, I didn't have a choice of where I lived, but eventually my brother lived there and it was time for me to leave my parents. So I moved to Kansas to kind of hang out with my brother and help him out. And I was like, Hey, you know, there's colleges, there's universities.
I went to Allen County community college, finished up at the university of Kansas with my bachelor's, but met a professor there that clearly was for me and stay for the PhD.
Bryan Carroll: [00:02:22] And what is it about entomology that just excites you so much?
Danny Najera: [00:02:26] Probably the coolest thing about entomology for me since I'm an evolutionary minded person, is that there's probably more evolutionary.
Evidence slash observations in insects because there's so many million plus species of insects that they've tried virtually every way you can build an insect or pretty much any animal. And it's just a matter of looking and, you know, it's one of those things where, you know, you take a sweep net into the bushes and you'll probably going to see something you haven't seen before or something that's going to be completely strange.
And there's just never an end to. The diversity. So curiosity, reigns forever. Yeah.
Bryan Carroll: [00:03:06] So fun fact about me when I was younger, I really wanted to become an entomologist. And my plan was to go and study down in the Amazon, obviously that didn't pan out. But have you done any work down in the Amazon by chance?
Danny Najera: [00:03:18] No. My studies and entomology were less about diversity actually. So the class is taught about diversity, but unlike a lot of my colleagues, which were doing systematics taxonomy, They would go into the South American continent all over the place and collect, you know, who knows what name, a bunch of new species.
But I was, I wouldn't say, I wouldn't say stuck in a bad way, but I was stuck in the fields and in Kansas looking at the honeybees behavior. So I was more on the behavioral end of those things.
Bryan Carroll: [00:03:46] Is there an estimate how many insects are on the earth?
Danny Najera: [00:03:51] The estimates when I was in college studying.
Entomology was just under a million species. Now I think it's about 1.3 million species of insects with probably five to 10 million in terms of the conservative estimates in terms of what we'll find when we're sort of done, I guess, although from the evolutionary perspective, there's never a done point, right.
Things are constantly in flux. Right.
Bryan Carroll: [00:04:18] Right. And it's kind of interesting because a lot of people are. It feel fearful or gross out by insects. However, they do have some important roles in the ecosystem on the world. So what are some of the common roles of insects with our ecosystem?
Danny Najera: [00:04:33] Well, I think when you think about insects, obviously I think they're gorgeous.
Some people don't, but when it comes to the ecosystem, one of the most important things is like any animal. They do consumption, they eat other forms of life that could be eating plants that could be eating dead material that could be eating lives out of their animals. So the processing of matter and the cycling of nutrients and energy is huge.
I remember learning a statistic that in most ecosystems, if you removed just the insects like termites and ants within a month, there'd be about an inch worth of dead things on the floor that weren't processed. And another way to think about this is whenever you're out in the ecosystem is in, it's less common in the Pacific Northwest, but many of the ecosystems of the planet.
The ants, the termites, they basically walk every single inch of the ecosystem every single day. Every tree, every branch, every piece of dirt, they're just absolutely everywhere. So it's pretty impressive. They're kind of like stewards of the ecosystems in some respect. And then the other thing that I remember learning was when you learn about insects, you really look at an ecosystem and that's what the insects have chosen not to eat.
Because they're so numerous, they really could just wipe everything out. And we see things like, you know, the locus swarms across the world that just completely ravage and they have this great, amazing balance of doing exactly what they need to do without going a little bit overboard. And so again, you know, the number of moms that are eating leaves, a number of aunts that are chewing on this and that it's all sort of balanced out in a very complex way to leave the ecosystems and mountains.
Bryan Carroll: [00:06:14] That is super interesting. And speaking of like locusts going through and destroying a bunch of crops, there is a lot of pesticide to use on a crops nowadays. Is that impacting insects as a whole on the planet or is it more localized to those areas that are utilizing the pesticides?
Danny Najera: [00:06:31] Yeah. Pesticides play a huge role in insect numbers. However, there's two really important perspectives to view the pesticide idea. And the reason is. I tell a lot of my environmental science students. We've been using pesticides for over a hundred years now, and they're still here. So in one respect it isn't affecting some of population, some have become resistant and that's expected from, you know, a hyper diverse type of organism that mates and reproduces really fast, right.
