Texas Beekeeping Laws

Beekeeping is regulated in the State of Texas through Texas Agriculture Code, Chapter 131: Bees and Honey.  All beekeepers should read and understand these Texas statutes.  Additional regulations may be put in place by county administrators.  The County Clerk will provide any additional requirements, if any, to local residents upon request.    

Honey Exemption – TX Senate Bill 1766

Honey Exemption Bill (SB 1766) was spear-headed by Montgomery County Beekeepers Association Past President Leesa Hyder (Texas Beekeepers Association Director- Area 4). She saw a need for a Honey Exemption for small-scale/hobby beekeepers. Before Senate Bill 1766, a small-scale honey producer was required to obtain and maintain a Food Manufacturers license in Texas.

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Splits, or “increase” as it is referred to in some parts of the US, are usually performed by beekeepers in the spring.  Splits allow us to recover from winter losses and grow our apiaries with new hives.  Beekeepers have referred to splits as “nucs” or nucleus hives as they are normally comprised of:

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  1. Two frames of brood, covered with bees on both sides of the frame
  2. One frame of honey
  3. One frame of pollen
  4. A new queen (or ripe queen cell) is added to the split/nuc/increase hive either immediately in a cage, or after two to three days.  Once the split has accepted the queen, the hive begins to develop into a new hive.

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As a management practice, splits are used to reduce the likelihood of colonies issuing a swarm.  Beekeepers reduce the colony population by removing frames of capped brood when creating splits, thereby reducing originating colony congestion.

James Ranne of the Concho Valley Beekeepers Association offers his method of performing splits for your review.  James has been keeping bees for decades, and worked for the largest beekeeper (The J.R. Petty Company with about 2,500 hives) in the San Angelo Area.  We hope you enjoy his two part video presentation:

Swarm Season

Swarms are a natural phenomenon in beekeeping that all of us will have an opportunity to manage at some point along our journey.  Once members of your community find out that you are a beekeeper, the phone will start ringing throughout the spring as swarms appear.

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Swarm Cells

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At the point where honey bees become so congested in their hive, the workers bees will choose several larvae of the proper age, and start feeding them copious amounts of royal jelly.  These larva are then nurtured to become queen cells.  Swarm cells are normally found at the bottom of the frame along the bottom bar.  Workers then begin to reduce food provided to the existing queen (put her on a “diet”) so she will reduce her body weight enabling her to fly.  Environmentally, nectar and pollen are abundant, giving confidence to the queen and workers that they will survive.

Swarms start with the queen leaving the hive with approximately one-third to one-half of the bees in the hive.  They travel approximately 30-50 yards from the hive and gather to ensure that the queen “made it” with the group.  At that point, the scouts begin searching for a new home.  Swarms generally will only stay in their initial gathering spot for 1-3 days.  Take a picture, they are awesome to see, then call your local beekeeper to see if the swarm can be caught before its departure.

Travis Lane of the Concho Valley Beekeepers Association provides a detailed explanation of what swarms are, how to manage, transport, and hive them in this 7 part video series.  Travis has been managing honey bees for over 30 years.  His skills and knowledge of managing these phenomenal creatures is unsurpassed.



Websites often take a long time to plan, design, fill with wonderful content and launch without any issues.  Chris Doggett and I have been working diligently with the cooperation of the other TBA Officers and Directors to bring you this new website. [columns] [column size=”half” last=”no”] [/column] [column size=”half” last=”yes”] Traditionally beekeepers have been kind of … Read more