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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Bradenton, FL, and Davenport, IA, USA
    Posts
    930

    Question

    This spring when I get my hives going again, I would really like to start pollinstaion services for our local orchards and so forth.

    How much do people charge for pollination services? Or do you even charge anything at all and allow the honey crop and permission to use a farmers flower crop as payment?

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Grifton, NC
    Posts
    1,302

    Post

    The rates probaby depend on your location. In eastern NC it seems to be between $30-50 depending on how many hives, what crop, duration, etc. I think that beekeepers should get together on the idea that placing beehives for pollination should always be a paying proposition. The honey, if it's usable, is a bonus. Some pollination cycles are too short for a strong honey crop. What if you have a bad honey crop, low-market-value honey, or just before you finish that pollination cycle and a bear or other something destroys your hives? Or a farm hand runs over them with a tractor? I'd also have a contract spelling out such things as number of hives, duration of contract, liability, access to hives, hold blameless clause(for you, in case the bees damage something during their stay), etc., if you can get it. With a $$ amount(negotiable) you may get some operating money up front to pay for equipment, gas, etc.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Bradenton, FL, and Davenport, IA, USA
    Posts
    930

    Post

    $30 - $50 per what? per hive/{per month,Per year} ??

    I live in florida, so leaving a hive all year isn't ruled out. Charge them only for their season, but leave the hives there year round??

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Lynnville, Ia, USA
    Posts
    173

    Post

    The fee is per colony. Most orchards in my area give you a few days to move in and then want you to move out quickly after pedal fall so they can spray. Figure how much time and equipment you are going to need when calculating your fee. Also find out if you can set the bees in one spot or if you have to spread them out. Sometimes you have to move quite a few to come out financially. If you are contemplating a night move, remember everything looks different after dark.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Bradenton, FL, and Davenport, IA, USA
    Posts
    930

    Post

    Yeah, I am not looking to make a killing. I just want to provide the service really, and the ability to increase my stock by having somewhere to put it.

    Ok so then the price is a per colony per pollination "session" as it were. From when the flowers just begin to bloom to when the petals are dropping?

    You see, most beekeepers here are going out of business because of varroa and Small hive Beetle, and if I can successfully keep both at bay because of better management habits .. aka the Lusby Methods + something appropriate to subtropical envornments (south west florida). Then perhaps I can provide a service. I am not looking to cash in, but I would like to get compensated what is considered appropriate if its appropriate. I just don't know really, never having done anything commercial with beekeeping. Also my primary goal is to be able to demonstrate to the beekeepers that are already here, that there is a way to help the bees survive.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    McGraw,NY,USA
    Posts
    582

    Post

    Scott find out what chemicals your bees are going to to exposed to if you leave them at the location... also contact your local cooperative extension in case the county sprays for
    West Niles ...it is possible if you know that someone is spraying to temporarily keep your bees in . If they never get back to the hive after being exposed you never know what happened to them...G`Luck Rick

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    michigan
    Posts
    393

    Post

    I should do some investigating with folks down that way.....I dont think there is much demand for citrus pollination in Florida these days. 10-15 years ago, they paid for it but those days disappeared with migration into Florida due to varroa. I would check around and see what the demand is for different crops over the season. I know the very early vine crops always demand pollination down there.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Montezuma, GA USA
    Posts
    69

    Post

    Hey,

    I am just north of you in south central Georgia. I would recommend you try starting in the $40 dollar range and up. The market conditions are in the favor of the pollinator. I have had to reject farmers asking for about 200 hives total. Moving bees into and out of a location is taxing, even when you bees are on trailers like mine. Then you have your weekly inspections to make sure you don't have any dead outs. I assume you will be pollinating watermelon, squash, cucumbers etc. Just watch out having them next to pecan groves, the farmers will sometimes have to spray ecapsulated parathion/malathion which can cause bee kills years after the initial application. I recommend you look on the UGA entemology web sight about pollination and use a contract, they have a good example.

    Lots of luck
    Mark

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    mn, wi, tx
    Posts
    174

    Post

    You should never provide pollination services for free. On the other hand, it sounds as though you are looking for a permanent beeyard, for which you should pay for. Normally for pollination I charge a minimum charge($300.00) regardless of # of hives. Then I charge $30.00 each after the first 10. This is for local area placement, bees in place for first bloom and out as soon as petal fall.

    I would charge more for sites more than 20 miles from the apiary.

    Now, for permanent bee yards, I usually Pay the landowner several gallons of honey per year for use of the yard, and any benefit they get from the bees (pollination) is theirs free of charge. Some landowners want nothing.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    lewisberry, Pa, usa
    Posts
    6,081

    Post

    I always like to make the point between pollination service and "landowners".

    Commercial operators that benefit from pollination services should pay the going rate. This is a vital part of the management and farming function.

    "Landowners" or non-commercial farms that allow you the benefit of an apiary site in exchange of some honey, payment, or side pollination on a small scale is great. These are places you should not have to worry about chemicals and can leave them year-round. An example would be a dairy operation farm with a small garden, not a 125 acre apple farm.

    I would never pollinate a commercial farm or operation for free. There are too many other farms and landowners to keep free bees.

    For the beekeeping industry and the next "Hobbiest" who wants to go commercial, please do not cheapen the industry by providing a valuable service to those who are going to make money off of you. It is an industry and a very important one at that. Federal money, research grants and the like would mean more to a thriving industry that generates income, instead of one that gives away services for nothing.

    [This message has been edited by BjornBee (edited August 03, 2003).]

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Bradenton, FL, and Davenport, IA, USA
    Posts
    930

    Cool

    >>For the beekeeping industry and the next "Hobbiest" who wants to go commercial, please do not cheapen the industry by providing a valuable service to those who are going to make money off of you. It is an industry and a very important one at that. Federal money, research grants and the like would mean more to a thriving industry that generates income, instead of one that gives away services for nothing.


    Hey naught to worry. As I asked, I wanted to know what was approproiate =)

    The funny thing is I would like to poise myself to do some of that research here in the state of Florida where we have a particularly nasty time with certain pests. This is primarily due to the fact that we haven't a killing season here (winter) to regulate populations like up north. We are particularly bothered by Small Hive Beetle. I'd like to study the effects of retrogression, and also the effect that managing a colony in a kenyan top bar hive has versus a langstroth hive. I want to see if compressed dimensions help the bees manage their hive better. It'll be fun to play with different sizes.

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