What a treat to have Brandon Pollard, co-founder of Texas Honeybee Guild at The Legacy Performance Center last night!
Brandon was drafted by the MLS in 1996, right out of college, coming to Dallas to play for the Burn. He was at the Atlanta Olympics. He retired from soccer early: perhaps because he began to have close encounters with bees in his apartment. For days on end, one summer, they started to swarm into his open kitchen window! These experiences were not menacing. Rather, Brandon took it as a sign to which he was supposed to pay attention.
So, ten years ago, he became a Bee Wrangler!
His knowledge is phenomenal and his passion makes you want to sign up for an Adopt-A-Hive program, praying you will pass the vetting process and have the privilege of a hive to tend and watch over.
As an Urban Beekeeper, Brandon, his wife Susan, and all other urban beekeepers face a real challenge as they care for and rescue hives in a city environment. Sometimes, the safest place to tend a hive is on a rooftop somewhere. One of the roofs with the most cache is the Rose Garden on top of The Fairmount Hotel in downtown Dallas. Every week, Brandon and Susan can be seen ministering to the Fairmount Bees! For Brandon, this is such a juxtaposition of sensations: hearing the noisy traffic below, being dwarfed by the skyscrapers all around him, and reveling in the utter peace and beauty of a rose garden filled with his charges.
The more one learns about these miracles of Nature’s engineering, the more one loves bees! Truly, this critter that only lives for 40 days is a marvel of work ethic coupled with the aesthetic of a remarkable adaptation and co-existence with the environment.
In a Chinese experiment, it took 50 workers to pollinate what one bee would normally do and in less the time! One bee, living those short 40 days, spends her entire life making only 1/12th teaspoon of honey! Bees fly three to five miles from the hive in search of pollen to bring back! Bees can detach their wings during winter cold snaps, while tensing their muscles as a means of generating heat for the brood! Honeycombs within the hive are of different dimensions and the Queen uses her front four legs to measure each comb so she will know whether to lay a drone (male) egg or a worker (female) egg in each! She is able to lay a fertilized egg for either sex based upon the size of the empty comb! After sex with a Queen, the drones’ insides rupture and they die instantly! After stinging someone, a bee disembowels itself when it pulls the stinger out of the person, thereby giving its life to save the hive if it is in danger! Bees communicate by doing a “waggle dance”, which tells the others where the nectar is located!
Bees are for modern times what the canary was in the coal mines decades ago. They have much to tell us, but I we may not be listening…GMOs, chemical treatment of soil and crops, pesticides…if it isn’t good for the hive, it is not good for the people who benefit from the work the hive does on our behalf. Over 90 species of food crops depend upon the honeybee for pollination. Let’s not wait to act until the shelves of our food stores are empty.
For more information on Brandon Pollard and the work he does email
Texas Honeybee Guild
Susan and Brandon Pollard
Bee Rescue and Relocation
Zip Code Honey may be purchased at Dallas Farmer’s Market Friday-Sunday
“Instead of dirt and poison, we have chosen to fill our hives with honey and wax: thus furnishing mankind with the two noblest of things, which are sweetness and light.”