Bee keeping in the tundra
Does any one have any experience with the tundra? I have read tht the tundra has blooms for 3 months with 24 hours a day sunlight. Sounds like 300 pounds of honey per hive and strong hives when you move them south. Any comments will be appreciated
Re: Bee keeping in the tundra
Our Alaska "operation" is "tundra" if you consider the following places tundra..... Wasilla /Palmer, Trapper Creek, Fairbanks, and Delta Junction. Looking to run farther north in the next couple of years if I can stomach the financial risk involved. It does bloom from the end of April through the end of August in AK. Trees, wildflowers with hopefully lots of Fireweed make up the pollen and honey flows. Honeydews can screw up the bees. The only "honey flow" is the last few days of June through mid August at the out side edges.
Originally Posted by seamuswildflower
The reason the honey in AK wholesales for 8 bucks a pound minimally and normally around 10-12 is that the real average is about 10% of what you claim over a 10 year average. Only one 200+ crop in 20 years with many skunks like 9 lb average last year. Rain in July will kill every ounce you expect or hope for. Flowers only crank out nectar when they are "hot." Check the temp average in AK and you will not find warm in the picture.
The other kicker is most bees only go one way to AK. They may only go by plane or boat as Canada does not permit bees from the US to enter unless they fly across the border under their own volition. They can be huge in the end of July and about dead by the second week of September. We produce our own in CA but the average 4 pound package of bees averages over $130 on the ground in either Anchorage or Fairbanks. Big money to get them there. Not to mention the coordination involved in Air schedules.
Been working on plans to try getting some bees up off of the Yukon around the arctic circle via air boat to spots where the temps come in around 80 a couple of days a year. How much a pound do you think that will cost us? If we pull it off I wont wholesale it for less than 20 a pound and bet it wont be a money maker at that. The tundra is the most beautiful place in the world... Not necessarily the most forgiving when it comes to producing honey though.
If you are looking for big crops up north bring a lot of cash for feed and a watch wound up with lots of patience cause you will not likely ever see a 300 pound season of which you dream. Not in AK. The only reason we do it is that it works good in conjunction with other stuff we do up there.
Re: Bee keeping in the tundra
As for tundra, there is some by Delta Junction, but what would be better is the alpine flows that are easily accessible from the major population centers. To get the the true tundra of western or northern Alaska would be expensive, plane ride to western or 400 mile drive from Fairbanks to the northern. Then, as on the north slope, you will deal with fog, winds and temperatures that might reach 65-75 F for at best 2-3 weeks. Even though you have 24 hours daylight, that does not equal 65 F temp all day. A better bet would be the muskegs, near and around the population centers. I've caught several feral hives from the interior of Alaska, but had a helicopter to ferry me back and forth without cost (work). We had to put the bees in the rear compartment, and even then, the pilot was nervous.