Honeybee Removal – Forced Abscond from a Tree

These honeybees have been in the cavity of this tree for a few years.  The removal was very straightforward – and went fairly quickly.  Alltogether, bout 2-1/2 to 3 hours.

Honeybee removal from a tree. The tree is aged, and has some sizeable cavities within. Bees moved in at least a year ago (the comb I saw indicates longer). This type of scenario leaves (2) options for a live removal. (a) Trapout or (b) Forced abscond. The forced abscond was the right (and quick) choice for this tree.

And secondly: Forced absconds should be done in a slower manner than I did this one. Things I SHOULD have done: (a) – Go through the big cluster of bees that emerged, and FIND THE QUEEN – instead of vacuuming them all. (b) Don’t vacuum the emerging cluster Sometimes that’s the right tool – but honestly – this time – it wasn’t – and I could have taken it more slowly.

Once moved to a hive box in the evening – the bees decided to combine with another small NUC of bees in the box next to them. I probably injured or killed the queen through the vacuum process. Unfortunately, it happens – and was preventable.  I own my mistakes, and hopefully learn from then and adjust my future actions from them.


Ag Valuation with Honeybees

Agricultural Valuation – aka “Ag Exemption” – with Honey Bees

Do you own 5 to 20 acres? Are you interested in saving hundreds, maybe even thousands on your property taxes each year (especially by preventing rollback taxes!)  ?

If so, having honey bees can help you qualify. We sell bees hives with an established colony (seasonally), but for those that may not want to get into beekeeping, we also perform agriculture maintenance with our hives to land owners for a reasonable management fee. We do everything to manage and maintain the bees, and you reap the rewards that ag-valuation provides for your property for the use of your land.

Have our Honey Bee hives to qualify for an Ag Valuation and leave the Beekeeping to Harmony Hollow Apiary.  Call Rex at 469-251-2BEE (2233) for more information and pricing.

November 2022 – we are currently taking commitments for placing and managing hives in Spring of 2023.   Best to contact Harmony Hollow between November 2022 and January 2023.   State LATE deadline for 1-D-1 paperwork is April 30.

Texas law, effective January 1, 2012, made it possible for beekeeping to qualify for an Agricultural Valuation (commonly called “ag exemption” – see below) on property taxes. This is covered in the Tax Code under Chapter 23, Subchapter D, Sect. 23.51 (1) and (2).

An Agriculture Exemption is not actually an Exemption but rather a Special Valuation. If a portion or all of a property is deemed eligible to receive an Agricultural Valuation, that property will receive a Production Value along with its Market Value. The tax savings that a property receives depends on the current Market Value of the property and what type of Ag Valuation you are requesting. For example, Native Pasture areas can have a lower Ag valuation than Dry Crop areas and generally both are lower than the market value that the taxes would normally be based on.  That is dependent on county.

There are several key phrases and requirements to this law. Sect. 23.51 (1) covers the definition of “qualified open-space land”. Specifics state land that has an established agricultural use history for five of the preceding seven years. Record keeping is critical. Registration and permitting with Texas Apiary Inspection Service (TAIS) helps establish this history. Wording of the law states agricultural use to the degree of intensity generally accepted in the area. Each local appraisal district sets their own standards as the accepted degree of intensity.  Most appraisal districts use a minimum of six colonies (beehives) as a standard. That is the accepted definition of an apiary from Texas bee law under the Agriculture Code, Title 6, subtitle A, Chapter 131, Sect. 131.001 (2).

Size of qualifying acreage is not less than 5 or more than 20 acres. Remember the definition of agriculture use. Losing an acre to a homestead exemption has to be accounted for on acreage. (check with your appraisal district to be sure, though -as I have heard of counties allowing the full acreage without removing an acre for the home)

Also, realize the landowner does not have to own the bees. You may hire the maintenance of bees from a beekeeper who owns the hives.   Again, keep accurate and complete records. The wording of the law states “the use of land to raise or keep bees for pollination or for the production of human food or other tangible products having a commercial value.”

