Beekeeping in Texas

Beekeeping in Texas

Although bees may seem like pests to many of us, they play a vital role in our ecosystem…and provide us with delicious honey! Not only that, but they can help you get an agricultural exemption on your property to keep taxes down. This is a big reason beekeeping in Texas has taken off in the past few years.

If you have ever considered beekeeping yourself, or perhaps were interested in obtaining a bee exemption on your land, we’re here to help.

Beekeeping in Texas is a great way to get an agricultural exemption on your property.


Agriculture Exemption

If you are looking for ways to keep your taxes down but don’t necessarily have the time or resources for cattle or hay, consider either becoming a beekeeper, or getting in contact with a current keeper and allow them to house their bees on your property.

If you have between 5 – 20 acres, you can apply for a 1-d-1 Open Space special land valuation…aka beekeeper exemption…aka PROPERTY TAX DISCOUNT. This can save you thousands of dollars each year in property taxes!

Ag valuation rules will vary by County, so we will focus on the rules in Fayette County. Here is the current posted information:

Land used to raise or keep bees qualifies for an agriculture use effective January 1, 2012. Qualifying land must be no less than 5 acres and no more than 20 acres. Minimum hives for 5 acres should be 6 with an additional hive for every additional 2.5 acres. (Example: 7.5 acres would need a minimum of 7 hives – 20 acres should have a minimum of 12 hives). The hives would be used for the production of honey, wax or for the bees themselves. The hives are placed in groups in an open pasture and must be maintained and kept alive. The agricultural valuation will apply to all acreage regardless of land type. Beekeeping can be used to establish agricultural history.

Getting Started with Beekeeping in Texas

There are a few things you’ll need prior to getting started in beekeeping:

  • Hive – there are many different styles, sizes and types
  • Hive Tool – allows you to pry open seals, detach combs, cut and scrape propolis, and pry frames
  • Smoker – makes bees more docile
  • Appropriate beekeeping attire – jacket with hat veil and gloves (minimum)
  • Bee Brush – used to gently move bees off of comb

The Texas Beekeepers Association website is one of the most helpful and reliable sources for information. This is a great place to find legitimate beginner’s information. TBA has a database that allows you to locate your local beekeeper’s association, along with information on when and where they meet. Not only is this a great way to connect with local beekeepers, but it’s a great opportunity to learn from experienced pros who can guide you in the right direction.

But remember, you don’t have to “bee” the beekeeper of the bees on your property to qualify for the ag exemption; you can simply provide the land. It’s a very common practice for landowners to lease bees from a keeper. Depending on the arrangement, the beekeeper take care of everything, including helping you with your documentation for the County Appraisal District.

“Bee” Helpful

If housing bees on your property doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, you can still help the bee population in many other ways.

Stay Away from Pesticides

Industrial pesticides like RoundUp are deadly to bees. Although you may not have the intention of hurting bees while you are spraying weeds, the pesticides will drift from the target area and can adversely effect the bees in the area.

A few natural alternatives for pesticides include:

  • Eucalyptus Oil
  • Salt Spray
  • Chrysanthemum Flower Tea
  • Onion & Garlic Spray
  • Neem Leaf

Bee Bath

Although you may have never considered it, just like any other living creature, bees need water to survive. If your property doesn’t have a natural water source like a pond or bird bath, you can easily create one.

Most commonly referred to as bee baths, these “structures” are usually made of something as simple as a plant saucer and rocks. Set up the saucer and add tiny rock formations to mimic small islands. Add some water and pollinators will be able to land on the “islands” and drink!

Bee-Friendly Gardens

Planting flowers in gardens is an excellent way to help our pollinator friends. Although it is important to find out which plants are best for the area that you live in, a few plants that thrive in central Texas are excellent for bees:

  • Texas Lantana
  • Yellow Bells
  • Sunflower
  • Morning Glory
  • Milkweed
  • Indian Blanket

Other Fun Beekeeping Facts

  • Bees will travel four miles or more to collect pollen and nectar.
  • Local honey is best for allergies.
  • Honey is a great alternative to cough drops for a scratchy or sore throat.
  • Male bees are called Drones.

Taking the First Step

Becoming involved with bees may sound intimidating at first, but it’s a great hobby to take on and can help you save money on your property! For more information on getting involved check into the local beekeeping associations.

For more information on obtaining agricultural exemptions on your property, contact your local County Appraisal District or County Extension Agent.

Posted by Round Top Real Estate on
Email Send a link to post via Email

Leave A Comment

Please note that your email address is kept private upon posting.