To form resistance. But there are also those kinds of insects that are not super fast reproducers and those are the ones that are getting really knocked back. Because a lot of the pesticides, unfortunately, are not target specific and they get in the water and then they get into the rivers and they go out to the coast and cause lots and lots of problems, not just with insects, but definitely insect numbers.
Diversity wise are lower. Those that can handle the pesticide, they go absolutely nuts in terms of their population. So it's kind of not bad for those good ones that can handle it and really bad for those ones that can't handle it.
Bryan Carroll: [00:07:33] Oh, so what are some insects that have a hard time handling it?
Danny Najera: [00:07:38] Some of the most susceptible would be things like mayflies. A lot of the water-based organisms, a lot of the water base insects, where the larvae have to germinate or go through their reproduction in the water because a little bit in the water really affects every single cell as opposed to ingestions or the mouse, which can be isolated in the body.
So. That would be the one I would say is most effected. And then obviously there's some of the ones on the crops that are targeted that the pesticides do, do a good job on. So a lot of caterpillars, things like that.
Bryan Carroll: [00:08:10] That's interesting that you mentioned that a little bit in the water can cause so much damage.
Cause a lot of times people say the solution to pollution is dilution and they say stuff getting into the water, you know, it, it gets so diluted that it's not a big deal, but it can be. For a certain species. Is that what you're saying? No,
Danny Najera: [00:08:29] you're absolutely right. One of the solutions for pesticide is dilution and water is an amazing dilute or the, the big issue with what happens in the ecosystem is when you're talking about a river and pesticide use, you're talking about the pesticide use over major acreage in the entire watershed that then condenses into a small Creek stream river.
So unfortunately the acreage of the watershed, you think about the great Plains, basically all dumping into the Mississippi river. It's it's overwhelming, unfortunately.
Bryan Carroll: [00:09:01] Interesting. So yeah, you might not want to live anywhere near those water sources or drink from them. So you, you had mentioned that as we start discovering more species, we're adding to that number where around like 1.3 million species that we know of, but there's also Loss that's happening within the species as well.
Is there an estimate of how much a loss we've had in the last few decades?
Danny Najera: [00:09:28] Yeah, there's been some really interesting papers about loss of biodiversity in general. People have looked at overall population sizes and I think the estimate is in the last few decades, we've probably lost just population size, not species like 30, 40% of animals, which is not awesome.
When you're looking at insects, it's difficult because since we expect right now, let's say there's 5 million insects, max, just as a conservative estimate. If we know 1.3, now that means there's, you know, 3.7. We don't know. So what are their numbers doing? We have no idea where the 1.3 we know we're probably monitoring less than 0.1.
And so it's really difficult to kind of understand, but overall, if you're looking at this species of insects in the last couple of decades, it is definitely going down and all it really takes is asking some of the old timers about driving their car at night and how much bug that would have explained off their car.
And now you just don't have that quite as much. People look at soil systems near rivers and the total number of, you know, macroinvertebrates microinvertebrates soil organisms. And invertebrates in general and it's down, people look at butterfly species, those are down bumblebees people keep paying.
And I don't see as many, we've got a couple locally that were thought to be extinct because they're just, numbers are dwindling and we see one or two here and there. So I think more or less besides those insects that are finding a way to resist the pesticides and other influences, most of them are really getting hit.
So diversity is dropping. And then of course, there's the bigger major trend of some people saying that it's species counts are dropping so drastically right now. And this includes insects that were in this so-called sixth extinction event, massive extinction event on the planet. And. Unfortunately, it does look that way.
The data's pretty convincing and what's really different about this potential sixth extinction event is that unlike the other five, those were caused more or less by events that happened and then stopped really quickly. What's causing this current one is likely human impact and that is not stopping.
And so it's persistent, it's becoming more magnified and more intense. And so we'll begin to see more, more loss. Probably sooner than we'll see gain, unfortunately.
Bryan Carroll: [00:11:50] Yeah. Which is sad that we're having that much impact on the planet. Now for animals, when animals species are starting to die off, they get put onto like an endangered species list or are there lists like that for insects as well?
And if so, is there any type of a program or anything to try and re-establish some of these endangered species?
Danny Najera: [00:12:14] Yeah. The insects have just as much. Option or opportunity to be on these lists. But again, since we don't study them as much, and there's fewer people studying them and there's less overall attention to conservation of insects, the proportion is just completely not in the favor of insects.