Lastly, it is important to stress the fact that each local appraisal district can set their own standards and requirements for the beekeeping valuation. Please contact your local appraisal district for guidance and minimum requirements.   Some counties may want to see a copy of a bee maintenance agreement or land lease agreement as part of your documentation before coming to evaluate your property for ag valuation.  Some require a special report be submitted annually.    Most county appraisal districts now have this information available on the county appraisal district website.

Benefits include:

  • Professional management and maintenance of beehives on your property
  • Annual Transport Registration through the Texas Apiary Inspection Service (TAIS)
  • Pollination for your property
    Contributing to the welfare of the honeybees
  • Annual Report listing harvested tangible products with commercial value.
  • Qualifying requirements for Harmony Hollow Apiary management include:

The site must be suitable for bees and provide the necessary elements for bees to thrive. A complimentary site visit will be scheduled for all prospective clients.  A Honeybee Management Plan is included – and lists expectations of flowering plants that the landowner should seed or plant – for the benefit of honeybees and ALL other native pollinators.

Harmony Hollow Apiary must have unrestricted access to the location of the hives at all times.  (For locked properties – I can/will provide a lock to add to your chain of locks on a gate)

A 2-wheel drive vehicle must be able to access the area where the hives are located and park no further than 20 yards from the hives’ location.

Harmony Hollow Apiary reserves the rights of ownership to the bees, the equipment, and the products of the hives.


TAIS – Texas Apiary Inspection Service – Form for Registering your apiary:
(Choose “Apiary Registration Application”)
TAIS Will return a confirmation receipt of your apiary registration.   For areas where you OWN the hives – You may need to pay the TAIS their fee ( $10) for them to issue a “brand ID number” to you.     For hives that Harmony Hollow Owns – our ID number is marked on the equipment.

Your county appraisal district will have the 1-D-1 Application for you to fill out for ag use of your land.

We are based near the Dallas, Texas Metroplex. However, we cover a large portion of North and East Texas. Contact us to reserve bees for your property.

Registered with and Permitted by the Texas Apiary Inspection Service, Department of Entomology, Texas A&M University

2023 Honeybee Removal Information

Rex Smith’s Honeybee Removal – 2023


If you are in need of having a honeybee swarm picked up, or a full colony of bees removed from a structure – please see the following links for my contact information:  (These same links are in the top menu bar on this website as well.)

Also please understand that most bee removal specialists are overwhelmed beginning in March with calls.  In peak season I personally receive between 30-40 calls per day – and do several full removals per day.  If I do not answer the phone, I am probably in a hive – so please do leave a message and I will return the call as quickly as possible.

My bee line is 469-251-2BEE (2233) – please DO read the removal information links and FAQ links below, however.

I will ask you (a) How long the bees have been there.  (b) How high from the ground is their entrance.  (c) Your location, and (d) for any photos you can text to me to help assess the structure overall and zoomed in photos of where the bees are entering/exiting.

Removal Information:

Frequently asked questions (and my answers):

YouTube Channel  (Please Subscribe!!)

Facebook Page (Please “Like” the page!!)


Rex Smith is a member of the Texas Association of Professional Bee Removers
https://txapbr.org/    #TxAPBR


2019 – NUCS – Bees for sale **SOLD OUT**

2019 – Harmony Hollow has added nucleus colonies (NUC) to the line of products available.  NUCs are a “starter” colony that include a mated and egg-laying queen of known Italian genetics, several frames of eggs/larvae/brood, at least one frame of resources (nectar/honey/pollen) and a frame with foundation for the bees to draw fresh comb onto.

NUCs are $200ea for the 2019 season.  (Cash payment price).   These bees will be provided in a corrugated plastic EZNuc  box – ready to transfer to your permanent woodenware.  They should be ready last week of April or 1st week in May – 2019.

