Zookeep, i think it depends on your location, here in my location i've heard $60.00 per hive and in Cal. they get $150.00 per hive. Rast can probably give you an answer, I have heard that it takes 4 hives per acre for Blueberries. Jack
some crops that you pollinate will be very hard on the bees themselves. I rarely do any pollination but do keep a hard and close watch on hives used to pollinate watermelons here. blueberries in particular (there is quite of bit of this over in the eastern portion of Texas) is suppose to be difficult for a hive of bees to maintain themselves on... I think blueberries produce very little nectar but lack of pollen diversity could also be a major factor in a hives inability to thrive.
as to my watchful eye on the watermelons it appears that about half the hives that enter a watermelon patch in the late spring will not come out alive by the end of the season. this make me wonder what would represent a reasonable price for performing this service?
Blueberries up here fetch $125 in a normal year but the price has dropped for the berries two years in a row so that will work it's way to the price for pollination. Some small growers are forgoing bees altogether, the two I deal with didn't call at all and went U-pick instead of harvesting themselves.
don't be depressed Perry when the blue berry folks find their total production falls by greater that one half* they will return begging for pollination services.
*I seem to recall when pollination price first upticked in the almonds some years ago that the almond folks tried to do the same thing relying on feral bees and their neighbors bees to get their trees pollinated. some folks production fell by as much as 25% or what was consider a normal harvest.... anyway the number was low enough that harvest cost would not pay for itself so the net effect was no bee=no dollar coming in (as such things are some dollars will still always go out).
I don't know that much about growing blueberries, i don't think they use pesticides on them (that's the first thing i ask the growers) unlike cucumbers, like tec. said, bees can starve to death on some crops (blueberries, cucumbers ect.) if that's all they have to work. The big worry in my area for growers is, if they rent hives and something else is blooming in the area that they like better, the blueberries will go begging, :wave: but of course that's with any crop. Jack
A person doesn't always get what they think. I remember the very first time I moved hives into pollination (only 3 of mine combined with about a dozen of 2 others keeps). We were told that no spraying would happen without 48 hours notice. I drove out early one morning and found 3 guys with respirators and tanks on their backs hand spraying all the blueberry bushes. They may have been alright with what they claimed they were spraying, and they may have been doing a favour by spraying early in the morning, but what the h=ll happened to the 48 hours notice! :ranting:
With the range bees can fly while foraging I don't know if simply placing them on an organic crop would guarantee their safety, but it would probably improve their odds.
$60 per hive this past spring. Tec is very right about blueberry's. Not a bees favorite bloom, but it sure makes good tasting honey. Pollinating a monoculture in my area usually requires supplemental feeding (no honey from that). Placement timing in relation to bloom opening is very important.
I drove out early one morning and found 3 guys with respirators
with the large amount of concern shown for the hired help you want the same folks to have concern for your bugs?
the folks in mention need to move to the US where they can assume the mantle of proper little authoritarians and small minded dictators.
and of course I suspect Perrybee is right that 'organic' is not much a protection for bees (how many organic folks do you think cheat?). if I ever did decide to use my bees for pollination I think I would demand to see the label ingredients of everything the farmer in question used. any product used beyond this list then I the beekeeper should have the right to remove my property well ahead of any application to protect my own property. a rental agreement should not be license for some farmer to run over your boxes or to kill your stock.
Went out yesterday to see the blueberry farm, its a small setup, but a mile away is a massive orange grove, farmers real nice guy too gave me a old 3 deep hive that was left there when he bought the place, Ill clean it up and use the parts think he will only need like 3 hives for the month but if I leave them there after the blueberry flower Ill get into all the orange blossom right after ancing: