In 2012, Texas law made it possible for beekeeping to qualify residents for an agricultural valuation on their property taxes.
Andy Knight and his wife, Sandra Knight, said they were among the first residents in San Jacinto County to take advantage of the new rule about nine years ago. But what started out as a simple way to reduce property valuation turned into a lifelong hobby and a new side hustle.
Andy said he created Magnolia Bee & Supply LLC in 2021 and opened his storefront in February 2022 after returning from the American Beekeeping Federation Conference.
“It was kind of like, ‘You know, I think I want to do this,” Andy said in an interview. “‘I don’t know if it’ll work, but nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?’”
The shop provides all the basic components and supplies needed for beekeeping at a hobbyist level. Magnolia Bee & Supply’s website also doubles as an educational resource with links, videos and organizations for new beekeepers as well as a place to buy hardware.
Andy said he is a member of several beekeeping clubs, including the Montgomery County Beekeepers Association, director in Texas Beekeepers Association, the Magnolia SWARM Beekeepers and San Jacinto County Beekeepers Club.
He said he owns around 18 colonies between Magnolia and San Jacinto County. Each colony can hold between 20,000-80,000 bees.
He also harvests honey in the summer months and sells small portions in the store. In addition, Sandra won first place at the Texas Beekeepers Association Annual Honey Show in 2022 for her homemade mead, which is fermented honey mixed with water.
For beekeepers, the most important aspect is patience, Andy said. On average, beekeepers lose between 35%-40% of their colonies each year.
“It can be challenging for some,” he said. “Failure is seen as such a negative thing these days, but it’s really the way we learn.”
How to start a beehive
Step 1 - Gather supplies & housing
Essential equipment includes hives, frames, feeders, a bee suit, gloves, smoker, hive tool and bee brush.
Step 2- Order bees
Order bees in the winter. Most beekeepers will receive their bees around April. A colony includes one queen bee and around three pounds of drone bees
Step 3- Set up the hive
Introduce the bees to the hive and set out a water-sugar solution until they begin to feed themselves.
Step 4- Monitor the bees
Bee season opens after the Winter Solstice and typically thrives in spring. The population begins to decline in the summer after the Summer Solstice.
- 1010 Magnolia Blvd., Ste. K, Magnolia
- Hours: Wed.-Fri. 6-9 p.m., Sat. 8 a.m. - 2 p.m.; closed Sun.-Tue.