So if you look at some of the listings of, you know, endangered species, you know, the mammals have a huge percentage. I think some of them in certain areas are 60 to 80%. For their, you know, groupings and the insects are like less than 1%, you know, if you try and make it, make it equivalent. So it's really hard.
There is one really amazing group that I'm aware of the society. That's X, E R C E S society. That is basically all about invertebrate conservation and they have to take really strange viewpoints, because if you just say. This random bug that a lot of people would just step on needs our protection.
It's hard to get funding. It's hard to get attention. So they're looking at it more from my landscape point of view or beneficial insects kind of point of view, and then lumping other critters in there with those, you know, save the, save the landscape plan in order to save other species. And a lot of people are seeing that saving a species is less effective than saving their habitat.
So. The the die is cast. You know, insects are struggling. There are some people trying to promote the conservation of them, but it's going to be a landscape level probably more than the individual insect species level.
Bryan Carroll: [00:13:47] So if you're trying to save populations of insects, is it better to focus on the native insects for that localized area?
Or is it better to focus on species that perform similar roles within
Danny Najera: [00:14:02] the ecosystem? That is a very great question. So insects move around a lot and we don't know, again from, we just don't have the studies to say how much. So when you have a choice between conserving a native insect or an insect that basically replaces the function of that insect, we pretty much always want to have the native insects.
Sometimes that's difficult for a variety of reasons and specific reasons, but the reason why is because. Whenever we look at an organism and we favor one or two things for what it does. A specific ecosystem interaction. We're missing a whole bunch of other stuff we never even studied. So we don't know what the ramifications are of potentially let's say a hundred different interactions in the ecosystem.
We like forest. So we put that thing in and see what happens. Sometimes it goes in our favor. Sometimes it starts doing other things. So. The native species they have at least been through something, resembling a checkpoint. They have buffers within to make sure that they're stable across all of their interactions at some level.
So always a favoring the natives, but sometimes you just need that ecosystem function. And it's a difficult question to answer when it comes to very specific questions and, you know, Insect people, agricultural people, department of natural resources, they all sit at the table and try and hash this out.
And it's never easy, never, never easy.
Bryan Carroll: [00:15:25] Which leads us into the next section. I want to cover, because I learned from you about a year ago that honeybees are not native and yet a lot of us Get honey bees because we think, Oh, it's helping with pollination and all that type of stuff, but it might not be the best if you're just trying to focus on re-establishing a bee, the bee species overall.
So when it comes to honey bees, what, what are some things we should know about their role in the local ecosystems and what things should be, should we be
Danny Najera: [00:15:54] cautious about. So the honeybee species to me is a very special species in a thousand different ways, but there's no mistake in it. It is absolutely not native to the new world North and South America.
And again, since we didn't have the studies now, and we don't, we surely didn't have the studies, then we don't really know how much they've impacted the local species. But we do know is they will pollinate a lot of different things. And one of the things. That we notice is honeybees prefer lots of different certain, you know, species out there.
And in our neighborhood, that's not weed knapweed, Himalayan, Blackberry, things like that. They will hit other things as well and pollinate them for sure. But unfortunately those three, I just listed are pretty high on the noxious weed list. And so it helps those species get their reproduction. If you watch a patch of flowers at both honey bees and other native bees are flying and pollinating, for sure.
The general reaction is honeybees are very docile. So a bumblebee will just beat up a little honeybee and push it out of the way and say, these are my flowers and the honey would be honeybee. We'll just say, all right, my fault. I'm sorry. Let me get out of your way. And then once the bumblebee has gone, it will return.
So in terms of individual interactions, the honeybees seem to get pushed out, but when the bumblebee goes away, You've got 10 honey bees that are going to be there in this place. So it's really difficult to understand how much volume of nectar and resource is moving around the landscape due to honeybees and how much, you know, resource, if one of the native plants needs to be pollinated by non honey bees.
If the honeybees taken all the nectar, the native bee, doesn't go to the flower as much, and that could hurt potentially the pollination of that native plant. And again, these are all studies that need to be done. Really really hard to do to prove it's funny BS versus not the best way to try and answer that question is to take it in the lab, but then in the lab is not the same.
So it's very, very challenging. In terms of their bigger role, there's no doubt humans and honeybees are linked at this point. Our systems of agriculture depend on them in a variety of ways. People have looked at alternative pollinators and there are options for some things, but there really isn't an option for a lot of other things.
