I had a local pumkin grower bombard me with honeybee questions. I managed to answer the majority questions he had but a few left me as puzzled as he was. I told him I would get him the answers he seeked. So here I am passing his questions on for us as a group to come up with answers.
#1 Does the honey bee help the size and shape of a pumkin or just the shape and color?
Yes, the more times an individual flower is visited by bees the more seeds will be fertilzed and the fruit set will be large, more symetrical to type.
#2 What is the appropriate ratio for colonies to acres?
Depends on the crop and the bloom period of the crop. a short bloom requires more bees for a good fruit set than does a crop with an extended bloom period. a general rule is 2-4 colonies per acre.
#3 What are the benefits of the pumpkins to the bees as far as honey and pollen flows?
Pumpkins have an average amount of nector but are one of the better pollen sources there is along with squash, cucumbers, goards, and other trumpet shaped flowers on fruits and vegetables.
#4 What is the average rate a pumpkin grower can be expected to pay per hive for pollination?
Pumpkins and other fruit and vegetable crops do not bring in the $150.00 per hive that Almonds do, however, a pollen fee of between $50.00 and $80.00 is common. It depends on the type of crop, the growing density in a given area, and the COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) of the area.
Thank you to anyone that can shed some light on these qustions.