2017 Bee hive swarm information, history, lessons, successes, etc.

Happy Chooks

Loving the herd life
Joined
Sep 30, 2014
Messages
548
Reaction score
328
Points
153
Location
Northern CA
I may get lucky, I looked it up and my queen should have hatched like a day ago. Tomorrow, the weather is supposed to get nice until Thursday, so hopefully she will get her mating flights done in that window of good weather.
 

Latestarter

Novice; "Practicing" Animal Husbandry
Golden Herd Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2014
Messages
11,384
Reaction score
17,433
Points
623
Location
NE Texas
Soar, what decision did you arrive at regarding renting out your hives? Just curious. Wondered how the fared if you did so.
 

soarwitheagles

True BYH Addict
Joined
Dec 24, 2015
Messages
680
Reaction score
743
Points
223
Location
Sacramento County
Soar, what decision did you arrive at regarding renting out your hives? Just curious. Wondered how the fared if you did so.

Latestarter,

I hope we have made the correct decision! After doing a careful cost analysis and thinking it over very, very much, we have decided to start a new company. It will be a full blown bee pollination service and we hope to make it quite large in due time.

Prices this year to rent were excellent. Many almond farmers paying $200 or more for a 4-6 week pollination window and this for only 8 frames of bees per colony. Many of our colonies were already at 20-30 frames per colony. I had more calls than I knew what to do with. I could have easily rented out 1000+ colonies. So that would have been an easy $200,000 for a very short 4-6 week window.

We have friends that are at the 2,000 colony level. They are clearing over a half million per year because they do the almonds first, then the cherries. So they are making double for their trouble.

We have decided to take the pollination plunge. Yesterday we purchased thousands of dollars worth of new equipment, boxes, etc. So we will go for it with everything we've got.

I decided to wait until next year to rent out large numbers of colonies. I would like to work directly with the almond growers and bypass the middle men...they guys that hustle up bees for the growers...

I have very special reasons for this. I do not want my bees to be near or mixed with bees coming in from out of state. The risk of contracting bee diseases multiplies quite rapidly if you do. So my goal is to establish good business partners that are almond and cherry farmers and my contract will be such that only our bees can be on their property. I intend to do careful selection of farms that are more isolated from other farms.

So that is the plan now. We will have a lot of work to do for this next year. We hope to begin the massive queen rearing next week as well as lots of splits too. The nice thing about living in this part of California is we can raise queens from March through October and do splits from March through September. If the flow is strong, then it will be non-stop splits and nucs for the next 6-7 months.

Hope this helps!
 

Latestarter

Novice; "Practicing" Animal Husbandry
Golden Herd Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2014
Messages
11,384
Reaction score
17,433
Points
623
Location
NE Texas
That is very exciting, and I'm sure a bit scary as well. Lots of risk, but equal chance at serious rewards. Wishing you well and success!
 

Happy Chooks

Loving the herd life
Joined
Sep 30, 2014
Messages
548
Reaction score
328
Points
153
Location
Northern CA
So interesting! I knew the bees were in demand for the almond crop, but had no idea they paid so much. No wonder they get trucked in from out of state! Best of luck to you in your new business!
 

soarwitheagles

True BYH Addict
Joined
Dec 24, 2015
Messages
680
Reaction score
743
Points
223
Location
Sacramento County
Thank you everyone for your best wishes! Yes, it is a risk, and yes, I feel a bit nervous, especially after investing a significant greater amount of finances. But I really do believe this will be a prosperous endeavor/adventure.

And to think it all started with a simple prayer, "Lord, do You want us to get involved with honey bees?"

Please remember, we read about bee colony collapse a couple of years ago and said a simple prayer, asking the Lord if we should get involved...

Less than 24 hours after that prayer, a real life swarm of honey bees landed just a few feet from our front door...

Last year, our bee yard grew from about 3 healthy hives up to nearly 40.

At the moment, it just seems as if there is so much favor and grace upon us to raise bees...
Just last week one of my nucs fell out of the tree during the large wind/rain storm [I forgot to lash it down with tie downs]. When I went to put it back in the tree, I discovered every bee was dead, as in drowned...I was super sad due to my own forgetfulness.

I came home today and that nuc in the tree is swarming with massive numbers of bees...much more than the nuc ever had before...so it appears as if heaven is even taking my big mistakes and turning them into even bigger blessings...can't get much better than that!

For us, this has been one miracle after another...

More pics to come...
 

CLSranch

Ridin' The Range
Joined
Jan 27, 2017
Messages
83
Reaction score
71
Points
73
Location
NE Oklahoma
congrats soar.
I'm hoping to get my swarm traps up this week. It's still below freezing at night here, but want them up before the swarms start.
 

soarwitheagles

True BYH Addict
Joined
Dec 24, 2015
Messages
680
Reaction score
743
Points
223
Location
Sacramento County
CLS, Better early than late! Below freezing at night? Wow, I had no clue! I always pictured OK as warm and humid. Are you located higher up in elevation?

Here, it is like spring started several weeks ago. Now I plan on placing several more swarm traps this weekend.

I was digging into our hives again this evening and was shocked at how fast they built up. Three weeks ago, not even one drone...now, thousands upon thousands of them.

But I also discovered nearly every hive was completely full. And this is a BIG, BIG, NO-NO. When hives are 80% or more, the new supers should have been placed on top. I had no clue the bees would shift into high gear so early. Now I will need to carefully inspect every hive and look for swarm cells.

This weekend, will be careful inspections, adding supers, setting up the Queen starters, and then also doing some splits.

Time to get a jump on this!

Here's some pics...

Enjoy!

2018 full frames 1.JPG
2018 full frames 2.JPG
2018 Queen Carniolian 2.JPG
2018 Queen Carniolian.JPG
 

soarwitheagles

True BYH Addict
Joined
Dec 24, 2015
Messages
680
Reaction score
743
Points
223
Location
Sacramento County
I have decided to begin a new thread titled:

2018 Bee hive swarm information, history, lessons, successes, etc.

I am hoping this year will be even better than last year!

Thanks again everyone for helping me learn more about the bees!
 
Top