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  1. #1
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    Apr 2012
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    bridgewater , nova scotia
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    Question Blueberry pollination time !!

    Hi all we are heading out this week from what our growers are saying, into 20% bloom of blueberry fields. I am excited to be a part of pollination but how much is too much in pollination ? What I mean is would you do a double pollination for 150 per hive right after doing a 2-3 week pollination for 145/ hive in the beginning of a honey flow ?? I have it offered to me and I am trying to figure it out ! I have to pick up the hives and relocate them 2 hours further away from me for more blueberry pollination.
    I realize it is up to me, but I don't want to stress out the bees and lose honey production for the sake of another quick paycheck.

    What are your thoughts?

    Thanks
    Ben L
    Ben Little <The Little Bee Farm> https://www.facebook.com/TheLittleBeeFarm
    Nova Scotia Canada

  2. #2
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    Jan 2003
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    Default Re: Blueberry pollination time !!

    This is not my area of experience... but... feed them up, cash that cheque! lol
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  3. #3
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    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Blueberry pollination time !!

    If you don't, chances are they will either starve or be light when you get them back.
    Mark Berninghausen To combat Ebola, please consider supporting http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org


  4. #4
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    FRASER VALLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA
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    Default Re: Blueberry pollination time !!

    Would I do a double pollination? Hmmm, well heck of course. This is my area of expertise. Take the cash, put them on the truck and bring them there. Feed them if need be. If they don't really need feed, feed them anyways. Remember you are in Nova Scotia. It is not known for huge honey crops or even good honey crops so cash jobs are great. That will pay for this and that, help keep you going. Quick paycheck, geez you make it sound like it is a bad thing. Must be a generational thing

    Jean-Marc

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Blueberry pollination time !!

    What kind of honey flow are you after Ben?

    Two hours away, perfect job for that truck of yours!
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  6. #6
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    May 2010
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    Spokane, Washington, USA
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    736

    Default Re: Blueberry pollination time !!

    Definitely pollination money... Much easier on your back and wallet.

  7. #7
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    Apr 2012
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    bridgewater , nova scotia
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    Default Re: Blueberry pollination time !!

    We get a nice white Honey and it usually starts coming in around the end of June.
    This is my first year renting to Blueberries and I didn't want to stick my neck out too far, because I don't know how it effects the hives because the stocking rates are higher then they used to be and that means less food and more stress on the bees, even if I do supplement feed them a bit, I just didn't want to damage the hives for the sake of another cheque.
    I suppose on the other hand since this is a business, we have to do what we have to do to bring in revenue!

    I am still pondering on this, I will decide soon what to do.
    Thanks all
    Ben Little <The Little Bee Farm> https://www.facebook.com/TheLittleBeeFarm
    Nova Scotia Canada

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Campbell River, BC, CA
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    530

    Default Re: Blueberry pollination time !!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Little View Post
    but I don't want to stress out the bees and lose honey production for the sake of another quick paycheck.

    What are your thoughts?
    Cash the cheque, put it in the bank. You make it sound like it's 'found money', unexpected and unplanned. Stuff it into a short term CD. It'll winter without feed and cover spring packages for an almost full replacement if necessary. It can fix a broken truck, or cover some other emergency along the way if necessary.

    A cash buffer is the difference between a sound business, and a shoestring operation.
    Last edited by grozzie2; 05-27-2014 at 07:47 AM. Reason: typo

  9. #9
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    Jan 2005
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    FRASER VALLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA
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    Default Re: Blueberry pollination time !!

    Are talking about 150 pounds of honey per average like many prairie guys get? I do not think so. I think in your area it may be more like 60-80. If at $2.50/lb cdn like many are talking about, that 60 pounds is worth $150.00. It is altogether another business to put it in jars and peddle it to turn your $150 of bulk honey into say $300 of honey stocked on a grocery shelf somewhere. There certainly is value to a honey flow on bee health. It is a hard to measure this season. If there is a problem often it shows up in the fall or next spring. Nothing wrong with heavy supplemental feeding. You also have to consider how many hives. You spoke of an extra 2 hours from home and if memory serves me right you are already 1 hour away. That puts your hives 3 hours away or 6 hours back and forth on a work day on your bees. If you are talking 50 hives kinda expensive on the back and forth. If all your hives are there well it is easier, necessary to make that trip at least once perhaps two or three times to supplemental feed or if you are lucky super them up.

    If you are talking about a 100 pound average honey crop that you are giving up for a pollination check I would say go for the honey. Between these high honey prices and overall bee health that is a no brainer. Less than 60 pollination. The murky and debatable area lies in the 60-80 pound area.

    Jean-Marc

  10. #10
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    Apr 2012
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    bridgewater , nova scotia
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    Default Re: Blueberry pollination time !!

    Jean-marc >> I get around 60-80 pounds average and I get a good price for our honey @ 7.00/lb So 1 big box of honey takes care of the pollination cheque. When I sell to a store it is less of course, but still not worth missing a good flow or having bees swarm away on me.
    This week is quite stressful since I have to get so many things ready for the first ever big move and thinking about sending them off on another pollination run is out for me for this week LOL, way to many other things going on right now
    Ben Little <The Little Bee Farm> https://www.facebook.com/TheLittleBeeFarm
    Nova Scotia Canada

  11. #11
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    Manitoba Canada
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    Default Re: Blueberry pollination time !!

    Keep up the good work Ben! Keep us posted

    Guess they will have to sweeten the pot to get your bees, eh?
    What if they offered $200 per hive?
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  12. #12
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    Apr 2012
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    bridgewater , nova scotia
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    Default Re: Blueberry pollination time !!

    I would do it for 200 Just took the Bee truck out for the first time with the Kubota on the trailer and it was very......different to drive with that on the back, I will have to turn the tractor around because it bobs the truck around the road a bit. It should be a fun trip, I didn't get the lights on the tractor yet either, I keep running out of time LOL I am sure you all know what that is like. I might just do a quick temporary light setup for now and after the bees are out I will have some time to get it done properly
    Ben Little <The Little Bee Farm> https://www.facebook.com/TheLittleBeeFarm
    Nova Scotia Canada

  13. #13
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    May 2013
    Location
    Shreveport, Louisiana, USA
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    Default Re: Blueberry pollination time !!

    "What are your thoughts?"
    How many hives? About how much would your additional fuel and hired labor costs be if you do the pollination?

  14. #14
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    Jan 2003
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    Manitoba Canada
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    Default Re: Blueberry pollination time !!

    ya, you will have to take some of that weight off the hitch
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    Manassas, Virginia, USA
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    Default Re: Blueberry pollination time !!

    We've got wild blueberries and huckleberries blooming all over the woods and the bees are ignoring them. What a pity!

    They're working something in the tree canopy. It's not the tulip poplars or black locusts yet. Didn't see any on sassafras or striped maple. Whatever it is they're ignoring everything at ground level.

    Blueberry008Crop.jpg

  16. #16
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    Apr 2014
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    Fort Gay, WV, USA
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    955

    Default Re: Blueberry pollination time !!

    My bees are beating down the blackberries still yet. Getting started on white dutch cover, and our tulip poplars are just starting to bloom now. Black locusts are a bust, none of them bloomed in our are this year. Didn't see any on sassafras or maple either. But they are building comb like crazy and filling it full of nectar..
    Thomas Bartram - Since 2013, 43 - 8 F langs, 22 Italian & 21 Russian

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Blueberry pollination time !!

    Ben:

    We face that same situation. Too many fires today too worry about 2 weeks down the road. So I focus on fire number one until that is dealt with then number two, later number three. Sure enough number four will come along. Then it is tomorrow and we start all over again. I find if I look too far ahead I lose focus on what should be done today.

    I ended up selling an extra whole bunch of hives and nucs this year by focusing on the immediate problems. The season was good, bees developed and I made up extra nucs to keep them from swarming. Sold bees, money came in, queen guy must like me cause I kept buying them and kept making more. If you have bees for sale/rent customers find you. So I sold more. Long and short of it another week of this insanity and I will be sold out. If somebody told me that I would sell as many hives and nucs as I did so far this year on April 1, I would have thought for sure they were trying to make a fool out of me. Mentally would not have been able to envision it, but 2-3 days ahead is possible for my mind.

    Once you get your feet wet Ben and have those bees in for a few days, then the answer will become clearer. Not what the grower wants to hear but sometimes it makes it easier not to commit until the last minute. It keeps some of the pressure off. Might help the grower loosen the purse strings as well. Isn't great though, you have choices $ now or honey that gets turned into cash later.

    Jean-Marc

  18. #18
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    Feb 2012
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    West Bath, Maine, United States
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    Default Re: Blueberry pollination time !!

    Know nothing about pollination or commercial. Bird in the hand. Honey depends on the weather.
    4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Glendale, Arizona, USA
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    61

    Default Re: Blueberry pollination time !!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Little View Post
    Hi all we are heading out this week from what our growers are saying, into 20% bloom of blueberry fields. I am excited to be a part of pollination but how much is too much in pollination ?
    What I mean is would you do a double pollination for 150 per hive right after doing a 2-3 week pollination for 145/ hive in the beginning of a honey flow ?? I have it offered to me and I am trying to figure it out ! I have to pick up the hives and relocate them 2 hours further away from me for more blueberry pollination.
    I realize it is up to me, but I don't want to stress out the bees and lose honey production for the sake of another quick paycheck.

    What are your thoughts?

    Thanks
    Ben L
    I would try to partner up with someone to meet the farmers requirement and send half of your operation to pollinate and leave half for honey. That way you can also try to build a relationship with the grower at the same time instead of losing the opportunity to pollinate.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    bridgewater , nova scotia
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    720

    Default Re: Blueberry pollination time !!

    Well today is the day we head out for Blueberries 1 full truckload is going to Truro NS and I am nervous and yet I am excited about it. We are taking what is left of the afternoon ( 4:32 pm LOL ) and relaxing a bit before going out and loading the truck and hitting the road !
    For not having rented out this many hives before, it is a very intimidating thing for me, I realize everyone wants money money money, and it is a big business decision to go for another pollination or just bring hives home for making increase for next season and honey production.
    I appreciate all of your inputs but it is a wait and see game and that is what I am going to do. Good or bad decision, I don't know but in order to keep most of the hives from swarming away into the blueberry fields I am leaning towards 1 pollination rental this year.

    Thanks
    Ben L
    Ben Little <The Little Bee Farm> https://www.facebook.com/TheLittleBeeFarm
    Nova Scotia Canada

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