Beekeepers in Tomball, Magnolia region, say frost effects were mixed

After five days of frost in early 2021, beekeepers in the Tomball and Magnolia regions said the effect on their populations was mixed despite survey data showing a decline in honey bee colonies.

After five days of frost in early 2021, beekeepers in the Tomball and Magnolia regions said the effect on their populations was mixed despite survey data showing a decline in honey bee colonies.

An investigation by the national nonprofit Bee Informed Partnership has reported record colony losses statewide in 2021 to date. Woodlands beekeeper Lisa Miller, a former board member of the Montgomery County Beekeepers Association, told Community Impact newspaper the frost had hit her hives hard.

“The weather this year has been very difficult for the bees,” Miller said. “Speaking to local beekeepers, some of them have lost 25 to 50% of their hives due to this frost. And the other problem after the frost was that it affected a lot of spring flowering plants. “

However, Michael Hardman, the founder of Spicy Fly Honey Bees in Tomball, said he did not suffer the same losses. Additionally, Hardman said he took no special precautions for his bees.

“When the first reports of frost arrived, I watched [the hives] and said, ‘Good luck, guys,’ ”Hardman said. “And we did pretty well. “

Hardman said his bees also don’t have a hard time finding food because they depend on the Chinese tallow tree for their nectar. The tree, which is classified as an invasive species by the US Department of Agriculture, can withstand cold temperatures and is attractive to bees.

Hardman also left enough honey in his hives for the bugs to survive, a strategy BZ Honey relied on to maintain its populations.

In a Facebook post, BZ Honey said it has stored a “larger than normal” amount of honey, which has kept its populations largely intact.

However, food shortages have hit the BeeWeaver Honey Farm in Navasota, located north of Magnolia.

Co-owner Laura Weaver said that although 80% of her colonies survived, the bees were too cold to be properly productive. A cold April and a rainy May also meant that BeeWeaver queen bees did not have good flight conditions to mate, further affecting their populations.

“We had to buy food for them because the rain and cold meant that the flowers they could find didn’t give them any nectar,” Weaver said. “It was a difficult season”

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