Backyard operation transforms Austin beekeeping community into statewide resource hub

Owner Tanya Phillips and her husband, Chuck Reburn, opened Bee Friendly Austin six years ago.

Owner Tanya Phillips and her husband, Chuck Reburn, opened Bee Friendly Austin six years ago.

Image description
Bee Friendly Austin
Image description
Bee Friendly Austin
Image description
Bee Friendly Austin
Image description
Bee Friendly Austin
Image description
Bee Friendly Austin
What started out as a hobby for owner Tanya Phillips to make lip balm, candles and lotion bars out of beeswax has grown into a one-stop shop for beekeeping, education, equipment and honey.

Bee Friendly Austin, a beekeeping education and equipment business in Southwest Austin, began six years ago after first operating as a small backyard apiary. Phillips and her husband, Chuck Reburn, became experts in the craft in hopes of educating the public on the benefits of honeybees and to save the species from colony collapses, which weaken and kill honeybees, she said.

Since its inception Phillips said Bee Friendly Austin has helped grow the local beekeeper community. The business offers hands-on beekeeping classes in the fall and spring in which students learn everything they need to know about being a beekeeper.

Phillips, who has a degree in education, became a master beekeeper through an online beekeeping program out of the University of Montana. Phillips said being well-educated is important to her and allows her to teach about beekeeping confidently.

Phillips also serves as a board member for the Texas Beekeepers Association and helped found Tour de Hives, an area fundraising event dedicated to helping bees, beekeepers, public education and bee research. Tour de Hives has helped thousands of visitors learn about the honeybee and see how beekeepers keep bees in their own backyards, she said.

“Becoming a beekeeper is important to keeping honeybees safe and alive,” Phillips said. “They are such fascinating creatures. When people come to my class, some can’t believe what [bees] can do.”

Moving forward, Phillips hopes to continue educating the community on the benefits of honeybees.

“There is so much to learn about bees,” Phillips said. “[Bees] are the only beings that do not [do]harm while on Earth. They are the most non-selfish being out there.”

Bee knowledgeable


Bee Friendly Austin owner Tanya Phillips said there are many benefits to owning a bee colony in one’s backyard, including pollination and producing honey.

  1. Providing bees a place to live helps sustain populations and production.

  2. Bees pollinate, or transfer pollen to plants, enabling fertilization in gardens and 1/3 of the foods people eat.

  3. Bees provide natural sugars, such as honey, that can be used for cooking in the kitchen at home.

  4. Beeswax can be used for homemade do-it-yourself products, such as candles, lip balms and moisturizers.


 

Bee Friendly Austin
9874 Weir Loop Circle, Austin
512-560-3732
www.beefriendlyaustin.com
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sun. noon-4 p.m.


MOST RECENT

Students at Norman-Sims Elementary School and Austin ISD's 124 other schools across the district will now be allowed to remove masks during outdoor physical activities with the permission of a parent or guardian. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin ISD makes outdoor masking optional, eases other health, safety restrictions

Students engaging in outdoor physical activity will now have the option to remove masks.

House Bill 1024, signed into law May 12, allows restaurants and bars to permanently sell alcoholic beverages to-go. (Courtesy Pexels)
Cocktails to-go are here to stay in Texas: Gov. Greg Abbott signs change into law May 12

Supporters say the change will help restaurants continue to recover from the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Austin's phased process for moving people experiencing homelessness out of unregulated encampments will roll out through the summer. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
City officials detail homeless education and enforcement plan with Proposition B ordinances now in effect

The process that will eventually remove the city's homeless encampment begins this month with outreach and warnings and will stretch until late summer with full enforcement.

Residents will have until May 2023 to obtain a Real ID. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
US Department of Homeland Security extends Real ID deadline until 2023

Drivers will have until May 2023 to get the Real ID, which will be required for adults boarding a U.S. commercial flight.

Susan Bailey was elected president of the American Medical Association in June 2020. (Courtesy American Medical Association)
'I am convinced we will beat COVID': American Medical Association President Susan Bailey discusses vaccine successes, myths, challenges

Bailey was elected president of the American Medical Association in June 2020. Much of the organization's focus during that time has been on vaccine transparency and distribution.

Valentina’s offers breakfast and lunch tacos as well as barbecue. (Courtesy Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ)
South Austin's Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ will move to Buda in next year

The business announced it will be moving within the next year.

Under the city of Austin's phased enforcement plan released May 10, citations at public encampments will begin in mid-June to be followed by arrests and clearances in July as necessary. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin's homeless ordinances back on books May 11, but arrests, camp clearings won't start until July

Austin announced a "phased process" to introduce Proposition B ordinances beginning with one month of outreach followed by one month of warnings and citations before arrests or clearances begin as necessary.

Pfizer vaccines could become available to kids 12 and up as soon as next week. (Courtesy Adobe Stock/Graphic by Justin Howell/Community Impact Newspaper)
FDA expands Pfizer vaccine authorization to children ages 12 to 15 years old

This is the first time people under the age of 16 have been granted access to a coronavirus vaccine.

Butler Park Pitch & Putt reopened to the public in April. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Butler Park Pitch & Putt reopens in Austin; turf fields open in Pflugerville and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area.

I-35 traffic
State now accepting public input on North Austin I-35 overhaul project

The public now has the ability to review and provide feedback on planning materials for a $400 million I-35 project.