TXINS April E-News: Bee Buzz: Grow a Bee-Friendly Garden, Meet Brooke Marcaurele, Ask the Agent, Agency Happenings, Texas Trivia Contest, and More!


Bee Buzz: Grow a Bee-Friendly Garden

Bees are vital to our way of life. Without bees, pollination of crops wouldn’t occur. Bees work tirelessly to provide us with our food, but are struggling in the wild. In recent years it has become apparent that all bees are under threat and unfortunately, some have already become extinct.

But the good news is that anyone can help bring back the bees by planting the right flowers and plants in your garden. Bees and other insects need as much variety in their food as we do to get all the trace minerals and vitamins to keep them healthy. Here are some helpful tips to help you grow your bee garden:

  • Replace part or all of your front lawn grass with flowering plants, which provides food and habitat for honey bees, bumble bees, solitary bees, butterflies and other pollinators.
  • Select single flower tops such as daisies and marigolds, rather than double flower tops such as double impatiens. Double headed flowers produce much less nectar and make it much more difficult for bees to access pollen.
  • Plan for season-round blooms by planting at least three different types of flowers in your bee garden to ensure blooms through as many seasons as possible. This will provide bees and other pollinators with a constant source of food.  For example:
    • Crocus, hyacinth, borage, calendula, and wild lilac for spring blooms;
    • Bee balm, cosmos, echinacea, snapdragons foxglove, and hosta in the summer;
    • Zinnias, sedum, asters, witch hazel and goldenrod are late bloomers that will tempt foragers in the fall.
  • Build homes for native bees by leaving a patch of the garden in a sunny spot uncultivated for native bees that burrow. Some native bees also need access to soil surface for nesting. For wood- and stem-nesting bees, this means piles of branches, bamboo sections, hollow reeds, or nesting blocks made out of untreated wood. Mason bees need a source of water and mud, and many kinds of bees are attracted to weedy, untended hedgerows.
  • Create a “bee bath” by filling a shallow container of water with pebbles or twigs for the bees to land on while drinking.  Make sure to maintain the container full of fresh water to ensure that they know they can return to the same spot every day.
  • Fruit trees and trees such as maple, willow, black locust and sumac are great food sources for bees.
  • Leave the flowers on your plants and deadhead them to allow the honeybees to get the pollen and nectar they need. If you are growing herbs or vegetables such as broccoli, harvest it but leave the plant intact. When you are done, let it go to flower for the pollinators and leave it in the garden until the flowers are gone.
  • Avoid using pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals in your garden.
  • Don’t pull all of your weeds. Dandelions, clovers, loosestrife, milkweed, goldenrod and other flowering weeds are very important food sources for bees and are vital to their survival.

Here are a few other flower varieties to consider when planting you bee garden:

  • Sunflowers are a great choice, available in many heights and colors. Bees tend to prefer yellow or orange over red.
  • Lavender is a bee favorite. There are plenty of varieties to choose from, all needing plenty of sun and well-drained soil.
  • Mint and Thyme are loved by bees. They are great for cooking, too!
  • Rosemary likes well-drained soil and full sun. It flowers around April/May. Bees will take advantage of the pollen as long as you prune it correctly.
  • Cornflowers are easy to grow and their blue flowers are a bee magnet. Grow together in large groups to make it easier for bees to spot them.
 We Are Here for You 

Texas Insurance & Financial Services, Inc. is your trusted advocate. As an independent insurance agency, TXINS represents a wide network of A-rated insurance companies, which allows us to find the best insurance policy to fit your needs and budget. We don’t believe in cookie cutter policies and will customize a plan specifically for you. Your overall satisfaction is our top priority. That’s a promise.

TXINS offers complimentary insurance reviews to ensure you are getting the right coverage for yourself, your family, or your business. To schedule your review, contact us today at 800-541-9849 or via email. Together, we will ensure you are protecting what matters most.

 

How to place honey bee hive stands

How to Place Honey Bee Hive Stands

The benefits of keeping your hives off the ground are to keep out moisture, increase ventilation, decrease wood rot, detour pest by inhabiting easy assess, and relief for your back because you’re not bending over as far.


The employees of TXINS are active members in our communities. Here’s a quick list of what we’ve been up to as well as what we have planned for the month.

  • Al Ford will be representing TXINS at the 2016 Central Texas Beekeepers Association 8th Annual Beekeeping School on April 16 in Brenham, TX. Al will be on hand to visit with beekeepers about insurance needs for everything from the hobbyist to large scale business production. For more info about the event, please check out www.centraltexasbeekeepers.org.
  • Marcie Ramm will be representing TXINS at the Georgetown Noon Lions Club Pancake Breakfast on Saturday, April 9 from 7:30-10:30 a.m. at the San Gabriel Park Community Center. Adult tickets are just $7 and kids 5-12 are $4. Go see Marcie in the Georgetown TXINS office and get your tickets!
  • TXINS is a proud sponsor of Relay for Life Georgetown on Friday, April 22. Relay for Life will be held from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m. at Patriot Stadium at East View High School. For more information, to sign up to participate, or to make a donation, please click here. Marcie Ramm will be leading the TXINS team…come out and join her!
  • Lindsey Malek and Celeste Clark helped organize a membership drive and mixer for the El Campo Lady Lions Club on March 10. 
  • Congratulations to the following TXINS staffers celebrating work anniversaries this month: Hector Gutierrez, 11 years on April 1; Colle Moye, 1 year on April 13; Al Ford, 1 year on April 26; and Stephanie Korenek, 3 years on April 29. We are proud to have these amazing folks in the TXINS family!
  • Don’t forget to check out our new Texas Trivia contest question! Be one of the first people to email us the correct answer and win your very own Texas flag!

