The Coy Family

We are a commercial honeybee company managing 12,000 colonies with operations in Arkansas and Mississippi. Our entry into the honeybee business began with our grandfather who would make hive boxes in the winter when the farming slowed down. It was my grandfather that convinced our dad (Bobby) to go into the honeybee business rather than the cattle business, so in 1969, our father and grandfather purchased our first 50 packages of bees and hive bodies. Needless to say, there is a learning curve to keeping bees. Our first 50 packages soon became 12 hives, due our placement of the hives in close proximity of each other and facing in the same direction. First lesson learned. By the mid-70s, our colonies had grown to 400 hives; in 1981 we reached 800, increasing to 6,400 by 1994 and then finally our most current number surpassing the 12,000 mark in 2012.

Our family business is a family affair with dad, Bobby, three sons, Steven, Richard and David managing day to day operations, with many other family members heavily involved. The responsibilities of the company are divided, with dad handling all the major company direction decisions, Steven managing queen rearing responsibilities in Gulf Port, MS, Richard handling logistics in Jonesboro, AR and David managing our operation in the Mississippi Delta.

We have 13 full-time employees and provide the following commercially: 1,000 hives for local produce, 4000-4,500 (11 truckloads) for the almond growers in California and 8-10,000 queen cells. We’ve recently started selling Russian Queens (we are charter members of RHBBA) and 5-frame nucs. Our average honey production yields a million pounds of honey (1575 barrels per million), with good years exceeding that number quite substantially. We are a member of Sue Bee Co-op, with all of our honey and wax contracted to them.
Bobby met Mr. Kelley in the 70s, when Walter gave him a tour of the company. Our first purchase from the Walter T. Kelley Company was a 20 frame extractor that our aunt, mighty worker that she was, would use to extract four barrels of honey per day. We then purchased another 20 frame extractor and an uncapping tank, thinking we’d double production, however, our barrel number only increased to six. In business, we’ve found that what works mathematically, doesn’t always work in the real world. 

Beekeeping for the Coy family has always been a family affair and that tradition continues, with a fourth generation of sons learning the business and carrying on the legacy started by our grandfather and father. You can learn about the Coy Family Honey Farm by going to www.coyshoneyfarm.com.