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  1. #61
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: The Last Beekeeper

    Quote Originally Posted by JBG View Post
    The true analogy for CCD would be similar in that what is going on in the high density areas are certainly significant in terms of disease transmission.
    It seems as though Almond Pollination is the problem, in your opinion, if I understand your statements correctly. But maybe not. Maybe what you mean is anytime mass numbers of colonies are brought together, such as happens in Almond Pollination and Blueberry Pollination, there is greater chance of transmission of diseases and pests.

    But this documentery focused on Almonds and not Blueberries. I know a number of beekeepers who go to Maine after going to California. Following those folks could be an interesting documentery too.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  2. #62
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    lake geneva wi
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    458

    Default Re: The Last Beekeeper

    Yes, I was being overthetop about almonds. However, a big point in "The Last Beekeeper" was that the growth of the almond industry in CA is huge over the last 20 years. Almonds as a %100 bee dependent crop have had an unprecedented impact on the domestic bee population. I have to agree with that. Blueberries, Cranberries, and any other crop just don't have the numbers of colonies and the density in one geographic region. If the bees in the overall US are sick then almonds magnified it.

  3. #63
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Salem, Oregon
    Posts
    949

    Default Re: The Last Beekeeper

    Naaaaaw!
    Actually taking our bees to almonds is one of the best things for them.
    The last few years, we loaded them up in the cold, drizzle and snow after very few flying days and unloaded them in excellent mid70 degree days.
    There, they get right out and take cleansing flights, get fed and generally get off to a really good start on the year.
    But then, we don't unload in holding yards.
    Our semi's pull right in to the ranch, and are moved in place in one ( long ) evening.
    They come home looking awesome.
    Sorry if I don't play along with the blame game.
    I have exactly ONE hive more than you.
    That makes my opinion beyond question.

  4. #64
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    lake geneva wi
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    458

    Default Re: The Last Beekeeper

    Hey there HarryV. So did you watch the last beekeeper documentary and if so what did you think about how they did the story? What is your opinion about CCD?

  5. #65
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Kingsland Georgia
    Posts
    314

    Default Re: The Last Beekeeper

    Does anyone know were I can watch the movie online. I dont have the planet green channel. Thanks for any help in advance.

  6. #66
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Issaquah,WA,USA
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    2,382

    Default Re: The Last Beekeeper

    Quote Originally Posted by HarryVanderpool View Post
    The last few years, we loaded them up in the cold, drizzle and snow after very few flying days and unloaded them in excellent mid70 degree days.
    There, they get right out and take cleansing flights, get fed and generally get off to a really good start on the year.
    I know when I am in and out of Air conditioning I get a cold. It kind of wears on my system. Does taking them out of cold winter an plopping them into 70's with less rest (over winter) then they normally have for the climate they lived in before play a part in the susceptibility of disease for them.
    Last edited by Barry; 09-24-2009 at 05:33 PM.

  7. #67
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Salem, Oregon
    Posts
    949

    Default Re: The Last Beekeeper

    No, I cannot say that my bees have ever caught the cold in California.
    The next morning after their placement, they orient themselves, take many cleansing flights and then begin hauling in wild mustard pollen by the shovel-full.
    Meanwhile we begin slowly and carefully going through the hives feeding pollen sub patties, syrup, and equalizing brood, bees and feed.
    Soon the trees begin to bloom and the bees are in good shape.
    When the bees are back in Oregon in March they usually have a very good supply of pollen.
    Usually they are brooded up very well.
    This is good because it allows us to make up a bazillion nucs at that time.
    Again, I consider the trip to almonds as one of the best things that happens to our hives during the year.
    There are some other crops that we pollinate later (that I will not name :P ) that are VERY hard on the bees and beekeepers.
    I am very gratefull for my longstanding relationship with my almond grower and the annual trip to his ranch.
    My bees are too!
    I have exactly ONE hive more than you.
    That makes my opinion beyond question.

  8. #68
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    lake geneva wi
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    458

    Default Re: The Last Beekeeper

    Do you think your relatively short trip from OR and staying in the same zone,
    not a big longitude change, contributes to your bees staying healthy?

