Business is Buzzing For North Georgia Honeybee Supplier

[Toccoa, GA – Damon Jones, Reporting]
Between all the packing, shipping, and storing, the staff out at Mountain Sweet Honey are
busy as bees. And that’s just the way they like it, as they
will be providing honeybees to 31 different states across the country. It’s an industry owner Ray Civitts has really
grown a passion for over the past decade. [Ray Civitts – Mountain Sweet Honey Company]
My adventure began when I was told that I was going to be signing up for a beekeeping
class at North Georgia Tech roughly nine years ago. And at that point, as we say in the business,
I got stung. And I said boy, this is a lot of science and
a lot of technique. And it was mastering science and technique
and experience all together to get us to where we are today. [Damon]
After starting off with just a few hives, Civitts expanded and opened up a small shop
selling honey. However, he quickly realized there was a big
need that wasn’t being met. [Civitts]
More people came and more people came and before we knew it, folks from Atlanta were
asking us for honey bees. And that began the journey in year two. And now in year eight, we are selling approximately
10,000 hives of bees every season as well as a full line of bee keeping supplies. [Damon]
And the reason for all that demand is the increased interest in the industry over the
past few years. [Civitts]
The majority of our sells are to the backyard bee keeper and they are one hive typically,
maybe two. And then we also provide bees to orchards
and various agricultural needs that are out there. [Damon]
That increases interest from the back-yard gardener is beneficial to the agricultural
industry as a whole. [Civitts]
Beekeepers are important for pollination. Pollination is highly important to most crops. If they’re not pollinated, the crop yield
can drop down by at least 33% if not greater. [Damon]
If you think gathering, packing, and shipping all these bees seems like hard work, you’d
be right, as the full process takes the better part of an entire day. [Civitts]
We went out into the fields and began to shake frames into these little boxes called packages. And we weigh them out into three pounds each. And then at noontime today, we bring them
back into the warehouse. And at the warehouse, we insert the queen
and the feed to feed them which is sugar water. Then, we crate them up and on the trailer
they go. [Damon]
Despite the long hours, it’s a labor of love for Civitts, as he is more than happy to not
only take your order, but also pass on a little advice along the way. [Civitts]
The people I enjoy. We get roughly 7,000 phone calls a season
and it’s everything from it’s snowing out, how to I put my bees into the hives to I have
a swarm happening, how do I catch it? [Damon]
Reporting from Toccoa, I’m Damon Jones for the Farm Monitor.

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