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Author Topic: How Many Hive to pollinate small orchard?  (Read 1887 times)
Steve M.
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« on: October 28, 2008, 02:21:15 PM »

I have an opportunity to trade pollination services for all the apples my family can use.  The orchard is a small organic orchard about a mile away from my place.  they have about 100 mature trees with 50 more a few years away from production.  All in all the orchard ia about 2 acres, and aslo has a few pear and plum trees, as well as blueberries.

Currently they have two hives in the orchard, but they are not planning to have them there for long....some prior arrangement that didn't work out the way they were hoping, and so they want to change.

I would be placing new hives on the property...either packages, or nucs, and would like any advice as to how many starts it would take to pollinate this orchard.  Would two new hives be sufficient, or should I start with more?

Apples bloom in early May here, which is not to long after I could get the packages or nucs, so I dont know how well they would pollinate the first year.

Thanks for any advice.
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dhood
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« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2008, 04:33:39 PM »

I'm not an expert, but I have rented out a few hives for pollination. I would suggest about 2-3 strong hives for two acres of trees. I don't know how much a couple new packages will get done huh. Nucs would be better, but I think they are going to see a significant decline in yield unless there are other local bees around. But if all your getting in return is apples, I wouldn't worry that much. Do they know that your planning on using new packages to pollinate the trees?   Lips Sealed grin
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Jim 134
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« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2008, 05:31:59 PM »

A strong hive is 6-7 deep frames of brood and bees and laying queen




          BEE HAPPY Jim 134  Smiley
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"Tell me and I'll forget,show me and I may  remember,involve me and I'll understand"
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Steve M.
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« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2008, 07:48:13 PM »

Yes, I mentioned that they would be new packages.  The two established hives will most likely be there next year as well, but then it would just be my hives after that.  I may be able to swing two full hives for there, but would rather just start new ones there. 

We try to do as much bartering as possible here.  I think the commercial guys around here are getting between 75 and 100 a hive for pollination.  I am happy with our agreed 12 bushels of organic apples ( about 150 value).  I just want to be providing enough bees.  Maybe 4 nucs...really want to do packages and go foundationless.

Thanks for the advice.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2008, 07:55:22 PM »

I got paid for pollinating one about that size and I took ten hives at $50 a hive.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2008, 05:31:44 PM »

I got paid for pollinating one about that size and I took ten hives at $50 a hive.

Saturation is the best method of pollenating a crop.  Take pears, bees will generally leave this in favor of apples, but if enough bees are placed they will be forced to collect the less desired plant sources.  That's why pollination fees are what they are, If a grower wants a good fruit set he needs to saturate his crop with bees.  Around here the concenses is 4 hives to the acre for either seed or food crops.
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Steve M.
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« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2008, 08:42:26 PM »

Thank you all for the good info.  Definitely food for thought.
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Steve M.
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« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2008, 09:38:26 AM »

So, now my question is this:  How many new packages of bees would be needed to saturate this orchard, and adequately pollinate the trees?

Thanks.
--Steve
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rdy-b
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« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2008, 11:03:44 PM »

will this location provide HONEY  cool organic location worth its weight in gold -is this certified organic or is it just managed organicaly-anyway still worth its weight in gold if it provides a good flow  cool RDY-B
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Jim 134
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« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2008, 08:04:58 AM »

 Look at 
 
            http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,18321.0.html

 it may help you


A strong hive is 6-7 deep frames of brood and bees and laying queen




          BEE HAPPY Jim 134  Smiley




  To pollinate orchards STRONG BEE HIVES 2 to 3 per acre I would go for 3 you will not get good bee covers using packages or nucs or split.



                     BEE HAPPY Jim 134 Smiley
« Last Edit: November 03, 2008, 07:10:24 PM by Jim 134 » Logged

"Tell me and I'll forget,show me and I may  remember,involve me and I'll understand"
        Chinese Proverb

"The farmer is the only man in our economy who buys everything at retail, sells everything at wholesale, and pays the freight both ways."
 John F. Kennedy
Franklin County Beekeepers Association MA. http://www.franklinmabeekeepers.org/
mathispollenators
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« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2008, 09:14:39 AM »

Average hives for pollnation per acre is 2 or 3.  Apples have to have each little seed thing visited by bees for a well formed apple other wise they grow odd shaped.  For pay we are charging $55 a hive on watermelons this year in Northcentral Florida with a mileage cap. On 2 acres I would want to put 8 total hives. All ours are on 4 way pallets so they get them by 4s here. I like to go over a little to insure a good number of bees in the fields.  Of course I charge for the service so it's diffrent for me.  I also don't plan for honey production because I saturate the area with bees.
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