A local blue berry farm has asked me if I would like to put some bees on his blue berry crop next year. What quality honey can I expect from blue berry plants?
Unless the acreage is huge, not much. You should be amply compensated in CASH for providing pollination services. I would suggest a minimum charge of $300.00 for up to 10 hives and $30.00 each after that. It is alot of work, time, travel, with no appriciable benefit to you except the CASH which the grower pays you.
In this part of the world, it would be considered a HUGE sin to place colonies on any type of fruit crop without charging for pollination.
Blueberries stretch for miles here so it is common to make some honey on them. Ranges from water white to light amber but the taste is always the same.....pretty low quality, bakery grade type of honey.
Thanks for the advice - I will pass on the blue berry honey.
I guess I would want to know how many hives and how many acres and what the bloom period is? If you could work it in, and get $30 + per hive, it may be worthwhile. You could always sell the honey to a processor or feed it back to your bees in slack times.
Even if your a hobbiest, there are advantages to this situation.
1) Bees do work blueberry bushes heavily. Thats not to say dandelions prior and clover after, and everything else in between wouldn't give you a nice mixture. I know I wish I could tell my bees only to work one crop to give me individual honey yields. It doesn't work that way.
2) It may be to your advantage to have another remote site for splits and swarm relocations.
3) $30.00 a hive for a one crop farm, then being able to possibly move your bees to a better honey apiary would be well worth the time. Keep the hives at 1-1/2 or 2's, so they are movable and then throw honey supers or afterwards. My guess would be that there is always other plants to give good honey.
4)Do splits for a year, build up the numbers at this location and sell to another beekeeper both the hives and pollination contract.
I WOULD NOT pollinate this crop for nothing. This farmer knows the value of the service you could provide. He did not offer to pay, and you did not approach him, so I feel he's trying to take advantage of you.