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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    Farmington, NM
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    734

    Default Troubling Honey Bee Shortage in California

    Not sure if this has been posted yet....

    DAVIS--California almond growers may not have enough honey bees to pollinate this year’s crop of 800,000 acres, says Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology. He attributes the difficulty to winter losses and less populous hives.

    “We need 1.6 million colonies, or two colonies per acre, and California has only about 500,000 colonies that can be used for that purpose,” he said. “We need to bring in a million more colonies but due to the winter losses, we may not have enough bees.”

    Those winter losses-- still being tabulated-- and the resulting fewer bees per hive could spell trouble for almond growers, he said.

    “Last year was not a good year for honey production in the United States,” Mussen said, “and it could be one of the worst honey production years in the history of nation, although it’s been pretty rough in some of the previous years. Usually when we’re short of nectar, we’re short on pollen, and honey bees need both. So, 2012 was a bad year for bee nutrition.”

    Malnutrition is one of the stressors of colony collapse disorder, the mysterious malady first noticed in the winter of 2006 that has decimated one-third of the nation’s bees every year. Some beekeepers have reported winter losses of 90 to 100 percent.

    In CCD, the adult bees abandon the hive, leaving behind the queen bee, brood and food stores. Bee scientists think CCD is caused by a multitude of factors, includes, pests, pesticides, parasites, diseases, malnutrition and stress.

    “We don’t know how many more bees will be lost over the winter,” Mussen said. “We consider the winter ending when the weather warms up and the pollen is being brought into the hives.”

    “Many, many colonies are not going to make it through the winter,” said Mussen, an apiculturist in the UC Davis Department of Entomology since 1976. “We won’t have as large a bee population as in the past.”

    In other words, fewer colonies will be available for the almond growers and the colonies that are available aren’t going to be as populous, he said.” Almond growers usually want at least eight frames of bees per hive,” Mussen said, “but this year they may be lucky to get six. That’s one-third less bees per hive to pollinate the orchards.”

    Mussen estimated a good solid hive with eight frames amounts to 2000 bees per frame or 16,000 bees.

    Already brokers are getting calls from beekeepers saying “I can’t fulfill the contract. I’m going to be short.”

    Mussen said it may all work out well in the end as “bees pollinate almonds on a community basis. The strong colonies will make up for the weak colonies. The strong colonies will clean the orchard of pollen by early afternoon and then go down the street and grab food from nearby orchards.”

    San Joaquin almond orchards are already starting to bloom, “but it’s going to be late up here in the Sacramento Valley,” he said. Kern County grows more almonds than any other county in the state.

    Many beekeeping operations truck in thousands of colonies to pollinate California’s almonds. One beekeeping operation used to bring 16,000 colonies, Mussen said, “but that 16,000 could be half that this year.” The bees are trucked here from all over the nation.

    Almonds are California's biggest export. This year the National Agricultural Statistics Service is forecasting a record-breaking 2.10 billion meat pounds, valued at approximately $3 billion. Eighty-percent of the global supply of almonds is grown in California, and about 70 percent of California’s crop is marketed overseas.
    Plant Hardiness Zone 6B, 5300 ft., Bee Zone A/B, Proverbs 24:13
    https://www.facebook.com/mobileprotection#!/2RBeeFarm

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Solano, California, USA
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    1,252

    Default Re: Troubling Honey Bee Shortage in California

    Not sure if the "shortage" has really panned out yet. There are a lot of dead hives around but the resounding cry of frustrated almond growers has not yet reared its head in a massive way.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Farmington, NM
    Posts
    734

    Default Re: Troubling Honey Bee Shortage in California

    I know a commercial guy not too far from here who has received serval calls from brokers asking him to bring his bees out to California. He hasn't sent bees that way in several years and doesn't sound like he will do it this year.
    Plant Hardiness Zone 6B, 5300 ft., Bee Zone A/B, Proverbs 24:13
    https://www.facebook.com/mobileprotection#!/2RBeeFarm

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Cupertino, CA, USA
    Posts
    279

    Default Re: Troubling Honey Bee Shortage in California

    How much has the price offered by almond growers to pollinators gone up? There must be people on Beesource who know this.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Amador County, Calif
    Posts
    3,161

    Default Re: Troubling Honey Bee Shortage in California

    Quote Originally Posted by bhfury View Post
    Usually when we’re short of nectar, we’re short on pollen, and honey bees need both. So, 2012 was a bad year for bee nutrition.”
    Malnutrition is one of the stressors of colony collapse disorder, the mysterious malady first noticed in the winter of 2006 that has decimated one-third of the nation’s bees every year. Some beekeepers have reported winter losses of 90 to 100 percent. .
    Just thought this might need a second read. Good luck to all this spring.
    NUTRA-BEE feed supplements

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Solano, California, USA
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    1,252

    Default Re: Troubling Honey Bee Shortage in California

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Jarrett View Post
    Just thought this might need a second read. Good luck to all this spring.

    This wouldn't be a subtle ad for sub would it Keith? Not even sure why you would need one besides a candid shot of one of your or my hives with the lids off.