So I say that the honeybee species is very special because it is going to be in the middle of this, this idea, this conservation battle, this future that we look at, and I truly believe that it is going to be a flagship organism to helping move the pendulum back towards a more natural state of the world.
And the reason why is because the bees, the honey bees really support a lot of our human interaction. But it's still a natural interaction, even though it's a non-native species, it's that function of pollination. So we've got to understand, and we can use these honeybees to show and demonstrate that, you know, no computer code.
Microsoft's cool. Amazon's cool. Instagram's cool. But all of the things that they do, they've never actually produced a piece of food for us. Right. So next time we take our bite of an Apple good old Washington, Apple state, right? We have to realize that nothing that humans have constructed have made that Apple, it was cells, it was bees, it was pollen.
And it was organisms that allow that to happen. We may have planted the plants in a specific area. We may have moved the bees near them, but it is other species that we fundamentally rely on in order to have basic sustenance things that you can't live without. So that's a huge thing. And as we.
Understand that relationship with a honeybee. Hopefully we can get it to spread out to all the other species as well. Yeah.
Bryan Carroll: [00:19:36] Interesting. Last year I had honeybees for the first time and I don't know if it's because I was paying attention more or what, but I noticed way more bumblebees in my yard than I've ever noticed before.
And so I don't know how that works or like I said, maybe I'm just paying more attention to it. I
Danny Najera: [00:19:55] don't know. No for sure. Especially the flowers, like after you keep bees a couple of years, you're going to notice flowers and how they interact with your bees. And then you're going to buy flower guides and then you're going to buy bug guys and butterfly guys, one thing leads to another.
So it definitely is more of awareness. Right? So when you start looking at things that fly, instead of saying, Oh no, is it going to stick me? You say, well, what kind of bee is that? When you get honey bees, for sure, for sure.
Bryan Carroll: [00:20:20] So now that spring is pretty much here at this point, a lot of people want to start looking into getting honey bees and seeing what it's like to actually have their own bees.
And is it better to order bees from like the big national suppliers that are out there or is it better to try and find someone local that's able to split their hive and give you maybe a hive that's been able to withstand the weather that is more local to the area that you're at.
Danny Najera: [00:20:51] I will always say local is better for a thousand different reasons.
And I think COVID has shown us that, you know, traveling can be dangerous to a lot of health disease can spread when you're moving. Bees all over the country. So get to stuff local. There is definitely the tendency for local bees to have a slightly better local tendencies, especially if they've overwintered unfortunately for honeybees, if you keep those same bees year after year, they're probably going to be mating with other drones from who knows what colony is.
So a lot of those unfortunately wash out. In terms of those specific circumstances that those bees are better at for this local region. And I think sometimes beekeepers new beekeepers just want to have bees as soon as possible. And so they go with the big companies cause they usually get them a little earlier than the local suppliers, but I think it's worth waiting for the local suppliers.
Again, because of those tendencies, but also just supporting the local local groupings. And maybe, maybe if we don't ship too many things around the country, you know, diseases can be kind of, you know, held back a little bit. So those, those definitely considerations. And then of course, you're going to be paying for the cost for them to ship as well.
Even if you don't pay the shipping yourself at some point, the business is going to put that into their budget, right? Yep.
Bryan Carroll: [00:22:05] And speaking of diseases you're not talking about diseases amongst people. You're talking about diseases amongst the bees. And so our, we went in the insect realm. Do you see more disease within species because of being able to transport these insects and species across a much greater distance than they naturally would, or what's happening with the diseases there.
Danny Najera: [00:22:30] Yes, definitely. So the statistic is something like 70% of the country's bees, honeybees go down to almonds and, you know, beginning of the year, February, March ish, and they all kind of pollinate those almonds and then they spread out. Now there's definitely a transmission that comes out of that. A lot of the companies will try and do medical treatments in order to minimize that.
But you basically condense a bunch of BS, they share diseases, and then you spread them out all over the country. And if I were a disease, I would love that as an option in order to spread around because that doesn't do the beekeeping industry, any favors. Although the beekeeping industry is benefiting highly from all that trade and, and funding and, you know, money and all that, that the business kind of driven aspect of it.
So that's definitely good for bee business, but the bees themselves are going to backtrack a lot of those diseases in terms of the disease issues. Right now we have probably the number one is the Varroa mite and it is in an absolute catastrophic state right now where the average value for most, especially a backyard beekeepers they have an above threshold average, and we've been calculating this average over the last five, six years.
