Miguel Lozano holds a tiny wooden box with a mesh top and points to what’s crawling underneath it.
There’s a queen bee in there of European origin. It’s an important distinction, he said, because when she’s put in a hive, this queen will center a cluster of bees with Africanized roots, the ones dubbed “killer bees.”
“She will calm the box,” Lozano said, looking out toward several hives in boxes in a large field near state Highway 107 in Edinburg.
It’s just one consideration he takes into account at Lozer Apiaries, a provider of pollination services and supplier of pure Rio Grande Valley-made honey. Lozano is the son and grandson of beekeepers who practiced the craft in Mexico. He started Lozar in 2017 and now has 1,200 hives in six locations in Hidalgo County.
The main site is near 107 and it’s conveniently located next to a large citrus field. The blossoms of orange and grapefruit trees are favorites of bees in their constant search for food.
“Bees are always looking for flowers,” Lozano said. “When the citrus (blossoms) come out, they work like crazy.”
The Magic Of Bees
Lozano’s main work and source of income comes for pollination services. Growers of watermelons and melons rely on the bees of Lozar to pollinate their flowers to create their fruits. Bees are of use across the country and world to pollinate fields of almonds, apples, avocados and strawberries. In all, bees pollinate 80 percent of the world’s plants and 90 different crops.
Walking through one of Lozano’s fields, he opens one of his boxes of hives and reveals the world of bees. There are secrets to be had in there. A queen, he said, lays hundreds and thousands of eggs a day. Newly born bees in their first week of life receive the task to clean up the nest and protect the hives from predators.
The young bees are ready to fly about a week after birth. Bees can fly up to five miles from the hive in search of nectar and pollen, Lozano said. An average bee will live only a few months. Their entire lives are in service to their queen and the reproductive functions she provides to keep the hive alive and functioning.
It’s a marvel to see bees work. Lozano admires the ingenuity and work ethic of bees. His family tradition of working with them provides him an opportunity to do something he loves.
“I like working outdoors and I can make my own time (when to work),” he said.
A Honey of a Job
Lozano bottles honey at his site in Edinburg near the state highway. Honey is available to the public in 12-, 22- and 44-ounce bottles and comes in wildflower honey, orange blossom and Brazilian pepper varieties. Lozar also sells pollen and beeswax.
He ships to customers across the Valley and elsewhere, and is active via social media in communicating with his customers. For Lozano, it’s always back to the fields to check on his bees.
“As a beekeeper, it’s wonderful to open a beehive and find the honey ready,” he said in a Facebook post to his customers. “It’s the rewards of months of hard work taking care of the hives.”
Bee stings are inevitable, he said through the hood of a beekeeper, but no matter.
“I tell my Dad as long as they don’t bite my face, I’m OK,” he said with a beaming smile.