What is the status of Commercial Beekeeping Operations across the Nation? I have heard that there are fewer and fewer beekeepers owning more and more colonies of bees. Who is stepping up to fill the shoes of the aging Commercial Beekeepers? Is this the future of commercial beekeeping, that fewer beekeepers put on more hives to cover the demands of specialty pollination, such as almonds and blueberries?
Pollination seems to drive the commercial beekeepers these days, not honey production, though that is important too. I recall Inspecting a commercial operation one time. The beekeeper, somewhat halfheartedly, complained about the honey he had to deal w/. He would have loved to have had hives that would make enuf to sustain themselves thru to the next season, rather than making a surplus which he had to extract. Pollination being his major moneymaker. That was 15 years ago. I don't know how he feels about it now.
Would y'all who run thousands rather not deal w/ the honey and just pollinate?
Who is stepping up to fill your shoes? Children? The highered help?
And of all the colonies in operations above smallscale beekeepers, what percentage are held by Commercial Beekeepers and what percentage are held by Sideliners and those operations of around 500 or so, one person operations?