lookin bad here? heck this rain is lookin pretty good to me. this is our rain season, if we don't get it now we never will. remember it doesn't rain in california but man it pours.
a weather service I subscribe to for my business is calling for a record breaking cold spell to wack the entire west coast and all of CA in the 6-10 day period (march 8th-12th) . following that will be another week of seasonally below average temps spreading across the nation from the west to midwest.
i don't give the long term precip fcsts much credence but these temp fcsts have gotten amazingly accurate.
the March outlook calls for below average temps for northern half of CA to Seattle with wet conditions above normal for most of CA only. maybe the drought will be diminished?
sounds like the almond bloom will be over in 6 days? if not hope all goes well for you folks with bees out in the almond orchards.
Just got a call from my broker....fed most of my bees today...looked good but light. Evidentually they have used up some stores. Looks like bloom will be winding down in two weeks. May have to feed again! Last year was honey bound this year feed feed feed!
Bees have only had about 5 or 6 days here in Kings/Fresno County since Bloom opened on the 15th 16th of Feb. Most of my hives were heavy but there was a few lights. Looks like I will need to take sugar syrup out to them tomorrow as they are still calling for rain through Thursday. And then a one to 2 day break then another 10 days of rains and cold spells. Not good for us beekeepers and not good for the Almond crop. But if Almond crop is light prices for Almonds will go up in the fall and with all of the rain maybe we will have better luck with the pollination prices and contracts next almond season. Here is to hoping. Not looking forward to more rain though as I am late getting stuff planted and thats not good also. The fields are wet and my birds are wet.
Let it rain.:applause:
Isn't it this rain that get turned into sage honey later on? At least that's my understanding of California.
I have talked to several of the major producers and suppliers in our industry and we have talked about Lobby efforts. I think that is what we will need to do. I am a fiscal conservative, it kind of burns me both ways to see who is getting bailed out by the Feds, while we watch very little Fed money going into something useful, like our 4 soon to be 3 under budgeted Bee Labs and others trying to cure CCD.
Ditto on Communist Chinese poisoned Honey and other junk.
As to NZ and Australia, the rule should be RECIPROCITY. The trade in bees form here to there should be made exactly EQUAL or EQUALLY EASY as from there to here......with CCD we may need them, so I would not stop them at this point, would like to, as I am a MADE IN AMERICA kind of person, but I think they are our insurance, Mexico or Central or Latin America could have been BUT FOR the African Honey Bee AHB problem. We can at least drive there. If AHB spreads throughout the warm USA maybe we should reconsider, but I guarantee you, we would all be buried by imports then. Thus Equal Trade is the only kind of FAIR TRADE which beats Free or slave trade....
In the meantime, feed your bees, with the drought etc., the loss of 200,000 acres of Almonds, double that in bees needed there, and still drought etc., I predict a lot of dead bees and a shortage everywhere. The normal trade pattern, to Almonds and then back is now broken, and the DOMINO EFFECT will cause a shortage, maybe with the economy and politics a permanent shortage...who can afford to continue the WAY IT IS ?
SEveral reasons, primarily three:
1. 200,000 droughted acres of almonds taken out of production, meant 400,000 to maybe 500,000 less bee colonies needed this year;
Many of those bees where there or enroute there and are what you could call "stranded". Once stranded, these hives became starved out, dried out, diseased out, or died out. Even those that caught it in time, and did not go or become stranded, became surplus bees that were not going to get Almond fees and thus had to be fed, or otherwise if in the north fell under the typical current higher deadouts from winter clusters that we will only start to see now.
2. All the bees out there, under the stress of the drought, pre-starving, post-starving due to a shorter bloom, etc., more susceptible to disease and the spread of disease from the stranded bees, are now bringing those diseases back with them, if they made it or make it, to spread the diseases to other bees coming out of winter cluster back home, unless treated immediately for everything, and there have been shortages I hear here and there for things like Fumagilin-B being hoarded, and Terramyacin, to say nothing of mites, and the new Aussie rumored virus introduced out there. Many have voiced concerns of California spring packages for bees that have been stressed out there and have basically worn their wings off, the bee version of being on your last leg, anticipating weak nucs and packages from out there.
3. Once bitten twice shy, the beekeepers that had contracts fall through, or renegotiated $155 or $135 contracts to $80 or who were stranded and paid nothing, will not produce "more bees" now for next year.
