The Basics of Bees with Big Thicket Beekeeping

The Basics of Bees with Big Thicket Beekeeping

Beekeeping may seem like a quaint old world profession, but it is still alive and well in the modern day. Whether it’s as large scale honey production and pollination services, urban beekeeping in the heart of the city, or just a backyard hobbyist, beekeeping has made a large revival in recent years. People are reevaluating their priorities and wanting to become more connected to the land they live on every day. When you slow things down and really appreciate the beautiful Texas landscape around you, one of the first things you will notice is the faint buzzing of our wonderful world pollinators.

As a beekeeper myself, a regular day includes waking up just before the sunrise and pouring a cup of coffee. I fill a mug for the road and hop in my truck to start heading down a quiet country road. I arrive in a sleepy part of the country, small farmsteads and homes on plots of land covered in dew glistened grass and breezy pine trees. I’ll pull onto a dirt road away from the family ranch house and drive towards a half-dozen colorful boxes sitting along the fence line. As the sun starts to rise above the trees, I’ll light a handful of pine straw inside my smoker and start pumping out cool puffs of sweet smoke. The smell of burning pine needles always reminds me of camping. A quick hour or two later, I’ve carefully opened each one of the hives and taken a good look at all the hard work the girls have been doing (with honey bees, almost the entire colony is female, so if you hear me talking about bees I always refer to them as “the girls” or “my ladies”). I’ll see how much pollen and nectar they have been bringing in and see if they have started making that sweet, golden honey. I’ll check on their health, make sure the queen is happy and laying well, then I’ll put them all back together and hop in my truck to go see the next set of ladies down the road.

I have the immense pleasure of getting to do my passion as a career every day. But the main question persists from anyone upon hearing I am a beekeeper, “how do you make a living doing that?” Luckily for me, and for anyone with their own little slice of heaven, is that The State of Texas provides tax relief for landowners who use their property for agricultural purposes which directly contribute to the local and state economy. Known as a “1d1 Agricultural Special Valuation” or an “Ag Exemption” for short, you can get your land appraised at a special rate depending on what agricultural practice you take part in (Farming, ranching, timber, etc). In 2012 the state legislature passed regulations that expanded these agricultural practices to include beekeeping if your land is between 5 and 20 acres in size. This makes owning and keeping land for individuals much more attainable and helps contribute to habitat creation and pollination for a large area around the property.

Beekeeping is a wonderful hobby and can easily become a lifelong passion, but for some the idea of sticking their face inside a box full of buzzing bees can be a bit harrowing. Luckily for me (and for anyone wanting to have their own apiary) I absolutely love getting to work with my girls every day, and I offer those services to anyone who would like to get or keep an Ag Exemption on their property. I offer a full turn-key service where I handle every step of the way from setting up an apiary, to bringing the girls on site, taking care of them throughout the year, and even harvesting the honey produced by each hive! I do all of this to the highest standard possible and ensure that I meet every guide and regulation set forward by the State of Texas and the local counties so that you don’t have to learn all the details of the agricultural tax code yourself.

In addition to helping landowners keep their dream property within the family I also offer a wide range of services including raw local honey sales, hive removals, beekeeper training, and educational speaking on the importance of pollinators and our food cycle.

If you are interested in having your own apiary or just want to know more about beekeeping you can visit my website at BigThicketBeekeeping.com. Don’t hesitate to reach out, I always love talking about the bees!

For more information, please contact Kevin Kohli at bigthicketbeekeeping@gmail.com.

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