    Let it be known to all. We have dead bees but the ones that survived are currently in pretty good shape. Thanks in part to about 10 pounds of sub per hive from the guy with the blue boxes as well as up to 12 gallons of syrup per hive from April on. The poor ladies who would have been all dead or in PPS otherwise. Currently are on a roll.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    FRASER VALLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA
    Posts
    1,303

    Default Re: Troubling Honey Bee Shortage in California

    Hmmm, for the folks that don't know that's 120 pounds of syrup, or the equivalent of a reasonnable honey flow. That's a bit more than we would feed. 10 pounds of sub, seems a like a lot, but we feed even moreof it. Either way if we did not feed heavily we too would have poor or dead hives.

    Jean-Marc

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Solano, California, USA
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    1,252

    Default Re: Troubling Honey Bee Shortage in California

    Quote Originally Posted by jean-marc View Post
    Hmmm, for the folks that don't know that's 120 pounds of syrup, or the equivalent of a reasonnable honey flow. That's a bit more than we would feed. 10 pounds of sub, seems a like a lot, but we feed even moreof it. Either way if we did not feed heavily we too would have poor or dead hives.

    Jean-Marc

    All the rain went north in winter of 2012 and with it the honeyflow. Lots of new frames and a poor / low flow makes for lots of feeding.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Carson City, Nevada, USA
    Posts
    171

    Default Re: Troubling Honey Bee Shortage in California

    We have been offered $150 for 6 frames, and have heard some say they are offering $175 for 6 frames. We will see what reality is tommorow.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Clear Lake, WI / Sebring, FL
    Posts
    618

    Default Re: Troubling Honey Bee Shortage in California

    We are getting $225.00 for 6-7 fame singles. Well, we are not walking with that but that is what the grower is paying.
    Clear Lake Wi. / Sebring Fl.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Hughson, CA
    Posts
    153

    Default Re: Troubling Honey Bee Shortage in California


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Solano, California, USA
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    1,252

    Default Re: Troubling Honey Bee Shortage in California

    Quote Originally Posted by Trevor Mansell View Post
    We are getting $225.00 for 6-7 fame singles. Well, we are not walking with that but that is what the grower is paying.
    Like winning the lottery the friends and relatives will soon be coming out of the woods looking for a handout.

    BTW when was that big dinner you promised all you beesource buddies when you hit the big time.


    Is this for one hive or five loads. North, central, or south?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Livermore, CA
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    1,379

    Default Re: Troubling Honey Bee Shortage in California

    Quote Originally Posted by LSBees View Post
    We have been offered $150 for 6 frames, and have heard some say they are offering $175 for 6 frames. We will see what reality is tommorow.
    A grower I know that has a long standing relationship with his bee guy paid $165 this year, from what I've been reading around the web, there is a pretty good shortage of hives and the prices are climbing over $200 a hive, would have been a good year to have some extra hives in reserve for the big guys, heck even if I had a handful of strong hives I could have made enough to buy more wooden ware!
    Coyote Creek Bees

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Woodland, CA
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: Troubling Honey Bee Shortage in California

    I'm still getting calls everyday by brokers and growers coming up short. So far the biggest was a block of 200 acres calling for 400 hives... lucky the bloom is holding out a little longer this year down south.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Solano, California, USA
    Posts
    1,252

    Default Re: Troubling Honey Bee Shortage in California

    If the growers start cracking boxes I hope they are happy with what they see inside. Driving around today seemed to be some pretty sorry flight going on in and out of some "boxes" considering it was as hot as it was. Lot of smaller places still don't have anything in them yet? Buds busting on the end of our driveway. With almost 70 tomorrow the flowers ought to be on a roll by the time the rain shows up early next week.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Montgomery County, NY
    Posts
    1,596

    Default Re: Troubling Honey Bee Shortage in California

    I got a call the other night hearing about 4 framers getting $160.00. It almost made me drive down south and load my bees on a semi bound for CA. Geeze my crappiest bees are most likely 4 frames.

    Actually I thought it was a bit out there offering $160.00 for 4 framers. Well until I read this thread today. Oh well there always next year!

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Indianapolis IN 46227
    Posts
    285

    Default Re: Troubling Honey Bee Shortage in California

    There must be a serious shortage of bees. I'm a very small sideliner in Indy, and have been getting offers to pollinate almonds. I'm too far north to play that game.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Lancaster, Ky. / Frostproof Fl.
    Posts
    983

    Default Re: Troubling Honey Bee Shortage in California

    well after last year and one load sitting in a orchard that hD 3 blooms per acre and beez going downhill with nothing to work my bees are in orange groves in sunny florida. if almond growers want bees they need to rease when there is no viable bloom. ive got the best bees ive ever had...what didnt kick the bucketm. most all are 14 to 16 frames or more... just staying on east coast.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Montgomery County, NY
    Posts
    1,596

    Default Re: Troubling Honey Bee Shortage in California

    Im with you. Mine should be strong and looking great.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Amador County, Calif
    Posts
    3,161

    Default Re: Troubling Honey Bee Shortage in California

    Quote Originally Posted by BeeGhost View Post
    , from what I've been reading around the web, there is a pretty good shortage of hives and the prices are climbing over $200 a hive, would have been a good year to have some extra hives in reserve for the big guys!
    Me thinks this will bee short lived.
    NUTRA-BEE feed supplements

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