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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Posts
    35

    Default Beginner Questions: Transporting Colonies for Pollination

    Hi guys!

    I have another set of beginner questions if you'd indulge me.

    I notice that some people have their own trucks for transporting pallets of colonies for pollination. I have also noticed on big runs such as the almond pollination in California people ship their colonies on the back of semi trailers.

    I have a few questions related to this:
    1. How many colonies will fit on the semi trailer load? I read somewhere it was about 400?
    2. I was wondering if they own those semi trailers or they contract the service out to regular transport companies?
    3. If it's a transport company, as an estimate how much does it cost to send a full load of colonies to California from both South Arizona and also from South Florida and also the return journey? (I understand you can give estimates but maybe not the exact price)
    4. Does someone from the farm meet the colonies there, unload them and put them in the correct places or are the beekeepers sending the colonies expected also go there and do that?

    Thanks again for your time.

    Imperial

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Wausau, WI, USA
    Posts
    212

    Default Re: Beginner Questions: Transporting Colonies for Pollination

    I love your enthusiasm! You remind me of myself a few years ago. I wanted to know all about the bees and the commercial end specifically. I managed to get hooked up with a local commercial beek. We made a trade. I worked, and he taught me about bees. Years later I look back and see that there is no way I could have worked hard enough to repay what that man taught me. God Bless that man. Try and get a mentor, you'll learn so much!

    I'll try and answer your questions.

    1. How many colonies is a variable of size and weight. The truck can only be loaded with amount X. This amount alos varies. We can always get more hives on a truck then it can legally carry. LOL A full semi trailer is about 448 colonies that are doubles and medium weight. These are 4 way pallets. If the hives are heavy, you get fewer on a load. If it's singles you can get aound 672. Again, weight will vary this.

    2. Most guys contract out the semi's. Some guys use freight brokers to line up the trucks. Other negotiate directly with the freight company.

    3. That one you should call a freight broker for information.

    4. 2 diffeent management styles. Some have their bees hauled to California and met in California by a broker. The broker unloads the bees and usually places the hives in the orchard. Other ship their bees and go out to California to take care of them and feed them.

    I got the opportunity to help in this whole process last year. It was a great experience and has bees deep in my blood.

    Thanks for asking the questions.

    Wisnewbee

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: Beginner Questions: Transporting Colonies for Pollination

    Hi Wisnewbee!

    Thank you for your detailed reply. I'm very interested by everything that is related to beekeeping, it's just such a noble way of life.

    You are correct, I do need to find myself a mentor, I'm hoping that I can meet a commercial beekeeper here in Ft Lauderdale or in Miami to can show me the ropes and teach me everything I need to know.

    Thanks again for all of the information.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: Beginner Questions: Transporting Colonies for Pollination

    Quote Originally Posted by Wisnewbee View Post
    1. How many colonies is a variable of size and weight. The truck can only be loaded with amount X. This amount alos varies. We can always get more hives on a truck then it can legally carry. LOL A full semi trailer is about 448 colonies that are doubles and medium weight. These are 4 way pallets. If the hives are heavy, you get fewer on a load. If it's singles you can get aound 672. Again, weight will vary this.
    Hi Wisnewbee, I have a followup question regarding this.

    For commercial contracts do they require the beehives to be doubles or do they only require singles? If they only require singles then what is the benefit in having doubles?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,644

    Default Re: Beginner Questions: Transporting Colonies for Pollination

    Commercial can be either. most are probably singles. Hives are genearly "graded" in the field and require x number of frames of bees. Doubles will then grade higher.....

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Weeki Wachee, Florida,USA
    Posts
    2,027

    Default Re: Beginner Questions: Transporting Colonies for Pollination

    Are there brokers that handle the loading, shipping unloading,care and placement in almonds?

    How about just buying hives outright and just selling them in California ?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    FRASER VALLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA
    Posts
    1,347

    Default Re: Beginner Questions: Transporting Colonies for Pollination

    Imperial:

    You will have better luck/success in having your desires fulfilled if instead of finding a guy to teach you everything, you find a guy that needs help. I get people like you calling once in awhile and I never take any on because none of them ever bring anything to the table. From my point of view we could use help, but we sure as heck don't need to babysit anybody. I already have a crew, but can always need more help. People would learn from being around and doing, not so much talking. save the talkinf for when you are driving to another yard.

    Jean-Marc

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    FRASER VALLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA
    Posts
    1,347

    Default Re: Beginner Questions: Transporting Colonies for Pollination

    MBeck

    1.There are brokers that do that.
    2. Sounds like a good idea but...
    A) you need deep pockets to do this.
    B) Bell Hill does this already, and California knows this so that does not leave a lot of room for you. Unless of course you had your own hives to sell.
    C) I do not think there are very large margins unless you wait until the last minutes when growers are desperate and willing to pay more... but this could backfire if you do not get them out or sold on time. Remember you tied up all your cash to purchase that load of bees.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Maricopa, Ariz, USA
    Posts
    90

    Default Re: Beginner Questions: Transporting Colonies for Pollination

    Quote Originally Posted by jean-marc View Post
    B) Bell Hill does this already
    ????Never heard of him.......do you mean Horace Bell?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    FRASER VALLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA
    Posts
    1,347

    Default Re: Beginner Questions: Transporting Colonies for Pollination

    Yes Horace.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,644

    Default Re: Beginner Questions: Transporting Colonies for Pollination

    Keep in mind that when almonds are done, bees starve to death in a cpl weeks so selling them hives is not profitable...... they won't care for them.

    As for brokers, yes there are some that handle just the contract, and there are some that will handle your bees from start to finish. prices vary.... full line brokers that care for and place your bees will generaly take about 75.00 per hive...... (don't shoot just general statement)

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Maricopa, Ariz, USA
    Posts
    90

    Default Re: Beginner Questions: Transporting Colonies for Pollination

    Imperial......I'll comment in a general nature (from a commercial perspective) to several questions you've asked. Your profile says you have no beekeeping experience, what it doesn't state is your mechanical, secretarial, management, math, science, or biology skills, or your willingness to go for days on end without sleep, significant others' willingness to accept that life style etc, etc. Until you have learned the inside of a hive, turned a profit, managed them through winter with a high survival success rate and can do it on a consistent basis.....the answers to the previous questions mean nothing. I've had employees mistake palm pollen for chalk brood, severe mite damage for foul brood, drones for queens, drone brood for healthy worker brood and couldn't spot foul brood scale if I stuck a hundo in the cell. All of that and much more needs to be second nature to you before you seek answers to freight, contracts, budgets etc. Commercials don't buy 50lb bags of powdered sugar......they order tanker loads of syrup (one a day for the next 2 or 3 weeks in some cases), budgets have static overhead of a million and up in many cases. Taking someone's numbers of a couple of nucs and a few pounds of honey produced from a single hive.....multiplying that number by 2000, 5000 or whatever and believing you've discovered the fast lane to dining with Mark Zukerberg will get you into big trouble in a hurry.

    Find yourself an honest and patient mentor (a couple or several would be better)......buy yourself a few hives (trade work for a dozen or so) and dig in. I mean no disrespect. You'll find that you have more effective questions and the answers will be much more relevant to you.

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