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Beekeeper Newsletter – January 28, 2003

BEE THEFT ALERT

There is currently a shortage of bees for almond pollination. High honey prices have caused some out-of-state beekeepers to forego almonds and winter their bees in southern states. Red Imported Fire Ant regulations continue to reduce the supply of bees from Texas. Mites, diseases and winter loss continue to take a toll on all colonies.

Until recently, we hadn’t experienced a bee theft in 5 years. Over the recent Holidays, one of our beekeepers had 250 colonies stolen from a stockpile site; another beekeeper (not with us) had 150 stolen. Both thefts occurred in Madera county and in both cases, the hives were taken off pallets (the pallets remained behind).

The spike in honey prices has increased the value of bee colonies – from $80 a year ago, to $120/colony today. In addition, some beekeepers over-committed to almond growers and are under considerable pressure to fill their orders.

Please take precautions to secure the bees delivered to your orchards.

We are currently out of bees and have no back-up supply should hives be stolen from your orchards.

SCIENTIFIC AG Co.
P.O. Box 2144
Bakersfield, CA 93303