"The flowers don’t bloom very long. Agriculture crops kind of stunted, which bees could not pollinate very sufficiently, but bee keepers started in July of last year, July and August, they had to start feeding their bees because the summer was so devastating."
Paul Jackson is the chief apiary inspector with Texas Agrilife Extension, and explained that it was necessary for local beekeepers to continue to feed throughout the harsh winter, but now that spring has arrived , hives are beginning to be built up.
"There’s three types of ways to make a living off of honey bees. The bees go out and collect nectar from trees and they bring it in and condense it down, and take the moisture out of it, and that’s where you have your honey."
There’s also market for pollen. Health food stores sell pollen pills. And then, like in the livestock business, there are seed stock producers.
"You can sell bees. You can sell the queens. You can sell packaged bees."
And then there’s a market for leasing bee colonies to pollinate various agricultural crops like almonds and watermelons.
"We’ve got quite a few migratory bee keepers. Pollination is at a premium price. They’re competing. Pollination is competing against honey production, and commercial bee keepers in our state, they work their bees, we’ll say, ten months out of the year."
Texas is a major player in bee keeping nationally.
"Texas is in the top ten in honey production. They’re in the top ten in selling of queen bees. They’re in the top ten of packaged bees, they’re in the top ten in pollination."
And that includes some long time beekeeping families in our part of the state. I’m Joe Brown, taking a look at Brazos Valley agriculture, From The Ground Up.