Austin honey bee extractor getting sweet on San Antonio

SAN ANTONIO -- Winters in San Antonio can have a tendency to feel like Spring: dry, sunny and a bit warm. Even in January, honey bees are easy to find in and around South Texas.

A family on Frost Street in northwest San Antonio found just that -- a hive situated about 30 feet up a tree in their front yard. Normally, someone may call an exterminator.

Not this family.

They wanted to get rid of the bees, yes, but not exterminate them. So they contacted Walter Shumacher from Austin.

Shumacher extracts beehives and their honey and rids the bees from the places they inhabit, but he doest kill the busy workers. He then takes the hives and the honey to his property south of Austin.

His work has garnered the sponsorship of Whole Foods. The Austin-based grocery store is expected to help Shumacher establish an office in San Antonio sometime this year.

Shumacher's business is growing, but he can only take what people give him.

We do so on a donation basis, says Shumacher. You can give us cars, boats, houses ... a million acres of land if you choose. But the reality is: Fifty bucks is a beautiful donation, said the dreadlocks-wearing bee enthusiast.

Another objective of his operation is to educate the public on honeybees.

Our goal is to save the honeybee, he said. ... They leave behind honey for us, so it s like they are paying their rent.

He said most people think bees are simply bad. Shumacher wants to end that.

Shumacher and his beehive extracting operation plan to return to San Antonio in March for a question and answer session.


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