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Austin County - Ag Exemption for Honey Bees
In Beekeeping Laws & Regulations
No Bee Left Behind
Jan 22, 2021
Austin County actually has the rules for keeping solitary bees. It is rumored that a few years back Austin CAD lost a property tax appeal case to an individual claiming that because The Texas Property Tax Code does not specify which bee qualifies for the exemption, then you cannot disqualify solitary bees including mason bees from that exemption. An exemption is given to those that keep solitary bees, and may qualify in other counties. The solitary bee exemption information can be found on page 8 in the attached linked pdf document and below: https://www.austincad.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/AG-GUIDELINES-2019.pdf "SOLITARY BEE NEST BLOCKS – (SBK) Solitary bee nest blocks are designed specifically to attract non-swarming bees like mason or leafcutter bees. These bees are naturally attracted to holes in wood. Beginning in late February and continuing through May nests are built and 6 to 8 eggs are laid per hole. Land qualifying for solitary beekeeping will be valued the same as the native open land. Nest blocks should be constructed and mounted as follows: • Use untreated lumber blocks (2x4, 4x4, or 4x8). • Blocks should be 8 or more inches in height. • Drill holes of varying diameters (1/4” to 3/8”) 3/4" apart and 1/2" from the back of the block. • Roofs should be attached to provide protection from intense sun and rain. • Blocks should be mounted at least 3 feet above the ground, titled downward slightly, and firmly secured to a building, fence, or post (do not allow for swaying in the wind). • The face of the blocks should be oriented to the southeast to catch the morning sun. • Blocks should NOT be relocated after the bees emerge or they will be confused and fly away. • Blocks can be left in place throughout the winter or brought into an unheated garage to protect from woodpeckers. Return blocks outdoors in late winter or very early spring to allow the bees to exit their chambers. Standard practices: • Habitat size, shape, placement, and content:  Blocks should be placed within 300 feet of their food source (habitat).  Choose a variety of plants with overlapping and sequential bloom periods that prefer to receive full sun throughout most of the day. Food sources (habitats) can include the following:  Native plants and wildflowers – Catnip, Goldenrod, Penstmon, Phacelia, Salvia  Flowers – Lavender, Rose, Sunflowers  Crops – Almond, Apple, Cherry, Legumes, Thyme, Blueberry  Refer to http://pollinator.org/guides_code and to http://xerces.org/pollinatorresource-center/ for additional information  Habitat patches should be big and close to other patches with few large trees.  Flowers and plants should be clustered into clumps of one species. • A source of clay should be present approximately 50 feet from the nest blocks. • It is typically not necessary to clean the nest blocks. The emerging bees take care of this. • Protect from insecticides (especially systemic insecticides) which can poison or kill the bees."
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