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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
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    Palmdale, CA
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    65

    Default Getting started in pollination

    I am trying to find out exactly how one would get started in almond pollination. I live only a couple hours drive from the almond orchards. I was thinking of gathering together as many hives as possible from our local bee club and then hauling hives out to the almonds. Can you deal directly with the almond growers, or do do only deal with large commercial operations? Would it best to try to work with almond growers directly or use a intermediate pollination company?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
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    1,243

    Default Re: Getting started in pollination

    just out of curiosity, why would members of your local bee club want you to haul their hives to a place they would have no control over managing their hives? It puts stress on the bees, and exposes them to a communicable environment. what's in it for the hive owner? The per hive income is not great, the profit comes from the numbers, and the honey is worthless.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
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    2,828

    Default Re: Getting started in pollination

    I will say I would welcome such an offer because I have 9 hives I would like to get sent to almonds. 9 hives is not worth the hassle it will take to get them there all on their own. But combining them with others that are sending them would make it a lot easier.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
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    4,236

    Default Re: Getting started in pollination

    Quote Originally Posted by Tenbears View Post
    just out of curiosity, why would members of your local bee club want you to haul their hives to a place they would have no control over managing their hives? It puts stress on the bees, and exposes them to a communicable environment. what's in it for the hive owner? The per hive income is not great, the profit comes from the numbers, and the honey is worthless.
    Good observations all and the question should also be asked "whats in it for the grower". For those wanting to "play the game" I would suggest thinking like a grower. They arent in this to serve the beekeeper. They want pollination.......a lot of it.....and not many will want the hassle of dealing with a few hives here and there. Offer them what they want and you should have little trouble with placement. Offer them a bunch of hives with the disclaimer that these 12 hives are really good, these 12 not so good and those 4 over there I'm not sure about.....well you get the picture. Then factor in (for tax purposes) whether the suppliers are a single entity or a whole bunch of small ones that may each need a seperate check based on their unique frame count and things start getting really complicated for a grower and/or a broker that has lots of other issues to deal with. Offer a grower what he needs with no drama or complications, that's the bottom line.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Palmdale, CA
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    65

    Default Re: Getting started in pollination

    Yeah, if one beekeeper could supply all 1.5 million hives that would certainly be much simpler for the grower, but I doubt that's going to happen. I guess I am asking more about what the actual norms are. i.e. what is the smallest number of hives that one beekeper would typically have? Does the beekeeper have to stay with his bees the whole 3 weeks, or do the local ones go home?

    What's in it for the hive owner is $$, of course. If you have 50 hives, that is $8,250 - not bad if you're only a couple hours away. I know that there are risks with doing it, but that's true of pretty much everything.

    So almond honey is worthless? Does it not taste good? I must admit that I've never seen almond honey for sale. I know that a lot of beekeepers extract the honey on their way out of the state. Do they just dump it? Or use it for feed? Thanks for the info.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Fresno Ca USA
    Posts
    155

    Default Re: Getting started in pollination

    Hilltop,

    You are on the right track, form an (informal) Co-Op and "Just Do IT"

    Almonds produce very little honey, and it is bitter, bees go thought it as food. Those that extract it before heading home want to get the weight off the truck.
    Your member group will also benefit by having increase size in hives early in the year, maybe even splitting hives to increase their hive numbers or sell them to others.
    California Almond Pollination Services, Inc.
    http://www.almondbeepollination.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Solano, California, USA
    Posts
    1,252

    Default Re: Getting started in pollination

    Quote Originally Posted by Hilltop View Post


    So almond honey is worthless? Does it not taste good? I must admit that I've never seen almond honey for sale. I know that a lot of beekeepers extract the honey on their way out of the state. Do they just dump it? Or use it for feed? Thanks for the info.



    There are those who sell it although I doubt that it would "test" high in almond pollen. see http://marshallsfarmnaturalhoney.foo...-gift-jar-8-oz

    FYI: after thirty years+ years in the almonds I would say that the years you "could" make excess almond honey are truly few and far inbetween. Most years the bees use the intake and burn it up into producing babies. The honey tastes atrocious if you get any. Anyone who takes the time to throw on suppers during the almonds in hope of acquiring a honey crop has way to much time to waste in my experience. If you do so you ought to arrive with 25 frames of bees in double deeps and then wait till the forecast is scheduled to be 65+ for a week straight in the middle of the bloom. Otherwise forget it.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Spokane, Washington, USA
    Posts
    706

    Default Re: Getting started in pollination

    Some sell it, but in the few weeks between almonds and apples, the bees consume lots of it. The rest usually ends up in nucs. It gets mixed the the syrup as well. Not worth supering hives in almonds. Waste of time and $.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,174

    Default Re: Getting started in pollination

    Why do beekeepers need access to hives in the groves? Because they didn't get their work done before hand and they might swarm? Any time a colony in pollination is worked my growers consider that day a loss. In apples that might be the one day that bees really fly. Maybe almonds are enough different from NY apples that working them during pollination doesn't matter. I'm just curious why beekeepers need to work in their hives during almond pollination.

    Maybe it's to shoot them some corn syrup?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
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    4,236

    Default Re: Getting started in pollination

    Quote Originally Posted by RAK View Post
    Some sell it, but in the few weeks between almonds and apples, the bees consume lots of it. The rest usually ends up in nucs. It gets mixed the the syrup as well. Not worth supering hives in almonds. Waste of time and $.
    Agreed, surplus honey, at least enough to extract, is the exception not the rule. Feed demands are so great post bloom that I look at anything they have put away as here today gone tomorrow. So there is actually a market for almond honey? Wonder if they are testing for adulteration..........wait, I don't want to know.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Palmdale, CA
    Posts
    65

    Default Re: Getting started in pollination

    What is the minimum number of hives that I would need to get into it?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Fresno Ca USA
    Posts
    155

    Default Re: Getting started in pollination

    Quote Originally Posted by Hilltop View Post
    What is the minimum number of hives that I would need to get into it?
    Depends on the size of the orchard. We have growers that want 24 hives and our largest Grower takes over 6,000 hives.
    What is your Break Even Point to travel the distance required with the number of hives you have?
    California Almond Pollination Services, Inc.
    http://www.almondbeepollination.com

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Lathrop, CA
    Posts
    51

    Default Re: Getting started in pollination

    Im supplying 20 this year and was asked if I knew anyone with 8 hives for another location. There are small growers for small beekeepers just need to find them. I think small orchards are avoided by big beekeepers because its too much work for not enough money.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    2,828

    Default Re: Getting started in pollination

    I have 9 hives but would be willing to take 8 if they are not to far away. I just looked Lathrop and if they are near you I can live with going as far as Stockton. I am looking for $185 per hive as of today and the price rises as I get closer to the end of the month. It will be at $200 per hive by the 30th. I will have to do an inspection to be able to offer a current report on their condition. that inspection is weather dependent. The past few days have been warm so chances are fair to good that I can get inspections done. I will need cost of getting the bees there up front. That includes truck rental and fuel costs to and from. I will make an uniformed guess that will work out to about 25% of the pollination fee up front. The balance is due when I pick the hives up.

    I am just trying to get my feet wet and am a little guy willing to help another little guy and not really make much out of the effort. But I can't afford to foot the bill along the way either. Honey paid good this year but I am growing and it did not pay that good.

    So if someone needs a piddly little number of hives and is willing to put up with an inexperienced piddling beekeeper. I am willing to do what I can to make it work.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

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