My name is Jan Kuchta. I am the father of a good child, the husband of a gorgeous woman, a beekeeper of a few beehives, and I am also a change management analyst at a company called Zodiac Aerospace. This profession at Zodiac Aerospace was a gift for me when I was looking for a job shortly after the financial crisis in 2011. Working with airplanes and all its equipment is really cool. I am originally from Slovakia, but when I met my wife, I decided to move closer, first to Prague and then to Pilsen. My favourite thing about Pilsen is that it probably has the best beer in the world!
Outside of my job, I love beekeeping. I first became interested in beekeeping at the age of 16. My friend was starting a beekeeping business with around 500 beehives. I spent my holidays working with him – it was very intense, working around 16 hours a day and mostly out in the sun. But it was beautiful working with the bees and being in nature.
My main inspirations and teachers for beekeeping were the family of my wife – her grandfather was a beekeeper and her father also became one. We help each other and cooperate closely. The main work that goes into maintaining beehives is regularly checking them and, in case you need to help the bees, sorting bee frames or adding some from other beehives. Curing and feeding are done in autumn then. Regarding equipment for beekeeping, you need a screwdriver to release bee frames, a protective suit, a beekeeping fork, and a honey extractor.
There is so much to discover about bees but recently, something I found interesting is that there is no democracy in a beehive; it simply would not work. I like to learn everything about bees. Working with them is not dangerous, but I get stung often even if I am dressed up in protective clothing.
Harvesting the honey is the same all year round, but it’s basically just springtime. We take bee frames full of honey, we uncap wax cells, we put it to the honey extractor, run it, and then we collect it. Bee frames are returned to beehives and closed – it’s all very simple. My favourite part of beekeeping is reviewing bee frames with a nicely closed cell with bee babies, the future of the colony.
It might not be so poetic, but in the future, I’d like to put all existing technology together to create a smart keeping container, where everything is automated (only the reviewing part is on you). Then I’d upscale if possible. Similar to my work in tech, you need to plan, do, check, and act (PDCA). I need to always improve – that’s what I try to do at work and while I’m working with the bees.
Beekeeping is definitely a benefit to my tech career because when I go to the bees, I must concentrate on them and work manually. I’m not consumed by job and problems there – I have a clear head and a different perspective. My advice to anyone looking to take up beekeeping is that it’s always easier to get help from somebody who is already into beekeeping. But if you study the process, it’s possible to do it yourself. It is always important to share it when you do it.