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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    New Oxford, PA

    Default Pollination versus Honey production

    This is my second year of beekeeping and as a result I keep reading and trying to learn. In reading it appears that there is a difference between colonies used for pollination and those used for honey production. Could someone help me understand the difference. Thank you.

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

    Default Re: Pollination versus Honey production

    There is nothing that says a colony can't do both, but often the reason people are paying to have bee pollinate is that it's not profitable to have the bees there otherwise.

    People who's main income is pollination are often on a yearly route where they haul the bees from place to place "following the bloom" so to speak but not for production purposes but because people pay them for pollination. So they try to bring the bees in right when the plants flower (so the bees won't have already found another nectar source and ignore what they want pollinated) and then take them out right after it finishes blooming so they can spray insecticides etc without harming the bees. Bees stressed by moving and often being in areas with poor forage often do not make honey.

    On the other hand, some people only do one pollination early in the year to boost the bees so they will have a head start. In other words if you live in a cold climate and you haul the bees to a warm climate for pollination you may get them rearing more brood earlier and build up more by the main flow where you intend to make honey.

    Some hives are just stationary. They are in the same place year around usually for the purpose of making honey. No stress of moving and the beekeeper doesn't have to own forklifts and semis.
    Michael Bush "Everything works if you let it." 42y 40h 39yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA

    Default Re: Pollination versus Honey production

    Of all the commercial migratory beekeepers that I know, I don't know any of them that don't manage their bees for both pollination and honey production.
    Mark Berninghausen

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2005
    chilliwack, bc

    Default Re: Pollination versus Honey production

    It also depends on the crop that's being pollinated. pollination in the cranberries is very hard on the bees and the hives might even need to be fed. On the other hand pollinating seed alfalfa is most likely going to give some good surplus honey. I think the number one reason for a beek that relies on pollination as his main income to stall honey production is have the hives to tall for when they move them out. for the beeks that have a large number of hives spend a lot of time moving and doing general hive maintenance (queen rearing, requeening, nuc making, ect) that siad some others also sell bees to keep the hives from swarming whether as nucs or packages. quite often commercial pollinators also have to many hives in a yard to do any honey and most often still have to feed then, also known as the feed-lot-beekeeper.
    Will Gruenwald Chilliwack BC


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