Keeping Honey Bees Can Yield Sweet Results

A father and a daughter watch a bee hive inside wooden box during the workshop

by Tony Vindell/LFN

A crash course on keeping honey bees provided a wealth of information to anybody interested in having these flying insects in their backyards or out in the ranchland.

Justin J. Jones, an agriculture expert and member of the Corpus Christi-based Coastal Bend Beekeepers Association, gave a class at the Brownsville Gladys Porter Zoo telling the benefits bees have on crops and, subsequently, on food that humans consume.

He said bees have various ways of communicating such as through pheromones and dances.

Pheromones are mixtures of chemical substances released by bees into a hive or the environment that cause changes in their behavior. This can happen whenever bees are attacked or feel threatened.

Also, bees communicate with dances by circling or wiggling to determine distance to forage.

Although most people are familiar bees for their stings, Justin said these are the only insects that help in the production of food humans consume because they pollinate crops from one place to another.

A bee can fly 15 miles in an hour and are considered to be a superorganism as one swarming colony can produce another colony.

Justin was in the Rio Grande Valley to raise awareness about bee keeping and to relay the idea of having a regional chapter similar to CBBA.

The class he gave was attended by about two dozen people who came from as far as San Isidro, a town on the east edge of Starr County.

Jose Casas, who lives in Edinburg, said he attended the class because he wanted to learn more bees.

“I have a couple of hives back home,” he said. “I am interested in honey production and the commercial aspects of keeping bees.”

Brownsville resident Glenn Simpson said he also has several hives in his backyard.

He said anyone interested in setting up a chapter can call him at 361-455-7433 or call Jones at 361-246-0204.

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