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The Bee’s Knees: Hive safely removed from new home in Mason Hills development

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It’s not every day that new homemakers move into a residence not yet on the market. But, several dozen of them moved into the newly built luxury home at 1325 Ackerly Lane in Leander’s Mason Hills subdivision over the last few weeks.

Construction workers found the unexpected guests — a small tribe of worker bees looking for a place to settle down and make a home — when checking progress on the home on June 21.

According to Jon Ray, manager of the American Honey Bee Protection Agency (AHBPA), the bees had set up their hive in the subfloor between the first and the second floors of the new home because of the ideal conditions it provided at peak bee season including heat, low pressure weather systems and a gap 9 to 12 inches in depth to build the hive for protection from the elements and heat retention.”

Toll Brothers Home Builders Construction Manager Kyle Wehring did not want to harm the critters but he knew that this place would not be the most suitable for their work as they were holding up construction. He contacted the AHBPA in order to determine the safest course of action for helping the bees to move to a secure location. Many such locations include property donated for bee relocation. Those donors receive a Texas agricultural tax exemption and jars of complementary honey.

According to its mission statement, The AHBPA is a non-profit organization that has spent its 12 years in business dedicated to the providing of pro bono, donation-based feral bee rescues for residents throughout Texas and the cultivation of the mutually beneficial relationship between bees and humans.

CEO Walter Schumacher created the organization in late 2006, personally opening his own property to the bees of local citizens seeking a safe solution to their unwanted honey bee infestation or swarm. Schumacher began to question the methods of ridding citizens of unwanted bee populations by traditional beekeepers often by exterminating them rather than removing and relocating them. 

In 2012, Schumacher said he came to the realization that the key to saving wild bees was to integrate bees, and beekeeping into urban environments.

“Our goal is to share the case that we can live in harmony with bees,” said Ray. “The Hill Country has a wonderful landscape, filled with bright flowers and beautiful colors. It wouldn’t be possible without the help of our official pollinators. The bees provide a massive service to the community and make a delicious product for all to enjoy. We aim to help people be more mindful about the benefits of bees.”

Ray said those benefits are far-reaching if humans are able to see them.

“Bees need to have plenty of vegetation to forage on and build their hive back,” Ray explained. “In return, we are able to poll any excess honey. All of the proceeds go towards the continuation of bee rescue operations.

This case is not the first for AHBPA in Leander, Cedar Park, Round Rock and the surrounding area. According to AHBPA records, unwanted bees have appeared in Hill Country area every week during peak bee season.

The bees have since been moved to a sanctuary at an adopt-a-hive property in Creedmoor, TX, using special cutting tools to extract the hive completely from the home’s structure. There, the bees will have an efficient working space and will be safe from harm. 

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