To bee or not to bee

Bee pollination

There are numerous factors that influence the recommended pollination tariff which are bound to differ in terms of importance as well as relevance depending on the nature of the individual beekeeping businesses.

However, the cost of pollination does not just include the costs of picking up beehives, loading them on a bakkie, driving to the orchard and unloading, and then repeating these actions in about two weeks’ time, but in reverse. This is the easy part of pollination. Keeping bees for pollination involves yearlong management, which at some points can be detailed.

It is Important to acquire sites with enough food for the bees to survive the off-season. Often bees will be moved three times a year to have access to suitable food to survive. These sites can vary year to year depending on what has been planted in the vicinity that particular year (e.g. canola). In addition, acquiring sites for transit camps during the pollination period is necessary.

Realistically, a lot of colonies must be moved great distances from the beekeeper’s base and have to be regularly fed. This cost a lot of money. Because of the long distances, more transport expenses are incurred and there is less time to work the bees due to the greater travelling time. This results in a reduction of total hives worked per worker per day. This too has a financial impact.
Due to the recent droughts and fires, a lot of bee forage has been lost, increasing the need to feed regularly for longer. This has three great impacts for the beekeepers as follows:
Hives have been lost in the fires (costs to replace hives and cost to replace the actual bees)

Because forage has been destroyed, bees are being fed extensively at a great cost
Due to lack of forage, bees have been moved much further away to new sites with some forage.The full article is for subscribed members only. To view the full article please subscribe. It’s FREE!Log In Register

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