I posted this in the general forum first because I don't consider myself a commercial beekeeper by any stretch of the imagination. I am working up to being a sideliner. No responses over there, and I thought you guys might could help me with my questions since y'all do this for a living.
Had a guy stop by the house tonight and ask if I offered pollination services. I live on a busy country road with the hives in view.
It's not him, but a friend of his has a 10-20 acre field planted in watermelons. Asked if he sprays, and he said the only thing he uses is a spray for mildew. Told him right off the bat that there would be a charge and they couldn't spray with the bees there. He said that the guy bought some hives off of someone, but that he feels like there aren't many bees going in and out.
Never done this before, but have thought about getting into it. Haven't had time this year so far as I've been spending lots of time on cutouts. As they say, opportunity knocks....
- how much to charge, and in what unit of measure (meaning hives per acre, per month?)
- how many hives would be needed?
- how do you guys handle spraying?
- which hives should I take? I have 18.
Four are hives that I started this year, all of which are 4-6 boxes high. They all swarmed a couple of weeks ago. Epic fail on swarm prevention.
Luckily I caught all the swarms. I have two hives that are two week old swarms.
Three more month old swarms.
Two are cutouts.
Two are 1.5-3 month old splits.
I'm thinking I could use the swarms since I'm feeding them anyway and they'd be easier to move. I've heard that you have to feed when the bees are on watermelons. There is forage around this location, so I'm not too worried about it.