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Discussion Starter #1
I have had three calls this week looking for bees for almonds. Offers were 95 to 100 to me. I would have to pay transportation...I passed as I think it wil be much higher come Feb. One told me my phone would be ringing more in a month or two! I wouldnt go to Ca for a net of $70 anyway. From what I'm being told lots bees are dying/dead or weak in ca. I have talked to three other large beeks/brokers in last two days all opinions are this will be the worst shortage of bees yet. One grower is waiting until Feb 1 to contract bees as he thinks they will be cheap and he needs 16,000 hives....I wish him luck but all this was caused by the undercutting last yr. I told brokers I would talk for 150(130 to me) and would come for 200(175 to me). They said they would probably be calling!
 

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"Bee shortage in almonds" as if it were pastence.

I would only, at this time, be concerned with " a WATER shortage".
 

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http://www.cfbf.com/news/audio/2009/Dec2.mp3
Sounds like Eric is hearing the same stuff.

Water?
From CFB:

"State Water Project customers to get 5 percent of allocations
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As dry weather continues, the State Water Project told customers they can expect only five percent of their allocations in 2010. That's the lowest initial allocation in project history. Last year the initial amount was 15 percent and by May that had increased to 40 percent. The initial allocation reflects low carryover storage levels in the state's major reservoirs. The allocation will be updated monthly reflecting how much precipitation falls. The State Water Project delivers water to customers in the southern San Joaquin Valley and southern California."
On the plus side ,we are getting snow tonight and through the week.I don't care much for these 11 degree nights.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I agree about the water shortage Keith, BUT I am saying what I've been told by ALL who I have talked to, both who called me AND those who I contacted, one of which is one of the largest better known providers (beek and broker) in almonds. Also lets hope long term weather projections of a wet winter/spring are correct as CA needs rain!
 

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There are plenty of train wrecks going on right now.Some beeks will tell you they are having problems and others will NEVER let on.Only time will tell, but my gut feeling is there will be a shortage of GOOD hives IF water is available.
Almonds are shipping at a record rate and prices are up, so......
 

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I have had pretty much the same experience this year to date as sutton and logger. A broker I work with thought in january the price would be at least 150 for 6 frame min.

I have also been getting calls for bees and dont have them or know were to find some.

As for the water shortage growers we work with on the west side buy crop insurance and HAVE TO get bees. This is already determined regardless of water. I think all orchards get crop insurance and are required to get bees. Just like us they sign up for crop insurance in the fall. Pray for rain though.
 

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As for the water shortage growers we work with on the west side buy crop insurance and HAVE TO get bees. This is already determined regardless of water. I think all orchards get crop insurance and are required to get bees. Just like us they sign up for crop insurance in the fall. Pray for rain though.
Flathead, let me ask you this, what does firewood & bees have in common?

Also, how many keepers do you think have Nap insurance?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Flathead

I'm heading back to Fl thursday If bees havent gone bad in last three weeks I will have bees that should ave 10-12 frames....if they do good 15+ but as above I'm not interested at anything less than 150 as I can make that much making splits(which are going to be wanted in eastern us)and blueberries in Fl. Tell them to call me wen it gets 150-or higher. also Wish I had moved to Montana yrs ago...love your state!
 

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For there being a potential shortage, there sure are a lot of farmers not willing to sign a contract yet. A buddy of mine couldn't get a grower to sign for $125.00 for 8 frames when previously he had agreed to. You may be right about a bee shortage but it seems like I've heard this the last few years and it hasn't materialized. From what I've seen, there is not shortage at this time. Hopefully I'm wrong.
 

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As for the water shortage growers we work with on the west side buy crop insurance and HAVE TO get bees. This is already determined regardless of water. QUOTE]


You know Flathead, I co-wrote an artical in 2006 in the ABJ called "California deamin" it's also on Randy Oliver's home page, it talks about the same things on this thread BUT, there's no ending because WE DON'T KNOW YET. So keep on dreamin, your dreams might come true & might not.I have no idea how this is all going to play out, I do however have a strong hunch, I will keep it at that. In high steaks poker only the fools show there hand & run there mouth.
 

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I am betting the real question is covering 100.00$ pollination contracts with 135.00 australian packages.
Australian dollar is so much stronger than the U.S. dollar. Unless the Australian economy tanks or ours significantly strengthens between now and the Almond bloom very few Australian packages will be coming into the U.S. this year. I have heard an estimated price of $150 for australian packages right now. I doubt that beeks will be able to justify that cost.

The average price I am hearing around my area for almond pollination is $130 for 8 frame avg. I have heard of a few beeks having some issues, but if we don't get the rain and beeks from the East decide it's still economical to truck out this way, there are going to be a lot of bees over here.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I agree Keith..But I thinks some growers think that there has never been a shortage and can get bees at the last minute for fire sale prices. Last year the price cutting made alot of growers think that I'm sure. However I dont know many bees that will go from the east coast for less than 80-100 in their pocket with honey at 1.40 plus. Also I can make two nucs instead of going to ca. I understand its differant if you are in the upper mid west as you need to move somewhere to winter. There is alot of risk hauling bees across country including the Barney Fife California bee inspection stations. Then the risk of picking up something you dont want also. So if I dont get paid good I wont go, but I agree with your California Deaming, I just think almond growers dream to a extent also.
 

