rdy-b, I do understand the keeping of bees from a pure $ standpoint, but still...$14 or more per hive aint cheap...of course when you look at the pay I guess it's easily enough absorbed.
We have beekeepers in this area that keep around 20,000 hives or so just for the almonds. They sell them off as weak hives as soon as they get back from Cali and order new bees and woodenware. These they build up over summer (but in smaller yards) only to turn around and do the same the next year. The #s work...they can clear 3 million or so this way.
Yes, it's very similar to the feed lot approach. It just rubs me wrong though.