At the college and it's, it's kind of just overwhelming how easy this disease is to spread. Now, this might is technically a pass, but they carry a variety of diseases in them. And as they chew on the bees, they vector those diseases to the bees. So it's fairly, really challenging to keep bees in this world.
And I tell all the new beekeepers, you're a beekeeper and you're a mic keeper. So if you're going to get into bees, start planning ahead with respect to the bites. There is no shortage of information on the web about this. There are at least 14 different ways that you can deal with the mites for your bees.
So it's a matter of animal husbandry at this point. I've taken care of that. And again, and we've got lots of options, chemical non-chemical but it is another part of beekeeping that we're all kind of stuck with. If you get a chance to talk about old time beekeeping and that's kept bees in the 1960s is a very, very different game.
Bryan Carroll: [00:24:39] We're all pretty accustomed to a pandemic or diseases spreading right now. Can you give a comparison of what is the, my issue like for B's similar to the COVID issue that us humans are going through right now?
Danny Najera: [00:24:55] This is a beautiful question. So I'm going to answer it in a very strange way, imagine.
Okay. So if we want to compare how. Destructive Varroa mites are two BS compared to how destructive the mites are, are the COVID viruses to us. It would kind of be like if mosquitoes could vector COVID and we were all living in the swamps of Southern Alabama and going out to eat with everybody. I mean, it's, it's just, everyone's infected.
Everyone is infected. In the honeybee Connie world. So right now COVID is killing, you know, a very small percentage of people. And, you know, in some States you have 10, 20% infection when it comes to Boorowa. We have 90% infection and 40%, 30% deaths. So this is 10 to a hundred times worse, depending on the statistics and particular regions.
If this Moreau was a human disease, nobody would fly. Nobody would drive. Nobody would take trains and planes. It would be a full on warranty delivery services. That's it? Because again, everyone's got it. And with a a death percentage in the thirties and forties, this is, this is full-blown absolute catastrophe.
This is, this is like the plague, but airborne. And it's just, it's it's, it's catastrophic. Perfect.
Bryan Carroll: [00:26:25] I'm glad I asked that question cause it's really good to put that type of stuff in perspective on just how big of an issue it is, but that shouldn't deter people from you know, getting some BS and trying it out.
Danny Najera: [00:26:37] No, absolutely. And one of the great things is because the disease is one that's required to be that is required to be vector. We can target the vector. There was some hope and there might still be some hope that we could target what is being factored. Unfortunately. From the mite. I think they've identified 60 different viruses that could be vectored.
So it's not like we're going to vaccinate every colony against 50 different viruses or something along those numbers. And, you know, I'm sure those numbers have changed as more data has, has come about. But it's, it's easier in this system to control the factor. So unfortunately for us, COVID the vector is it's airborne.
So you can't like not breathe. Right. You have to breathe. But you can't get the mice off the beets. And again, there's again, at least 14 different treatments. So as long as you get the knowledge, come up with a plan, execute the plan. You can keep those mic counts down pretty low.
Bryan Carroll: [00:27:35] So if people are looking to get started with their own honeybees what are some quick tips that you could give them?
An a, what are some ways that people can learn more about how to get started with honeybees?
Danny Najera: [00:27:48] Probably the best tip. If you're going to start with honeybees is start with two colonies. The reason is if one of them is not doing so hot, you can share resources and kind of help them help each other out.
If you just have one colony and it's not going so well, you have to watch it die. And it's horrible. So just be mindful of get to if it's within your budget, if it's not within your budget, you can go with one or wait until next year and put it in your budget. Figure it out that way. The other thing is enjoy it really enjoy it.
Inside of those boxes is arguably the most complex form of life on the planet. There is no end to what you will find in terms of satisfying your curiosity. If you like social species, if you're into complexity, if you want to learn about their cognitive skills, I mean, this thing is phenomenal in a thousand different ways, the genetics are off the charts.
The social organization is off the charts. Their communication is literally off the charts. They're potentially the second most complex form of communication known in the entire animal world. Obviously human languages, number one by far, but it's really a really special creature. And I brag that I can take a little observation colony to a kindergarten classroom, our 900 level PhD class and teach from this single small box.
I can take them to an old folks home. I can take into a basketball court. This thing can show anyone some really, really amazing things. The other thing about getting started is have space. You're going to have boxes. You're going to have frames and it's going to get more than you expect. Initially, things are nasty and sticky and honey gets everywhere.
