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  1. #1

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    Hi everyone! I am doing a presentation in my Economics class about the supply and demand of beehives needed for almond pollination in California in 2004. I have been researching relentlessly and have read many articles on the subject. However, I can't find many figures to quantify my data. I guess it's because the season is still ongoing I was wondering if anyone here could help me out?

    From what I understand, there is a shortage in the supply of bees due to parastic mites killing bees, the wildfires last year, beekeepers in other states who would normally supplement the CA bee supply staying in their own states to produce honey because of high honey prices, and that there are fewer new people entering the beekeeping industry. The only concrete data I could find was the amount of hives destroyed by the fires (10-15k, which is about 3% of 440k the beehives in CA). I figure it is hard to quantify the effects of beekeepers withholding their bees for honey and the slowing of new beekeepers into the industry.

    What I really would like to know is can anyone help me in providing a figure for the amount of beehives destroyed by the parasitic mites? I read in 2002 that parasitic mites destroyed about 25% of California’s hives. Is that number still accurate? Is it more? Less?

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! I really appreciate any help anyone can give me.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,785

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    >What I really would like to know is can anyone help me in providing a figure for the amount of beehives destroyed by the parasitic mites? I read in 2002 that parasitic mites destroyed about 25% of California’s hives. Is that number still accurate? Is it more? Less?

    Have you tried the CA dept of agriculture? They might have some actual "official statistics". My guess is that most beekeepers didn't report anything to them anyway and they may not be that valid. 25% loses would not surpise me. Higher would not surprise me. Lower would surprise me.

  3. #3

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    I did search the CA Dept. of Agriculture but couldn't find anything of use. The site is a maze and the search engine only brought up stuff about out of state beehives and red ants.

    One thing I did forget to ask before is, in the article I am basing my graphs on (http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmp...e/farm_scene_2) shows the price one farmer paid for his hives, $54 up from $44 last year, is that pretty much the industry standard this year?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Bradenton, FL, and Davenport, IA, USA
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    930

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    As far as I know. The price of pollination services hovers around $50 per pollination season per hive. so $44 to $54 seems to me to be rather within that scope. This also seems pretty consistent around the country, not just in CA. I live in FL and the price per hive per season is roughly $50.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Frankfort, Kentucky
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    Have you tried the CA Almond Board yet?
    http://www.almondboard.com

    A good person is Joe Traynor at - jotraynor@aol.com - from southern California


    ------------------
    If a job is worth doing - Then do it well

  6. #6

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    Thanks! I have read many articles by or referencing Joe Traynor, but haven't found contact information for him.

    I have one more bee question. This is probably going to sound stupid, but I honestly don't know the answer for a fact. When it's pollination season, and it seems that there's a shortage of beehives, like this year, are beekeepers able to produce (for lack of a better term) more bees/hives to meet the demand? Or is the amount of hives set for the period (or economic quarter) and can't be changed?

    My assumption is the amount of hives is set because bees are living creatures and you can't just demand more of them whenever you want to. However, I can't make assumptions without facts, and for all I know, my assumption could be wrong.

    Thanks again to everyone who has replied.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Frankfort, Kentucky
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    399

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    The number of beehives a beekeeper has available in early spring is determined by how many beehives the beekeeper has been able to bring through the winter. Genetic stock, feeding, and good management are all contributing factors.

    Joe Traynor is a very pleasant and helpful person. Please say Hi from me when you correspond with him.

    If you would like the name and phone # of some CA beekeepers doing pollination on large scale just send me an email.

    Rob Mountain


    ------------------
    If a job is worth doing - Then do it well

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    NE Calif.
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    Hi,I just got back from looking at our hives in the almonds today.There is still a surprising amount of late bloom on the far northern orchards.Our hives are full of brood ,almond honey and pollen.Most of this weight gain came in the last week as temperatures warmed into the eighties.
    I didnt see any orchards without hives so supply seems to have caught up with demand.Your price information seems accurate.I saw a lot of variation in hive strength as we drove by other beekeepers hives.Some were barely flying ,others were hanging out,they were so jammed with bees.The weaker ones may have had a poor late summer/ fall flow last year,or mite controls werent adequate,among other things.
    To have strong hives for almonds,they have to be strong going into winter.It is easy to lose 50% of the hives to mites ,if one doesnt keep on top of it.
    --Mike

    [This message has been edited by loggermike (edited March 09, 2004).]

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    NE Calif.
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    Here is another article on almonds.Also there is a link to another article on the left. http://westernfarmpress.com/ar/farmi...cted/index.htm

    ---Mike

  10. #10

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    Thank you Rob, I just want to get one thing really clear? The number of beehives cannot increase during the pollination period, right?

    Thank you Mike! I appreciate your information and the link to the almond article.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Kiel WI, USA
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    2,368

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    I would think higher pollination fees or lower honey prices would make the trip to California more attractive, drawing hives that would otherwise stay put.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    NE Calif.
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    >>I would think higher pollination fees or lower honey prices would make the trip to California more attractive, drawing hives that would otherwise stay put.

    And that,my friend ,is the ONLY way to increase the supply right before bloom.
    ---Mike
    P.S.I would take Rob up on the offer for contact info. to get the true picture of the economics of almond pollination.

    [This message has been edited by loggermike (edited March 10, 2004).]

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Bend, OR USA
    Posts
    93

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    Coyote, the amazing thing is that this guy seems to know the difference between anecdotes and data, and actually wants data. I hope Rob's contacts can help him out, and I would like to see the results of his research on this forum when it's done.

  14. #14

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    Girl, actually. And I just did my presentation today. I'm afraid all of you will probably find it simplistic. My class/city isn't really agricultural, so I don't know how appreciated it will be. It wasn't as complicated as it seemed, I just needed some hard data to backup my claim that the reduction in supply is the reason for the per hive price increase. The class seemed to have liked the presentation, several people commented that the topic was very interesting. Hopefully my group gets a good grade! My teacher will probably be looking at this post since we listed it as a source.

    I want to thank everyone for giving me such good data and other sources to look at. Thank you Rob for the contact information. I really appreciate how nice everyone has been. I really enjoyed researching this topic, and if I ever have to do a more in depth economic report I would love to return to this topic.

  15. #15

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    Oh and coyote, spring break isn't until April over here. There's still plenty of time to dance for MTV.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Bend, OR USA
    Posts
    93

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    If my wife finds out I made such a sexist assumption, I'm dead meat. It's suddenly a good thing she's not interested enough in bees to be reading this forum.

    Roger

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Frankfort, Kentucky
    Posts
    399
    "Thank you Rob for the contact information"

    You are more than welcome. It is great to see someone not all that involved in bees presenting the information that you did.

    My wife Stella says - Go Girl - Well done

    ------------------
    If a job is worth doing - Then do it well

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