ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — Beekeeping across Central Texas is thriving and so are the bees.
“They were declining. We figured out a whole lot of reasons for that decline and it’s going back up now,” Texas Beekeepers Association President Dodie Stillman said.
Which is good news for everyone who eats food.
“Every third bite relies on bees. Some bees are pollinating just about all the food we eat,” Stillman said.
Beekeeping isn’t just a hobby, for some it can be a career. It turns out there’s been enough interest in bees to justify a new brick-and-mortar retail store in the Round Rock area.
Becky Barajas opened “The Bee Supply” in Round Rock just a few months ago.
“The demand in Texas is huge, but the demand for education is even bigger,” Barajas said.
And where there’s honey… there’s money.
“If you have agricultural use or wildlife conservatorship…you can get a discount off your property taxes, there is a whole process that you need to go through that beekeeping is one of the agricultural exemptions,” Barajas said.
You also get to enjoy the sweet byproduct — the honey.
“It’s a natural substance produced by the bees, we take only the excess, we make sure we leave them enough to get through whatever is going on outside right now… the drought,” Barajas said.
Honey bees are fairly resilient to drought and heat as long as they have nearby access to water, but with fewer flowering plants around they will be producing less honey in the summer.
Stillman fills buckets of water near her own collections of hives to keep the nearby bees happy during the drier months, helping this productive insect that’s so important to our food chain.
Click here to learn more about the property tax agricultural exemption