Meet the TXINS Team
Brooke Marcaurele
Brooke joined the TXINS/Traditions Insurance Services team a little more than a year ago. She has a fun-loving spirit and brings a fresh perspective to our team. Brooke has been nicknamed the “grammar hammer”…beware of her red pen! She is also a music enthusiast and not a day goes by you won’t hear her humming a tune. After a long day at work, she enjoys going home to a glass of wine, her dog, and her husband. The TXINS/Traditions team is very fortunate to have Brooke as part of the family.

To learn more about Brooke, click here.

Dear TXINS:
I would like to start keeping bees on my property. Where is the best place to place my boxes?  – Thomas R., Moulton, TX

Dear Thomas:

There are a number of factors to think about when choosing a site for your bees. Thinking this out ahead of time may save you the headache of having to move them later or even the heartache of losing your bees. It is much easier to start with the best beehive location than having to move them later.

Legality:

  • Make sure there aren’t any local ordinances or zoning limitations on keeping bees in your area. Some outright ban beehives, others allow bees but have strict regulations about how you keep them or the number you can have in one location.  
  • Check with your state’s agricultural department to see if your state requires your boxes be registered.

Neighbors:

  • Talk with your neighbors before you get bees. Some of them will love the idea, others will be indifferent. It’s those who don’t want bees nearby who will need the most convincing.
  • Manage your bees to minimize swarming. Educate your neighbors about the gentle nature of most swarms, ask them to keep their distance and request they call you if they see any.
  • Limit the number of hives to 2-3 at your home.
  • If there are pets and children in your neighborhood, fence your hives. This will help keep everyone safe.

Safety:

  • Don’t keep bees near other animals or pets that are either penned or chained and could not escape from stinging insects.
  • Keep your bees safe by keeping them away from cattle and horses that could rub and/or knock over hives.
  • Don’t keep hives in locations prone to flooding or fire.
  • Always have a backup location worked out in the event you need to move your hives suddenly.

Water:

  • One hive will use 1 quart/liter of water per day. Make sure you have easy access to a water source to avoid lugging heavy jugs around.
  • Have a reliable source of water ready when your first install your bees. If you don’t, they’ll find one. Bees like chlorinated pool water, hot tubs, kiddie pools, and other inconvenient sources that may be on a neighbor’s property.
  • The water source needs to be reliable or bees will go find another source when it’s dry. Once they’ve switched watering sites, you can’t get them back.
  • Bees need to be able to get in and out of the water without falling in since they don’t swim. Set up automatic waterers sold for poultry, livestock, or pets. Rocks in shallow waterers or automatic bird waterers can give bees someplace to land and drink. Keep your water source in the shade.


Be sure to contact your TXINS agent to make sure you have the right insurance protection in place before you set up your new boxes. Many homeowners policies won’t cover beekeeping operations, whether your keeping bees as a hobby or as a commercial venture. It’s important to make sure you have your bases covered before you begin. Good luck!

Do you have a question for our agents? Email it to us! If we choose your question, we’ll send you a thank you gift! Be sure to include your mailing address and phone number in your email.

You Learn Something New Every Day
– The average person blinks about 15,000 times every day.

– The Tower of Pisa has never been straight due to its foundation settling unevenly after construction began in 1173.

– The first credit card was issued by Diners Club in 1951. Now, more than 1.5 billion credit cards are in use in the United States.

– April is National Pecan Month. Texas is well-known for bumper crops of delicious pecans and Texans sure know how to make the best of it! For a whole slew of yummy pecan recipes, click here.

Fun-Filled Festivals
Have you ever been to the Strawberry Festival in Poteet? What about the Chicken Fried Steak Festival in Lamesa? Or Turkey Fest in Herietta? No? Well then it’s time to pack up your car and hit the road for an April Spring Festival road trip! Here are a few fests that sound like fun!

April 2: Texas Onion Fest, Weslaco
April 9: Midtown Art in the Park, Houston
April 15-17: Brazoria County Crawfish Festival, Angleton
April 23: Art Walk benefiting Arts Fulshear, Fulshear
April 29-30: Cameron Strawberry Festival, Cameron

We LOVE Referrals!

Congrats to Carroll Brill of Georgetown, TX, our March Referral Program drawing winner! Thanks for your referrals, Carroll!

If you love Texas Insurance & Financial Services, Inc., tell a relative, friend, or co-worker about us. When they call to receive a quote make sure they let us know that you referred them.

As a thank you, you’ll receive a surprise gift and will be entered into our monthly $50 gift card drawing and our annual Grand Prize drawing for a $1,500 gift card!!!

(Grand Prize drawing will be held on December 3, 2015.)

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