So be very mindful about that. Don't put this stuff on carpet. It's going to ruin your carpet. Have a nice shed area that stays relatively dry. But ultimately enjoy it because it is really, you know, if you've ever had any other pet dog at whatever, it's a different kind of thing entirely, but it's so much more complex.
And it's hard to, hard to imagine that at first, but I think for beekeepers, once you really start to learn about what's going on, you spend time inside the colony. Things are constantly changing and just it's really impressive.
Bryan Carroll: [00:29:58] Yep. And I would recommend to, and I don't know how you feel about this, but. You could sit there and read every little thing on the internet on how to have the best beehives.
But that's not the same as actually getting a hive and working through this stuff. Cause every single hive is going to be different and you're going to learn so much more by actually doing than just by reading itself. And it seems like every week, your pivoting and learning something new about the hive.
So it's better to just get your hands dirty and get
Danny Najera: [00:30:27] started with it. There's no doubt about that. You know, we offer classes, lecture classes to kind of get you going. But we also offer hands-on. We call it beekeeper for a day. And this is through bees in the burbs and maple Valley, where we have to do something.
We're responding to the flowers. A lot of beginning beekeepers don't know what to do. So we say, come help us work. These hives we'll, we'll all learn together. You can work four or five hives. You learn what to look for, how to, how to do what you need to do with respect to what you see. You go home with your bees.
And you go home with two of your bees and then do the same things. So you're getting that, that expert knowledge, you're getting the experience. And if you make a mistake, it's on somebody else's bees at first, and then you go home and hopefully you've got enough confidence to get it knocked out. Yup.
Bryan Carroll: [00:31:13] And that's a great time to ask a bunch of questions
Danny Najera: [00:31:15] too.
All right. Yeah. Yep.
Bryan Carroll: [00:31:18] Well, are there any last things that you want to share when it comes to insects, honeybees and the role of the ecosystem?
Danny Najera: [00:31:26] Yes, definitely. The, probably the biggest thing is, you know, I'm an educator, so the future is our future, right? So the young generation is the future. Always education is always the tool that we guide our pathways in.
Whoever is in power now is going to switch and it's going to switch with a new generation and I don't want to lean left or right or anything, but understand that, that the young minds growing up today are different. They're very different in the world that they're coming into is very different.
The change that has occurred in the last 50 years compared to any other 50 year period is faster, quicker than any, any other time in human history. And then the last thing is we, we live in a natural world where we are partners in relationships with other organisms and as a scientist, you know, I, I strive to be objective.
So when I say this statement, it hurts me to say it. But at the same time, I'm being extremely objective. And again, the next generation, we need to help them understand what this world is really about. This next generation that is coming out is the most disconnected from nature in the history of humanity.
And if we want to continue to have beautiful trees and butterflies and birds and places to hike. We need to do something different than what we're doing now. And we need to teach those young minds that the bees are important, that the mushrooms are important and everything out there has a purpose, and it has a relationship with everything else out there.
And that includes us. We are one of many, roughly 2 million described species. Yup. Amen to that.
Bryan Carroll: [00:33:04] I remember growing up and catching ants and throwing them into a spider webs just to watch what would happen then. You know, getting outside, getting your hands dirty. And now it seems like this generation they're so engrossed with technology, their phones, whatever it is.
And they don't get outside
Danny Najera: [00:33:20] of her. Yeah. Technology is great. I mean, I love technology. I'm a video gamer. I watch a lot of YouTube, but I, in the back of my mind, I know that there's nothing that a YouTube video can show me in any detail that is going to be more detailed than the real thing. Yep.
Bryan Carroll: [00:33:37] I agree.
Well, what is your vision of what a healthy planet looks like? And what are three things? We, as a species can do to reach that,
Danny Najera: [00:33:45] Oh man, healthy ecosystems would be a number one goal visit the national parks. We can have that world. We can have that world everywhere. If we want it three things I would say, as we move into the next decade and century, number one would be less, less pollution, less habitat destruction.
Less of new buildings and construction and all that. So that's, I think that's really key. Habitat loss is a huge, huge problem, not just for the things that live there, but the ecosystem services that are provided a number to take time to just immerse yourself. Stop, listen to the birds, feel the wind, breathe across your face.
Dip your toes into cold water and warm water. Hike up to some snow and some ice. Understand that. Those are harsh conditions, but life can still thrive there. You can survive there. And then from the wellness point of view, for sure, we as individuals live in a world where, where there's more people than ever in human history, but for some reason we feel more disconnected.