  9. #69
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Owen, WI, USA
    Posts
    2,551

    Default Re: The Last Beekeeper

    JBG
    I think you have preconceived notions about migration due to previous media attention and reinforced by this documentary.
    John and I have been sending our bees to almonds for 7-8 years and while we have had some problems, nothing like those on the movie and nothing that wouldn't have shown itself here in Wisconsin as well.
    While there have been bee collapses out in California I consider the economic risks of the market more of a deterant than disease. Wintering in Wisconsin is no cake walk and our bees are much better in early spring after return from almonds than they ever were when wintering here. This is the case for most of the commercials I know. That said, one needs to have big healthy bees in January to get paid; that is something that those beeks on the documentary failed to provide. As far as I could tell, they were goners before they left their home state. CCD is a sexy buzz word right now and attracts lots of attention but did those colonies have CCD or PPB? The documentary should have made an attempt to answer that question.
    Sheri

  10. #70

    Default Re: The Last Beekeeper

    johnk, it's good to hear from people that actually ARE on almonds, so we can hear real experience, not TV. Economics question for you. If you did have any losses, were the trips always profitable, and what cell size are you running!

  11. #71

    Default Re: The Last Beekeeper

    Now, I remember what I wantd to ask, how many hives does one need to make a profit on almonds if travelling cross country? 300? or do I need as many as 500? More?

  12. #72
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Amador County, Calif
    Posts
    3,173

    Default Re: The Last Beekeeper

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnK and Sheri View Post
    they were goners before they left their home state. CCD is a sexy buzz word right now and attracts lots of attention but did those colonies have CCD or PPB?
    Sheri
    WHHATTT !!!!!! you can't say THAT.

    Calling a SPADE a SPADE. That like calling it the way it is.

    Cmon Sheri, you can't come on here and just speak the truth like that.

    PS. What would Micheal Moore have to say about this.
    NUTRA-BEE feed supplements

  13. #73
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    FRASER VALLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA
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    1,326

    Default Re: The Last Beekeeper

    Never been to almonds but you can bet my bees would be there if the border were open. It's not hard to figure out. What is better for bees, pollen or cold weather hmmm... It's no surprise that the package bee industry developped there. Almonds make a bunch of bees. The guys need to sell them or the bees will swarm. Essentially all the beekeepers who go there report that for the most part bees come back in good shape. Nice populations and very broody.

    I send bees on the prairies after pollination here. Sure the truck ride is rough on them especially if it hot, but they always come back with lots of bees and lots of pollen. They winter better here and they start better next spring. Believe me it's a pretty good plan. The other option is to feed them here. I don't mind hiring someone to burn a little diesel. I mean they make some honey as well to pay for the effort.

    If you are going to get educated in the ways of a business , get the info from those who are living it, not those who film about it.

    Jean-Marc

  14. #74

    Default Re: The Last Beekeeper

    He'd blame republicans and global warming.

  15. #75
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    FRASER VALLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA
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    1,326

    Default Re: The Last Beekeeper

    Skinner:

    Figure out how many can fit on a truck. Depends on the type of equipment, doubles or box and half. Also depends on 8 frame or 10 frame. Then add 25% more for the crappy ones that you don't send. Add another 10% for the dead ones. So you roughly need 600-650 alive in the fall for a truckload next february.

    Consider moving there if you can afford it. It's easier to manage close by and too collect your money. Selling bees is an option after almonds. Send them on a crop share after in the mid west. Ask Keith, he knows a couple things about that plan. SC seems like a long ways to travel.

    Jean-Marc

  16. #76
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    lake geneva wi
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    458

    Default Re: The Last Beekeeper

    So I am confused. Is CCD real or a sexy buzz word? No doubt it is getting blown out of proportion by the media. That is what this thread is all about now.
    What is fact and what is fiction? The film certainly had an anti-almond bias in the M Moore school of everything big in the US is bad. So, with all credit and great respect to the R Miksha book, is CCD a case of simply bad beekeeping?