These and several other DOMINO EFFECTS from the bubble bursting out in California will then follow the pollination cycle around the nation, resulting in bee shortages, not surplus bees as one might have originally thought, because of the poor economic instability of what happened in California because California Federal Judges and State bureaucrats appear to be the only people that remain living in LALA Land (reference to Los Angeles Hollywood fantasy land) and do not know that California has always had a water shortage and unlike the Saudis and other who use America desalination and other water purification processes have done NOTHING FOR DECADES to solve California's and the SouthWest's chronic water shortage.
I the Midwest, like Illinois where you live Sheri, we have the world's (that's right the whole world's) largest supply of fresh water. Ask our friends in Georgia and surrounding states there, or even Texas about their water problems, and you will soon see why Wisconsin and the Midwest truly can be called "God's Country", how lucky we are.
There wont be a shortage of bees for a while ,I know Maine is cutting way back on bees for blueberry pollination this year .
Is there some Rookies again talking about almonds, thats one we never have in short supply. :)
Flooded with nuts
Robert, what a gloom and doom scenario you present.
500,000 less colonies needed? That would be about 1/3 of the bees needed for the crop. I think your figure is greatly overstated. Yes, there was shuffling around of colonies (and empty boxes) and some cut throat pricing going on but good bees for the most part got rented. Yes, there were reports of hungry bees, this happens on a fairly regular basis. Some years are better than others, nothing new here. This year most bees needed fed. Par for the course.
If you send your bees out west without a contract and without the capital to get them home and maintain them if you don't get an almond check, well, I can only shake my head in amazement. Anyone that leaves their bees "stranded" to starve and die had no business sending bees to begin with.
As for northern winter deadouts being higher than normal, don't worry, I don't see this effecting long term supply. Everyone I know is selling bees, there is a good supply out there. There are a ton of healthy bees in California and coming out of California right now, heading to the south, and southeast (and even some to Wisconsin ;) ) to be split and redistributed to those who lost theirs over winter. It is a good thing too otherwise how would all those deadouts get replenished?
I haven't heard of weak packages yet, but if so, it wouldn't be the first time and won't be the last.
There was a shortage of Fumagillin last spring but we haven't had problems this year. If so, this translates to my mind as less disease not more. The shortage we are seeing is wooden ware, which in my mind translates to more bees not less. There isn't a bee supply house out there that isn't doing a booming business right now.
Once bitten, twice shy? I sincerely hope so. Anyone that's been going out there for a while has been bit a couple times. Good footwork, fortune and friends allows for the setbacks. People too close to the edge that think they can get rich quick in bees are more likely to get bit and flounder, deservedly so. If they had done their homework they would have known: this isn't a get rich quick scheme; it is hard work, both physically and mentally. Those kind of "gold diggers" we can all do without. And the bees they don't make we can do without too.
It IS a shame when folks trust their investment to those they shouldn't trust and lose it all. The more wide eyed naivete's get involved the more crooks will follow, ready to take advantage. The bigger the pollination fees a colony will fetch, the more crooks will show up to steal them. But all this is business as usual, in any industry. The undercapitalized, the incompetent, the unlucky go by the wayside.
Personally, as of today, we plan on sending our bees to California next year and others we know that have gone out there for years will too. We know a few pollinators, they all placed their bees and none settled for anything like $80. I suspect most that negotiated to $80 didn't have $140 bees to begin with. I know there are exceptions to this....some just got caught by the desperate low balling of the "gold diggers". I hope any growers that broke contracts for these bees got what they paid for, and will for years to come.
Will the drought put more acreage out of commission? Will the pollination fees drop? Will the sky fall? Next year will be very interesting and we know it is not always a good thing to live in interesting times. We and others like us will keep tuned in and make business decisions as the facts emerge. Sometimes it gets a little too exciting but I don't think it is time to panic yet. This is the marketplace at work, not the end of the world.
Sheri (who lives in Wisconsin, not Illinois, waiting for the bees to get back, hoping they don't get "stranded", starve and die;))
I had heard 400,000 to 500,000 based on the acreage that dried up. Still waiting for the Almond Board numbers, think it may have been new and old trees, old retired, and new ones that would have been put in were not, so a shortage ended up being a surplus, the big numbers being from what would have been the bumper crop, but will see what the Almond Board says for the final score.
1/3 of the almond acreage is in water shortage areas, that means 2/3 of it is good.
And who knows maybe CA will have a big fish fry (Smelt ) and all water problems will go away?
Or maybe an actual rain fall?