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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Green Bay, WI, USA
    Posts
    7

    Default cranberry pollination

    Hi, I will have from 100-150 hives this year and was thinking about testing the waters with cranberry pollination with 50 of my hives. Ive never done a pollination contract before so I had a few questions. What are they paying for a hive in wisconsin? Whats the best way of getting a contract? (just call the growers i would assume) What kind of pesticides should i watch out for? Whats the standard hive strength for cranberries? Ive heard you can make some honey sometimes off cranberries?

    I'm sure i will have more questions but thanks for any help in advance,

    Steve

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,758

    Default Re: cranberry pollination

    I don't know anything about cranberry pollination in WI, Here in NY I pollinate about 80 acres of crans. I haven't noticed any problems w/ pesticides.

    I get my cols into the crans soon after they come out of apple pollination and leave them there all Summer. I don't think they make anything in the way of honey from the crans. Not enuf for me to notice.

    Actually, not that I spend a lot of time looking, I haven't seen bees working crans. But, the difference between them being there during pollination time and not was quite evident when one year I didn't have them there and the next year when I did and there was considerablly higher per acre berry production.

    I get $50.00/cols. They may get more in WI.
    Mark Berninghausen To combat Ebola, please consider supporting http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,217

    Default Re: cranberry pollination

    Big Honey, there was an article in ABJ or Bee Culture within the last year about some Wisconsin Beeks who went to the Cranberries. One guys set up involved leaving the hives on a trailer with an electric fence attached to the top to keep the bears out. I have seen Cranberries mentioned a few times over the years and don't recall that anyone made honey off them.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Clear Lake, WI / Sebring, FL
    Posts
    632

    Default Re: cranberry pollination

    You won't make any honey off the cranberries ,unless the bog is in area that has other sources around it. You will have to move them right at the end of the bloom because they spray ASAP for some kind of worm. The going rate is $65 to $70 per hive. They bloom different times depending where you are in Wi.
    Clear Lake Wi. / Sebring Fl.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Outagamie County, Wisconsin USA
    Posts
    927

    Default Re: cranberry pollination

    There is a guy out of Rhinelander (Hansen Honey) that has pollinated cranberries. Not sure if he still does or if he is willing to share info.

    Some other beekeeper in northern Wisconsin uses a gutted out school bus to hold the hives to keep the bears off of them.
    Last edited by Bee Bliss; 01-13-2012 at 08:30 PM. Reason: typo

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,469

    Default Re: cranberry pollination

    Perhaps someone could speak up and explain the attraction of Cranberry pollination. I have talked to a few beeks that have done it and they always seem to tell the same story. The rates arent that good, it coincides with the main honey flow, they have to go in and come out in the middle of the summer when bee moving conditions arent great and worst of all the bees just do really poorly on cranberry pollen. A $60 per hive contract equates to about a medium of honey. Am I missing something?
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,497

    Default Re: cranberry pollination

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    Perhaps someone could speak up and explain the attraction of Cranberry pollination.
    And on the east coast...Maine/Massachusetts, colonies that pollinate cranberries after blueberries are toast and have to limp back south to recover.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Fresno California USA
    Posts
    2,479

    Default Re: cranberry pollination

    As a pollinator I must say; pollination Blows for the bees, everywhere except perhaps almonds. Other than that, you gain short term & lose long term.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Owen, WI, USA
    Posts
    2,555

    Default Re: cranberry pollination

    I think some beeks just look at cranberries as a means to early summer cash flow. Tom says it well, short term gain (how much gain is debatable) long term loss.
    I suppose if you were just trying to get them out of a southern dearth and didn't want to fool with honey extraction an argument could be made.
    If the bees are strong enough to make a crop they will do better during that time not going into cranberries. It is tough to keep them from going backwards in cranberries so it can effect the rest of the season's harvest too. Every time we look at the numbers we shake our heads and leave them in honey production.
    Sheri

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    dennison MN
    Posts
    112