  17. #77
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    27,020

    Default Re: The Last Beekeeper

    Quote Originally Posted by Skinner Apiaries View Post
    Now, I remember what I wantd to ask, how many hives does one need to make a profit on almonds if travelling cross country? 300? or do I need as many as 500? More?
    Just the mileage may put you off the idea. Approximately 6,000 miles round trip at $2.50 per mile comes out to $15,000 per semi load from NC to CA and back. So, one semi load of colonies times $125.00 per colony should be about $50,000.00 minus expenses. So, just the mileage takes it down to $35,000.00. There are many more expenses, such as feed (pollen patties and syrup), human lodging and meals. Or maybe sending your colonies to a trusted friend who shares in the income and expenses.

    My bees migrate to SC for the winter. I don't want to work hard enough to get my bees in shape for CA and then risk sending them out there for the income. I spend enuf time away from home as it is.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  18. #78
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: The Last Beekeeper

    Quote Originally Posted by jean-marc View Post
    Never been to almonds but you can bet my bees would be there if the border were open.
    Jean-Marc
    You can take them south if you don't mind not getting them back into Canada, can't you?
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  19. #79
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Owen, WI, USA
    Posts
    2,551

    Default Re: The Last Beekeeper

    Skinner, we are traditional commercial beekeepers, running traditional colonies, no small cell, no screened bottoms etc. Yes the trips have always been profitable, knock on wood. Some years are better than others and we have been lucky I think. I do know a couple beeks that have taken BIG hits on any given year. I think it is important to work yourself into a position to absorb a disasterous year whether you go to almonds or not, that is just good business management.
    We are working on a scale that can absorb some loss (we make it up in volume ). When a yard isn't looking right we scramble to figure out what is wrong. So far no CCD, hopefully we never see any of that. To date we pretty much know what has caused our losses and and it is usually something we either did or did not do. They have been in line with what we would expect from wintering on the Wisconsin frozen tundra, but add in the stress of having your bees a thousands miles away. So far, the size of the good ones coming back allows us to make up our numbers here in Wisconsin, plus sell nucs and packages, which is added to the profit/loss equation.

    Again, we know many commercials that go to CA every year and while every one of them has ups and downs on colony quality, the roots for that quality almost always goes back to where the bees were and how they were managed 4, 5 or 6 months prior to the orchards. With few exceptions they keep close tabs on their colonies' health. They ALL know where their bees are rented before they ship. They deal with reputable brokers or growers. Most spend considerable time in California putting patties and syrup to them, feeding Fum B, grading and evening them. If you aren't out there and something isn't right the broker, grower or another beek lets you know and you can sometimes get back out to fix it, or the brokers sometimes help. We leave as little to chance as possible.

    As far as numbers needed to make a profit, there are too many variables. If you can send them straight out from the home state your best case scenario would be to at least fill one semi which in our case is about 500. If you need to go out to work them of course the more colonies the better the cost is spread around. Some bee clubs have gotten together a semi to share trucking expense and sent them out. We have read at least one catastrophic report on this forum of them losing everything on the load. The past couple years it has gotten very cutthroat and I sure would be careful. Brokers are cutting back, water is a big issue. It is only a profit if your bees are strong (NOT just strong for January), they get contracted and you get paid. All three of those variables are becoming more an issue out there.
    Sheri
    PS Keith you crack me up

  20. #80
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    NE Calif.
    Posts
    2,303

    Default Re: The Last Beekeeper

    >>>Is CCD real or a sexy buzz word?

    I think it is being used as a catchall phrase for a lot of the problems going on in the industry. I take the view that all these problems are identifiable, but it has taken time to discover that it was really a mix of problems that make up so called CCD. CCD is a handy phrase when talking to the public who are mostly clueless about bees , but have all heard about the problems with bees.Try explaining the interaction of new strains of viruses with Nosema ceranae, neonicotinoid insecticides, and Varroa triggering it all, and their eyes glaze over.
    Almond pollination gets the blame because that is where a lot of this crud gets passed around. No need to blame anyone .Thats just the way it is.

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