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Joe Traynor weighs in:http://www.beesource.com/point-of-v...ter/almond-grower-newsletter-december-3-2009/

"Clueless in Carruthers

A large grower-processor in the Fresno-Madera area has gotten with his almond friends to form a cartel consisting of around 60,000 acres. This cartel informed their list of beekeepers that they will be paying $117/colony for bees in 2010 – take it or leave it. The cartel is already showing fracture lines as some growers are paying much higher prices to beekeepers they feel have done a good job for them in the past. Three of our top beekeepers this past year are those that refused low-ball grower offers in 2009. It can take management inputs of $200/colony or more for beekeepers to come up with 8+ frame colonies in February (getting them in June is relatively easy). Put downward pressure on pollination prices and beekeepers will reduce inputs and then hope and pray that the grower won’t complain about colony strength."

Wonder how they came up with the $117 figure?:rolleyes:
 

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The reality is most of us are losing interest in California. You can blame randy Oliver as he said around 20 loads had been turned back on I 80 for various reasons mostly fire ant & small hive beetle. Said if stopped on Friday you might sit till Monday.

We have seen interest but growers are tossing out low ball figures and with the current price of honey most of us are really not interested.

True some beeks have got theirselves in a position they can not survive without almond pollination. Which is a poor position from which to negotiate when growers are trying to drive almond pollination fees down.

I am with Sutten if not profitable I will stay home. If I decide to stay home and the pleas come later pleas will not change my mind. it will take serious money and a contract to my liking. Half the money when the bees are placed and half when removed. No exceptions.

The price cutting comes from beeks going to California without a contract! If beeks stay home and only hives are in California under contract then the beeks not yet under contract will get contracts and there should be no price cutting.

Once you California beeks get your contract then pass out out of state beeks contact information. We will take things from there and you should not see a repeat of last year.

If you do as I say the growers cartel will fold and it will be every grower for theirself in an attempt to get hives under contract. Growers will have to sign so beeks can arrange trucking etc.

When word gets out that their is NOT a surplus of hives SITTING in California the situation will change in favor of beekeepers.

California beeks will get contracts first. Then close states and then Midwest and east coast beeks.

Bringing a huge amount of hives into California without contract is playing into almond growers hands! caused the price cutting last year!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
missoura, I have done both....two years sat at Needles for three days because of a wax moth larva, took ca three days to figure out what it was. I had a few strong singles that I put on a second box....well the bees found it and pulled it out.(we cleaned bed just before check station, guess bees found it in last 5 miles before we got there) Lost 40 colonies on top of load due to heat. I had a very heated argument with ca...especially since I thought anything as common as a wax moth larvae should be easily identified. A load was being held next to me for hive beetles, when I informed Gary Comphos(sp) that they would fly into other loads including mine he informed me that they didnt fly. (Gary is the HEAD CHIEF in sacremento). Well he called Jerry Hayes in Fl to see if I was lying...Jerry called me and told me he called and wanted to know if hive beetles flew! How do you regulate something if you dont know anythng about it?
Then this past year I cleaned pallets good, put on concrete and then truck. Had Fl do ant inspection. Decided to go thru Reno to avoid heat and south inspection and got in snow storm! Well crew at border said it was cleanest load they had seen in a while. When they found out bees came from Fl they got two step ladders and started searching....found one ONE ant and one cocoon after over a hour of searching.( I wonder if it was mine....was 40 degrees and I dont see how a ant was out in that cold!)With Fl inspection I am allowed in with 5 ants, three being fire ants> BUT they refuse entry and told me either to get them pressure washed back down south or go back. Well I asked gary(I'm not arguing with border agents, they are doing what they are told) how much kickback he was getting that according to my paperwork I was allowed in. He said they had changed the rules since I left Fl and signed paper work. (I also asked about all construction material and hay that wasnt being looked at). He replied that wasnt his problem that I had to go back...anyone who knows me would know that wasnt a smart responce. So I responded that I wasnt spending $13,000 over a piss ant that is all over Ca and he could let me in or I would be in Ca tomorrow as quick as I could catch a plane and that night I was going to be in Jail and he would be in the hospital and that I had never been in jail and if I was going to go I was going to make sure it was well worth it!(many more colorful words were included which cant be printer here) My truck was on the road in Ca in less than 5 minutes! Problem was I had to loose temper and IF truck had been turned back I WOULD HAVE been in Sacremento the next day! guess some of you think Im crazy but I'm fed up with Govt redtape and kickbacks. Might not be smart but I take no crap from anyone!
 

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Interesting about the bug station and the paperwork from Florida.
Jerry Hayes has been trying to get California for several years to simply accept the inspection done in Florida at a temp when a real inspection for fire ant and small hive beetle can be done (warm weather) and California for some reason wants to be a pain.

I really do not understand why a load inspected by the Florida inspection service can't be simply waved on through.

I have been on site in Florida for a number of these inspections and the Florida inspections are tough. Hives are transfered to new pallets and placed on plastic. Spam is put out.

As a beekeeper you want a problem caught then.
 

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Wild Story. If prices go up maybe we can all afford to smuggle them in reefers.

CHiP "What you haulin there?"
beek: "frozen waffles."

On a serious note, Cali has everything the rest of North America dosent want, thanks to all those packages from Aussie, and all the bees in the US being piled on top of each other. (referring to disease) I don't see why there's serious inspections. If beetles or fireants is "bad" you should come here. We got plenty of both. Keep em killed down, but saying 1 ant can get you turned away... Not to say anything about beetles. I treat them like mites, keep em beat down, but can't ever kill them all.
 
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