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I have been talking to a farmer about pollinating his watermelons, and was wondering if bees make much honey on them or will I have to feed? He says he wants 3 hives per acre from now till early august. does anyone have any experience with this?
 

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Have a coworker that took a couple of pollination contracts for the boss. He just spent last weekend feeding (trenches) for his bees on 3 watermelon fields. He can't wait to get them back on a flow. Figured $12-15 in sugar syrup in to feed so far in the fields. Maybe 1 or 2 more rounds before he gets released. Rough on them due to lack of anything else (decent bee food) in area.

Assume the worst. Feed entire time. Longer time (labor cost) to go way down field with skid steer since cant get truck closer than half mile from end of row, etc.
See the field first hand, how its laid out, tilled, rows. Where bees going? How to get to them, mud/rain issues.

Let us know what you see. Like said previously, Google map it!
 

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if the word pollination is in the deal you need to charge. This is a business as is the farmers, they don't plant if they aint making money, we should go somewhere without doing the same!
 

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we were thinking 50 per hive but now i'm thinking I would be better off making honey. more money and better for bees. It would only pay if I got honey and pollination money.
 

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We go 1/2 hive per acre here when pollinating melons and that's enough to fulfill a farmer's obligation for pollination under their respective seed contracts. You don't get any honey from melons and very little pollen. Expect to feed for the duration of your contract if it's monoculture "melons".
 

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In CA the ants are really bad around the watermelon fields. They produce pollen and no or very little nectar so you'll need to feed for sure.

With that said thou some of the best watermelon I've ever had was from OR. Look for the black skinned ones.
 

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I've never found watermelons , or any melons , to produce honey. Mostly pollen. I pollinate melons every year. Why does he want them on so long? Ours come off in a month or less every year. We get our honey from the surrounding alfalfa and cotton. It sounds like he is new at this too.
 

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If you have SHB up there.... get the hives out of there as soon as pollination is complete. SHB love rotting melons.
 

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I've never found watermelons , or any melons , to produce honey. Mostly pollen. I pollinate melons every year. Why does he want them on so long? Ours come off in a month or less every year. We get our honey from the surrounding alfalfa and cotton. It sounds like he is new at this too.
We do a 1 month/farmer says remove them type of deal with our pollination. If there's an alfalfa field nearby that happens to be blooming right when the melons start flowering I urge the farmer to cut the alfalfa a few days after the hives have been placed and the bees will go nuts on the melons. I must admit I get 1 - 2 supers of honey/hive while pollinating melons, it comes mostly from alfalfa. I've had guys want 1 hive/acre and not the usual 1/2 hive per acre, but 3 hives/acre? I would recommend 1/2 - 1 hive/acre for this area (all water melons are for seed production) and if the farmer still wanted 3 hives/acre I would jump on it.
 
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