I'm curious about the logistics and economics of trucking bees across the country for CA's almond pollination. Can someone fill me in?
Lets start with a beekeeper in say FL that has a cross-country trip. How do they prevent the bees from leaving the hives in the three days or so I imagine it takes to get there? Are they netted in, or do they block the entrances somehow? Do the trucks drive all day and night to make the trip short, or do they drive by day so the bees don't come out of the hives?
What about economics? From what I can see, a semi can take about 200 hives (?). So that's 200 times maybe $160/hive, or $32k in pollination fees. My wild guess is that it costs $5k to truck them one-way, or $10k round trip. Toss in another $5k for whatever, so a truckload of bees can net $17k or so to the keeper??
I understand some people don't truck their bees back, but rather sell them on the west coast.
Just curious about how the commercial guys think about this stuff.