Urban Beekeeping Meetup: How to Help Bees in Houston


Tuesday December 4th marked the conclusion of the 2018 Sustainability Meetup Series. This Meetup, featuring local Beekeeping expert Shelley Rice, founder of All Things Bees Texas, was a hands on experience for UH faculty, staff and students alike!

pro.pngRight off the bat, Shelley had attendees getting a feel for what it is like to crack open a hive. Armed with a pre-harvested rack of honeycomb, the audience was invited to come up to the table and feel their first propolis. This “bee glue” is what workers use to seal up their hives and was scraped off the honey racks for all to feel and roll into balls. This resinous material historically was used as some of the very first tooth filling materials and is used today as an ingredient in a wide range of products from burn care to cancer treatment. While people tend to appreciate the role bees play in pollinating our food plants, products like propolis are just one example of how bees are more integral to human sustainability than immediately evident.

Sustainability is also about connecting people to each other as well as the environment, and for Shelley, this is a major reason why she began beekeeping.

“I just can’t tell you the number of people connections I have made through bees.” Says Rice.


The second half of the meetup was devoted to stories of how bees have connected her to Japanese medical systems, local entrepreneurs and restaurant owners, even yoga teachers! Each attendee had questions ranging from how to prevent invasive hive mites, to using honey and mushrooms to create more sustainable protein and sugar agriculture. These kinds of far reaching connections from environment to economy are exactly what sustainability is about.

So what can you do to help local bees? Volunteering is the best way to get started according to Shelley.

“I know lots of local keepers that need help.” Rice explained.

While Shelley doesn’t have a website at this time, you can reach her on Facebook at All things Bees Texas, or shoot her an email at shelley@allthingsbeestexas.com if you want to find out how to volunteer with a local beekeeper. If you don’t have the time, or want something you can do at home, starting a small pollinator garden is another great option – especially if you live in an area with no flowering plants around you like a high-rise or downtown.

Stay tuned through the spring for more Office of Sustainability events from Recyclemania to Sustainability Fest!