Recently I trailered a number of hives out to the central valley to pollinate the almonds. This is the Bee Ranchers first time we have entered into a pollination contract with a grower and so far my experience has been terrific! I woke up early on February 12th to deliver my bees to my designated location where the grower was nice enough to allow me to park my trailer in a spot close to water and out of his way of equipment. This meant that I didn’t have to unload my hives off my trailer which is both a back and time saver.
A few days ago, I drove out to the almond orchard to make sure they were there (there have been a number of hives stolen recently), check in on my bees (they are doing great, see pics and video) and treat them for mites using MAQS. The day was partly cloudy but in the 60’s, the earlier blooming trees have mostly been pollinated (their petals had fallen to the ground) and I am now just waiting another 14 days or so for the later almond varietals to come into bloom. My main factor for taking hives to the almonds is food stores. With the drought California is experiencing, I am very worried about lack of forage in the summer and don’t want to feed my bees if I don’t have to. With the almond trees in bloom, I am hoping that my bees can take full advantage and store up a ton of pollen and nectar that will help them get through the summer months. By all indications yesterday, that is happening. Once I bring my bees back, I will add supers to them so that the strong colonies can begin to fill them up with spring wildflower honey here in the Bay Area. These hives in the almonds seem to be much stronger then a few I left behind and I am pleased with how things have turned out so far.
As far as renting your hives is a single box considered one hive/colony?
Most almond growers want a minimum of 8 frames of bees to start and the colony grows rapidly in the bloom so you need to have a second hive body ready to go so the bees have ample room to grow.