CALL TO ORDER – 469-251-2BEE (2233)    NOTE:  As of 5/26/2019 – ** SOLD OUT **

Pickup of colonies is by scheduled appointment at:

  • Wolfsong Farm near Forney, Texas
  • Locust Grove Sanctuary in Farmersville, Texas
  • If reasonable distance – we can arrange for delivery (2 nuc minimum) – and I can install into your readied woodenware – for a delivery fee.   MANY Customers chose this option.   In all cases – purchase and pickup/delivery needs to be personally scheduled.
  • All customers will be contacted to communicate availability and when pickup dates and times will be scheduled.

Care for your NUC:

After purchase, you will need to carefully move the frames of bees to your prepared woodenware for them.  This can be 8-frame or 10-frame boxes.  The safest way is to pick one of the outside edge frames that is either empty, or has the nectar/resources on it to remove and place first.  Then the other frames can be pulled away separately and placed into their full size hive body.  Watch each frame closely for the queen, and the brood frames for freshly laid eggs as well as various stages of larvae and capped brood.

It is highly suggested that you also have a feeder available for the bees.  Internal frame feeders, or a feeder that sits on top of the brood box for the bees to access from inside will reduce robbing from other hives or colonies in the area, and will encourage the bees to draw wax on the additional frames in your hive and maximize the population (and their hone/food stores) before entering the next winter.  Reduce the entrance down to an inch or so to further reduce any robbing activity from feeding your bees.  Sometimes placing a robber-screen or some blockade in front to the entrance will discourage robbing activity.

Varroa Mite management information HERE. I will treat all nucs for Varroa with 1 oxalic acid vapor treatment.  Please research methods for varroa management – and use a method that works for you.   My link to the left is NOT a comprehensive list of ways to manage or eliminate varroa.

Note:  This is a livestock/NUC hive purchase only – and does not include classes, “mentoring” or consultation on how to manage or care for honeybees.

Bulk Purchases and hive hardware and installation can also be arranged.  Contact Rex Smith at 469-251-2BEE (2233) if you are interested in leasing or purchasing full hives to qualify for Texas Ag 1-D-1 valuation to reduce property taxes.


Harmony Hollow – Grilled Portobello Mushroom Salad with Greens, Honey Vinaigrette and Roquefort

Grilled Portobello Mushroom Salad with Greens, Honey Vinaigrette and Roquefort


  • 1/3 cup – Harmony Hollow Honey
  • 1/4 cup – balsamic vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons – soy sauce
  • 2 cloves – garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup – olive oil
  • 4 (3 to 4-inch) – portobello mushrooms, cleaned with stems removed
  • 1/4 cup – bacon, chopped (or 1 ounce cooked bacon bits)
  • 8 cups – mixed baby greens
  • Honey Vinaigrette, recipe follows
  • 1/2 cup – crumbled Roquefort or blue cheese
  • Snipped chives, for garnish


Make marinade: In container of electric blender, blend honey, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic and 1/4 cup oil until smooth; set aside. Brush mushrooms on both sides with 1-1/2 Tablespoons oil; place on indoor grill or in preheated nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook about 5 minutes, turning occasionally, just until tender. Transfer to non-reactive container, gill sides up. Pour marinade over mushrooms; cover and refrigerate 2 to 4 hours, basting with marinade occasionally. If using raw bacon, sauté bacon until lightly browned. Remove to paper towels to drain; set aside. Drain, then reheat mushrooms 1 to 2 minutes on indoor or outdoor grill, turning once. In large bowl, toss greens with 1/3 cup (or to taste) Honey Vinaigrette. Divide greens equally among four individual serving plates. Halve mushrooms. Prop one half on the other on each salad. Divide cheese and cooked bacon bits among the salads. Sprinkle with chives.

