By the time readers receive this Issue of The ABK, almond pollination will almost be finished.
With a Spotted Gum honey flow happening on the NSW South Coast over winter, a lot of beekeepers had to pull their bees out of the South Coast to honour their commitment to provide bees for the almonds. A few (a very few) beekeepers have commented that this shows the ‘craziness’ of going to the almonds – ‘they had to leave a good honey flow!’
It is these few beekeepers, who make that sort of comment, who have failed to see the point. Yes, one year in four, those who go to the almonds have to leave or ignore a Spotted Gum flow – but four years in four, they are getting a good cash flow ‘pollination’ crop by committing to the provision of a pollination service, for which they get paid.
Growers who fork out money for pollination have the right to expect a professional service from their pollinators – and a professional provider is one who makes a commitment, then honours that commitment by turning up, and who provides ‘good’ bees to perform the service for his grower. The use of Contracts and introduction of auditing beehives provided for the almond pollination ensures that shonky operators do not get paid for providing a sub-standard service.
Sure, there will be times when something goes wrong, and the beekeeper may not be able to provide beehives that are up to strength – but the added benefit of diversifying into the provision of a professional pollination service means the beekeeper becomes focussed in Autumn on having bees that will be ‘right for pollination’ in August – and this means that beekeeper is much more likely to have the required standard in his hives.
The spin-off is that this means they will also be stronger hives coming off the almonds and going into Spring/Summer production, with a greater production of honey being the result.
Author: The Editor