Local beekeepers swarming with business after record-warm start to spring

CHERRY VALLEY, AR (KAIT) - The pollen count is high in Region 8, which is great news for local bee keepers.

It's pollination helps produce up to 1/3 of the food we eat.

A mild winter and record-warm spring temperatures helped honey bees bounce back earlier than ever.

You may have noticed the buzzing bees a little earlier this spring.

That's because the honey bee population is much higher than this time last year.

So high, in fact, that they're leaving the hive; looking for new places to live.

"The old queen and approximately 2/3 of the hive will fill up with honey, and then they'll just leave to go look for a new home."

Doyle Ramey farms bees as a hobby and even he was caught off-guard.

That's because normally a bee-keeper would lose 20 or 30 percent of the colony during the winter kill-off.

But, it's mid-spring, and it's just now time for area farmers to split hives--which would double the amount of honey closer to harvest time.

"Normally, as early as it was, they haven't built up to a point where they're wanting to swarm. I did have a couple colonies that caught me by surprise and actually swarmed on me early in the year."

High pollen levels have attributed to 80-95% split acceptance rates as Ramey adds new stacks earlier than ever.

"Normally, I don't have this many on here til about the end of June."

He estimates one hundred-thousand honey bees in the hive.

But producing honey is a long process.

"It takes twelve bees their entire lives to produce one teaspoon."

Ramey expects to harvest his batch of honey by mid-September.

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