Bees are nature’s fertilizer, making gardens and crops heathier with better yields for harvest. With the increasing extinction of the native Texas bees, more people than ever are learning about urban beekeeping and turning to local beekeepers to start a hive.
Texas Monthly interviews a Texas beekeeper and provides her perspective on the best ways to raise bees and tips for getting started.
The majority of people are not experts on bees or bee removal, and won’t be encountering bee hives regularly like we do at Little Giant Beekeepers. When a homeowner discovers a nest, their main concern is around whether or not they will get stung. It’s tempting to ‘let sleeping bees lie’ and put off dealing with removal until later on. Once you find a hive on your property we recommend having a professional take a look at it right away. Here’s why.
A small hive can quickly become a major nuisance thanks to those busy bees. Around springtime, they are spreading out to find new homes and laying eggs. Queens can reproduce at alarming rates producing thousands of eggs each day. Bees also have a short lifespan and are continuously reproducing during the warmer months. The tiny hive that you see now could double or triple in size, potentially housing twenty thousand bees by midsummer.
Bee hives are containers for everything a bee needs to survive, including pollen, larvae, honey, and all the other worker bees. New colonies may only weigh a few pounds. In an established active hive it’s not uncommon for there to be over 100 pounds of honey within the combs. This makes a simple removal process much more difficult and potentially messy.
Bees which start as a little buzz in your garden can quickly take over your house or property. As the hives grow, the bees invade your propery and keep building out, filling whatever space they find. If the bees take over an out of the way space, or somewhere that is hard to access, then you may not be aware of them until they’ve grown much larger. If this happens inside one of your walls, you will have a substantial area covered in a bee hive within a few months.
Because the majority of bee colonies won’t survive the cold winter, they are extremely efficient at what they do. They have a limited time to get everything finished and set up for the next year. In early spring, the hibernating queens and larvae wake up and get right back to work. This is a common time to see swarms flying around as they are searching for their next hive location.
Bees have a short lifespan of about 3 to 6 weeks during the active season. The queen in each colony can lay several thousand eggs in a day. The process to reproduce is only around 20 days, so new bees are being generated exponentially throughout the early season. Once the swarm has chosen a place to start building, the hive can grow to be several pounds within the first week or two.
Honeybees buzzing around your property may be a welcome addition for gardeners and naturists. Unfortunately, their beehives can cause significant structural damage to your home if left unchecked. When you hear or see bees gathering in a certain area near your home, it’s time to call the bee removal experts for help.
The most common damage caused by bees is not from the bees themselves but from the wax and honey. Honey is a great attractor of other creatures such as small rodents and other insects. Those types of pests will inflict their own kind of damage when trying to get to the hive.
When bees abandon a hive or begin spreading to other areas, the honey left behind is likely to drip and even ferment. Homeowners will first notice a strange smell coming from the area, and then a corresponding stain on the walls or ceilings. That is a sure sign that honey has made its way out of the hive and into your structure.