ROGERS, TX — Beekeeping is gaining traction in Texas.
“I really wish people knew how much fun beekeeping could be,” said Clint Walker III, owner of Walker Honey Farm in Rogers. The Walker family has been producing since 1930 and have been strong advocates for bee agriculture.
As interest in beekeeping grows, local agricultural groups have been helping those establish hives.
“A pound of honey is $10, $12, $15 and on up. And at the grocery store level you can get a pound of honey as cheap as $4,$5,$6 dollars,” said Walker.
But you may be getting what you pay for in this case. Cheaper honey may have additives and syrups in the mix, or have been farmed alongside chemicals. Experts say buying from a trusted honey farm can help ensure you know what’s in the bottle.
Homeowners with at least five acres may for qualify for an agricultural exemption. It’s a big draw for many prospective beekeepers.
“Part of it is spawned by the new AG exemptions here, up to twenty acres for beekeeping purposes. That’s never been the case until just recently,” said Walker.
But there are some challenges that come along with farming.
“We have two new parasitic mites here in the United States. We have a lot of new viruses, new classes of chemicals that impair the bees immune system,” said Walker.
Safety is also paramount. But Walker says paying close attention to genetics can keep hives calm and manageable.
The honey bee population has struggled in recent years. Protecting hives is critical for the future of the animal and the industry but new beekeepers bring new hope.
“More and more people are saying let me see what I can do to help and becoming hobby beekeepers,” said Walker.
The Texas Beekeepers Association is hosting a clinic for new beekeepers in Conroe on Saturday. There are also a number of beekeeping groups throughout central Texas that are always welcoming new members.