Yield: 4 servings

from:  http://www.honey.com/recipes/detail/13/grilled-portobello-mushroom-salad-with-greens-honey-vinaigrette-and-roquefo

Harmony Hollow – Honey-Quinoa Breakfast Bake

Honey-Quinoa Breakfast Bake


  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 1 cup – quinoa , (uncooked)
  • 1 tablespoon – cinnamon
  • 2 cups – mixed frozen berries
  • ½ cup – coarsely chopped nuts
  • 2 – organic eggs
  • 2 cups – 1% organic milk
  • ¼ cup – Harmony Hollow Honey


Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with non-stick spray. In a small bowl, stir together uncooked quinoa with cinnamon, making sure it is coated completely. Pour quinoa over bottom of prepared dish. Scatter the berries and nuts on top of quinoa, making sure to spread evenly. In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Add the milk and honey and whisk together. Pour egg mixture on top of quinoa and fruit. Bake 1 hour or until the breakfast bake only has a small amount of liquid remaining. Serve warm.

Yield: 9 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

From:  http://www.honey.com/recipes/detail/6/honey-breakfast-bake

Harmony Hollow – Pumpkin Honey Bread

Pumpkin Honey Bread


  • 1 cup – Harmony Hollow Honey
  • 1/2 cup – butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 can (16 oz.) – solid-pack pumpkin
  • 4 – eggs
  • 4 cups – flour
  • 4 teaspoons – baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons – ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons – ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon – baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon – salt
  • 1 teaspoon – ground nutmeg


In large bowl, cream honey with butter until light and fluffy. Stir in pumpkin. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until thoroughly incorporated. Sift together remaining ingredients. Stir into pumpkin mixture. Divide batter equally between two well-greased 9 x5 x 3-inch loaf pans. Bake at 350°F for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let loaves cool in pans for 10 minutes; invert pans to remove loaves and allow to finish cooling on racks.
Makes (2) Loaves.

From:  http://www.honey.com/recipes/detail/6/pumpkin-honey-bread

More Soffit Bees!

This colony of bees was very docile – I probably could have done the whole removal without a bee suit – but I always suit up – just in case one rogue wants to tag me.

A view from within the house while removing the comb. There was NO sign of a laying queen in this colony. No eggs, larvae or brood – and very little pollen (protein source) in the comb.

They will likely be combined with a colony that needs more numbers to survive winter. Enjoy the view!



Valley Ranch Bees – In the wall!

This removal – though fairly straightforward – had the potential to go VERY wrong The wall stud-space was not insulated – I suspect because there was a vent-stack as well as electrical lines in that portion of the wall.

Care MUST be taken when cutting into any unknown void (i.e. drywall) to ensure that no electrical, plumbing, gas, etc. lines are damaged. These bees were very docile – and I suspect they had been in the space for well over 2+ years – even though a neighbor just recently noticed bee activity outside. The comb was a very dark brown color – indicating some age to it.

After the bee removal was complete, I was able to caulk the entrance the bees were using – from the inside – then filled that wall-space with insulation. In this case, the homeowner has a neighbor that is performing the drywall repairs.

Enjoy the video!   Please DO subscribe to the channel, and click the “thumbs up” button.  Comment and let me know your thoughts on the work as you peruse my videos.



Valve Box Removal – No Smoker – a bit of attitude

When performing removals – we don’t always get to pick the ideal conditions.  Environmental factors play a big role in the behavior of a hive.

When it’s windy, overcast, humid, etc, etc… there are more bees at home than usual – and are in defense mode instead of out foraging.

After 2-3 days of rain – I had a window of time to do this removal.  As guessed – they have a bit of defensive attitude due to:

  • Rainy prior (and current) days
  • Overcast Sky
  • I forgot my smoker

What?  Why would you do a removal or ANY bee work without a smoker?  It can be done.  Should it be done?  Probably not…  But with proper knowledge of how to deal with the bees, it’s possible….

Now – a month after this removal, the bees are doing well in the nuc box they moved into.