Saturday, November 17, 2018
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The Tunica Times • P.O. Box 308/986 Magnolia Street, Tunica, MS 38676

Beekeeping hobby grows in Mississippi, nation


RAYMOND, Miss. -- Beekeeping is hot right now, with numbers of producers steadily increasing in Mississippi and across the U.S.

“Beekeeping continues to grow in astonishing numbers across the country,” said Jeff Harris, bee specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “Most of that growth is from people who want to do it as a hobby.”

Johnny Thompson, a Philadelphia, Mississippi, beekeeper who raises queens and nucleus colonies, said about half of his customers are new to beekeeping.

“Most are hobbyists,” he said. “A lot of people are reading about how bees are disappearing and want a hive. Some people have gardens and say they never see any bees.”

Thompson, who also sells honey, said he is sold out of queens and nucleus colonies through early May. Nucleus colonies, or “nucs,” are smaller colonies with food, a laying queen and worker bees in all stages of development. When placed in a larger box, the nuc grows rapidly into a full colony.

“I can’t produce enough queens to meet the demand,” Thompson said. “We have doubled our production every year for the last few years, and we still can’t keep up. We’re making up nucs now. We did 150 this week and will do 100 next week. Every year I keep thinking it will slow down, but it never does.”

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