- A grower is paying for pollination services – not for bees. The beekeepers knowledge and skill is paramount in providing a professional pollination service.
- Price is normally quoted per hive and includes GST.
- Time of year pollination required.
- Quantity of hives required.
- Crop to be pollinated. (Some crops are particularly harsh on bees due to poor pollen quality, spray requirements, etc.)
- Work time required to manipulate hives prior to pollination. (Hives should be manipulated again if in orchard/crop for any more than two weeks).
- The cost of feeding the bees to build for early season pollination. (This includes sugar syrup, pollen patties and labour/time).
- A cost for the risk of chemical sprays killing (or seriously affecting) bees.
- The quantity of honey the bees consume while in orchard/crop. (With early season pollination such as almonds, cherries and apples, bees may consume honey stores).
- The distance required to travel to/from pollination sites, to deliver and remove hives. (Remember, less hives equals higher per unit cost to cover transport costs).
- Time spent delivering/picking up hives. (Placing the hives in small lots around the orchard is more time consuming than placing hives in large dumps in orchard/crop).
- The potential loss of honey production while the bees are pollinating. Following the pollination, there is the potential loss of honey production. (Providing recommended stocking rates have been used for pollination, bee numbers will be down after pollinating. This results in a lower yield from the following honey crop).
TYPICAL POLLINATION COSTS
- Most pollinators would consider $50.00 per hive as the base price for any short term pollination contracts. Longer pollination services would be significantly higher.
2011 prices for almond pollination in California were US$150+ per hive. In Australia, almond pollination is $73+ per hive, whilst apple pollination prices over $65 per hive are common.