    Default Re: cranberry pollination

    i too have heard the hives take a real hit after crans. and i understand moving bees in the middle of summer at night sucks. what i am curious about is why the bees are not able to make honey off of other things near the cran. bogs. i have never seen one of these bogs, but i understand wisc. beeks do make honey crops so why dont the bees just work other things around the crans after they are done. are these bogs in really secluded areas. just wondering why the bees dont move on to other floral sources once the cran pollination is done. i was just thinking if you were a wis. beek and you could set your bees once in the spring near a cran bog, get a pollination contract and still make a honey crop that would be nice. i understand it just doesnt work that way but if it did it would be sweet for you wisconny folks.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Worcester County, Massachusetts
    Posts
    3,684

    Default Re: cranberry pollination

    ...I'd suggest reading Dave Mendes' testimony to Congress from a few.years.ago. fungicides are sprayed on the open blooms (as.per label instructions) which of course also contaminates.the water as.well as.the nectar and pollen. Dave testified that his bees were tested, and 7000ppm of fungicides were.found.
    Deknow

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Clear Lake, WI / Sebring, FL
    Posts
    632

    Default Re: cranberry pollination

    It all really depends on where the bog is, Ive had bees come out very heavy with nice brood patterns. Ive also had them come out very light and almost dead. Since you only have 100 hives and you want to send 50 or more into pollination that 50% or more of your operation. You have to consider that most of them are not going to be strong enough to make it thru the winter, is it really worth it ?
    Clear Lake Wi. / Sebring Fl.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,758

    Default Re: cranberry pollination

    My grower told me not to refer to where the crans grow as bogs, but beds. Is this true in WI too? My grower is from MA and has two sets of beds here in NY.
    Mark Berninghausen To combat Ebola, please consider supporting http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org


  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
    Posts
    2,737

    Default Re: cranberry pollination

    SQKCRK, around Warrens, Wis, they are called bogs.

    Many years ago, as a favor, I would drop a few hives in a bog just east of Warrens. They never did too well. Nothing else in the area except black raspberries/blackberries. Surrounded by more bogs, and scrub pine/oak woods. No Linden, clover, alfalfa or Locust. That is why i felt they typically slide backwards.

    Crazy Roland

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,758

    Default Re: cranberry pollination

    Are they natural, or built by humans? Maybe it's a NY or Eastern US thing. Calling them beds, so people don't get all upset about wet lands.
    Mark Berninghausen To combat Ebola, please consider supporting http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org


  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
    Posts
    2,737

    Default Re: cranberry pollination

    Very man made. Think of two or three or more football fields joined head to toe. The width is determined by twice the reach of a boom truck used to ?(forgot) reaching over the bed from either side. Around all edges of the "field" is a slight , maybe a foot or so, ditch. The land then goes up maybe 5-6 feet? to form a dike. There is water control systems so that the bog can be flooded when needed(harvest and winter?).


    Most bogs have an old backhoe on site.

    What did I forget?

    Crazy Roland

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,758

    Default Re: cranberry pollination

    Sounds just like the beds here.
    Mark Berninghausen To combat Ebola, please consider supporting http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org


  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    FRASER VALLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA
    Posts
    1,347

    Default Re: cranberry pollination

    Bogs over here on the west coast.

    Jean-Marc

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Green Bay, WI, USA
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: cranberry pollination

    Thanks everybody for the advice! I think im going to stay out of cranberries for now. Like was mentioned earlier i wouldn't want to risk loosing those hives and if i could make more on honey and it be better for the bees then why not just do that.

    One more question though. Do your hives usually fall apart after apples as well. Since they bloom early do your hives come out of apples and make a summer and fall crop of honey or does spraying take to big of a toll on the hives!

    Thanks everyone for all the advice,

    Steve

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,758

    Default Re: cranberry pollination

    Apple pollination doesn't expose the bees to the sprays that crans might. The orchardists say they don't spray while my hives are in their orchards.

    I may or may not get the same or better honey crop had my bees gone directly from SC to their summer yds in NY, but, they do make a crop of honey. They do not fall apart after apples.
    Mark Berninghausen To combat Ebola, please consider supporting http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org


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