We're harder on ourselves because we look at Instagram posts and everything's beautiful and they're not as beautiful in our lives, but your life is beautiful. And it's more beautiful when you trust yourself is more beautiful. When you take care of yourself. And it's more beautiful when you allow yourself to express yourself.
And so be comforted by the fact that there have been generations in every country that have dealt with war and famine and disease, and they all push through and we can overcome individually the societies that we don't agree with, we can overcome our prejudices. We can overcome our faults and. Moving forward and trusting yourself is the ultimate ultimate respect to the planet because when you trust yourself and you understand your relationship with other organisms, you are just another species.
You're the same as the beetle. You're the same. As the fungus, you have a cat, you have a task, you have a goal, you have an effect and you have a way to contribute. Awesome, Danny.
Bryan Carroll: [00:35:46] You're very well-spoken. I appreciate that. Well, where can people find you and where can they learn more about some of the classes that you put on?
Danny Najera: [00:35:55] We've got a website it's called green river college honeybees through Facebook. That's probably the best place, easiest to reach me. I am a professor at green river college. So email at D N a J E R a. That's first initial, last [email protected] We do all sorts of amazing things. We do nature walks, so you can find me out in the woods, but there's a lot of woods.
So that's where I am most of the time. And it's funny with this new COVID world and people being remote. I do a lot of my division meetings out on the trail. So everyone's always like where's Danny today and there's trees in the background and all that fun stuff. So. Get out, immerse yourself, take time to smell the roses, right.
It's an old quote and it's an old quote for a reason. So that's what we'd like to do.
Bryan Carroll: [00:36:38] Awesome, Danny. Well, thank you so much for coming onto the show and just sharing how insects, honeybees, all that feeds into a healthy ecosystem. I totally appreciate it. Thank you so much.
Danny Najera: [00:36:50] No problem. Great to be here.
Bryan Carroll: [00:36:52] I told you this episode had lots of good information to learn. And if you are interested in raising honeybees, don't be afraid to jump in and try it out. You'll learn a lot in the process and you'll get a nice tree out of it as well. Also, if you want to see all the mistakes and successes I had last year with raising my own bees.
If you go to my YouTube channel summit for wellness.com/youtube, I have a bunch of videos there that show the entire process that I went through with my own beehives all the way from the very beginning to a harvesting honey. And I was able to get 104 pounds of honey total for last season. So you can go to summit for wellness.com/youtube to see those videos.
And always get in contact with local bee clubs to learn more and find out good ways to start in your own area. Next week, we have Phoebe lupine on the show. Let's go learn who she is. What is one unique thing about you that most people don't know?
Phoebe Lapine: [00:37:50] I hate oranges. I have like a phobia of oranges.
Bryan Carroll: [00:37:54] Why?
Phoebe Lapine: [00:37:55] I don't know just this, they smell horrible to me.
Bryan Carroll: [00:38:00] I, I don't like 'em, but that's because of a young teenager. Drinking situations. But other than that, I don't mind the oranges.
Phoebe Lapine: [00:38:10] That's like probably the only time I ever drank orange juice in my life was in a, you know, a desperate college situation.
Bryan Carroll: [00:38:18] Yep. A screwdriver or a five. Yeah. Well, what will we be learning about in our interview together?
Phoebe Lapine: [00:38:25] We're going to be talking about small intestine, bacterial overgrowth, which sounds, you know, kind of Nisha nerdy, but actually affects a lot of people. If you're bloated all the time or ever you'll want to listen to this episode.
Bryan Carroll: [00:38:39] And what are your favorite foods or nutrients that you think everyone should get more of in their diet?
Phoebe Lapine: [00:38:44] I am a big fan of fresh ginger and tumeric and also fresh lemon juice. I think, yeah, drinking a little lemon water in the morning. I'm a big fan of, and yeah.
Bryan Carroll: [00:38:57] In what are your top three health tips for anyone who wants to improve their overall wellness?
Phoebe Lapine: [00:39:02] I would say stress management which could be different for everyone.
But I think stress is just the most underrated root cause of a lot of different ailments in the body. And it certainly has a huge impact on your digestion.
Bryan Carroll: [00:39:17] And it's always good to talk about some gut stuff and figuring out what is causing it. So until next week, keep climbing to the peak of your health.
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