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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Tipton, TN, USA
    Posts
    784

    Default Q: All Mediums for Almonds...

    I know the gold standard is a single deep, deep/shallow, or double deeps....

    But are there any commercial almond pollinators running all medium supers or 8 vs 10 frames...

    Do the grove owners care as long as the surface area of the comb is roughly the same?
    Solo for the last 4 Years, ~60 Hives, TF + Oils.
    http://tradingwebsites4bees.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,555

    Default Re: Q: All Mediums for Almonds...

    Hiya kevin, glad to see you are still bee keeping.

    I'm not commercial, but I see no one has responded yet, so thought I'd pitch in a little. My limited experience comes from working with a side-liner for 2 years maintaining his hives and doing almond pollination here in California.

    The orchard owners want bee populations. They are wanting 8 deep frames covered with bees, from what I've heard. I imagine pollination contracts will pay better for 8 frames of bees than they will for 6 frames of bees.

    You will need space in the hives to have some stores in place when you set the boxes in the orchards, as sometimes the weather is bad and the actual strong flow comes for about two weeks or less, but the bees get set in early and are released late to help get every last blossom pollinated. You also need enough hive space to reduce the odds for swarming while the bees are in the orchards.

    I would imagine using all mediums would be just fine, but may I suggest you use 3 mediums per hive. They guy I worked with used 2 story 8 frame deeps for almond pollination.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Tipton, TN, USA
    Posts
    784

    Default Re: Q: All Mediums for Almonds...

    Hey Ray,

    I'm still at it... Keeping more bees alive than I kill, but it's a slow process... I'm up to about 60 hives, depending on whose alive, dead, or swarming... *grins*

    I took a new job as an IT road warrior, so my bees aren't really happy with me... But the money is better than the old job, so I can afford to ramp up faster.

    Mostly, I was just curious if the medium 8 frame beekeeper would be laugh out of the groves or if the owners would just be happy to have bees. I'm assuming the owner wouldn't care as long as he had enough bees, but some of the brokers might not want to deal with the different equipment...

    I'm years away from really thinking about it.
    Solo for the last 4 Years, ~60 Hives, TF + Oils.
    http://tradingwebsites4bees.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Central Valley, CA, USA
    Posts
    82

    Default Re: Q: All Mediums for Almonds...

    I think you would be just fine with all mediums - as long as you have bees in them!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Solano, California, USA
    Posts
    1,251

    Default Re: Q: All Mediums for Almonds...

    Quote Originally Posted by Almondralf View Post
    as long as you have bees in them!
    The way stories of dead bees are already coming to the forefront so early in this fall combined with the news of substantial jumps in the pollination prices for 2014 I think the size and shape of the box is not going to be a big consideration when Feb 1 rolls around. I'm about to bet you could keep them in a casket and some grower will be willing to pay big bucks for your "dead out" come mid February.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,154

    Default Re: Q: All Mediums for Almonds...

    The trouble might come in the grading, someone having to handle all of those frames. A dbl deep w/ 8 frames of bees may be easier and less work to decide if it has what it takes. Three mediums might make that harder.

    I'm not sure how grading is done really. Do the graders simply look at what they see from the top of the open hive, tilt the hive forward and see what they see from the bottom and give a guestimate of strength? Or do they actually break down the hive and count frames covered w/ bees?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Plymouth County, MA, USA
    Posts
    123

    Default Re: Q: All Mediums for Almonds...

    I just got back from nd where I worked a commercial operation's honey harvest. The guy was a share cropper and had 5000+ hives from different people from all over which then get shipped back to them for the winter. There were a number of 8 framers. The reason is that contracts pay for bees. So if you have double deep 8 framers, you get the same pay per hive (assuming you have 8+ frames of bees) as a 10 framer, but you can fit 6 hives on a pallet, vs 4 if you're using 10 framers. That means more hives per semi load, which increases profits considerably.

    The downside is that 8 framers consistently produce less honey, because with a smaller brood chamber, the colony will not balloon like a double deep during the summer (this, additionally impacts your ability to make splits, I'd imagine).

    The 8 vs 10 frame debate for a commercial operation, however, probably comes down to an analysis of where they make their money - saving fuel and loading more hives (8 framers) or getting higher yields in splits and honey, elsewhere.

    Using mediums three deep is like a double of deeps, but I wonder about spacing on a semi, and it requires more wooden ware, which is a serious cost consideration for a sizable operation.

    Hope that helps.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Tipton, TN, USA
    Posts
    784

    Default Re: Q: All Mediums for Almonds...

    I don't do pollination currently, but I have some future plans to give it a shot. Is it reasonable to think that Farmers looking for pollination, other than almonds would allow you to leave the hives there year round? Or is there an expectation that you bring them in during the king bloom so that the bees only work that flower?

    I know I'm not 100% excited about tossing around deep honey/brood boxes, but if that is the "way to go" then I'm not opposed to it. I do like the 6 hives to a pallet though. I would expect that more money is made from the pollination that honey, depending on what you put the bees on.

    Currently, I've just been working on keeping bees alive and raising queens. If I had to replace everything I have, it's not the end of the world. I've gone from 2 hives to 60'ish in ~3 years... I'm trying to think 5+ years down the road and at least get my truck pointed in the right direction.
    Solo for the last 4 Years, ~60 Hives, TF + Oils.
    http://tradingwebsites4bees.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,682

    Default Re: Q: All Mediums for Almonds...

    I've never seen bees left around all year. Once the crop is done flowering there isn't much around in those types of settings to support all the hives there unless the area is surrounded by non ag crops, or other ag crops that bloom at different times. Also, with all the harvest equipment going around, I wouldn't leave my hives out there and of course any spraying that might be done after flowering.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Tipton, TN, USA
    Posts
    784

    Default Re: Q: All Mediums for Almonds...

    That's was my concern, but I don't have a large holding yard at the moment. Also not sure how much the costs of dragging them between places would eat up profit. I suppose if you could string enough jobs together, then they could just go from field to field...

    With that said, there are a quite a few places around here were the hives sit year round. I think the pollination is a by product of them being in the area. Not a paid services, but the commercial guy has/had 2-300 hives in the soybean fields. I'm assuming he feeds them during the dearth, but I've never paid attention.
    Solo for the last 4 Years, ~60 Hives, TF + Oils.
    http://tradingwebsites4bees.com

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,682

    Default Re: Q: All Mediums for Almonds...

    If they had a pad or something to put them on that would be out of the way, I see that more often or even a small tree line etc... but they always have feeders on when something isn't blooming around that area. Some guys even make their splits there then slowly move out the bees throughout the year after almonds etc... Typically it's an equipment pad not being used at the time.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Red Bluff, Ca
    Posts
    301

    Default Re: Q: All Mediums for Almonds...

    3 Mediums are a pain to grade. Takes longer if done right they have to look at all the frames and figure how much if the comb is covered. There is then a formulas to convert it to a deep frame for the frame count. A lot of the inspectors just tip boxes and do not know what they are doing. There is a standard for how to do a colony inspection. This is from the local county bee inspector.
    Dan

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Calgary, Alberta, CA
    Posts
    69

    Default Re: Q: All Mediums for Almonds...

    Almonds require scale.

    Scale requires standardization.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    los angeles, CA
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: Q: All Mediums for Almonds...

    i have seen 3 mediums, singles, 8 framers, brand new equipment , old junk-mostly mine. it does not matter just have lots of bees.
    i agree with the grading problem but that is not your problem.

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