1. HIVE PLACEMENT
As far as hive placement, there are two questions to consider:
When exactly do you need the bees delivered to your field? And, where do you want the bees placed? It is important to have this conversation with your bee keeper long before hand so there are no issues. Flagging the field or marking exactly where you want the bees is important as well so there is no confusion when it comes time to place the hives. One other important conversation is to discuss exactly when you want the bee keeper to come and pick up the bees. You want to make sure the bees aren't being taking the bees a little earlier than you would like, or leaving them too long.
2. PAYMENT SCHEDULE
There are a couple components to consider when it comes to payment schedule. There is a price that you and the bee keeper have agreed upon, secondly, are you going to put a deposit down and pay some in December the year prior to bloom season, are you going to put the full amount down, pay half when the bees are in and half when the bees are out, do you need a little longer to make payments? That's something you need to be extremely clear on and, it is probably the biggest issue bee keepers have noticed due to there not being a clear payment schedule written on paper between the grower and bee keeper.
3. HIVE STRENGTH
From the grower's perspective, hive strength is the most important part of this whole process. The key to having a crop, is having an adequate field force in the hives to actually go out and pollinate. A typical bee keeper will bring in a 8 frame average, 6 frame minimum hive strength to your orchard. If you were to pop open any random bee box in your field, there should be about 8 frames. It could be more or less, but the average should be about 8 frames and there should be no hive below 6.
4. JOIN THE BUZZ
You don't want to wait until the last minute to call your bee guy to line something up because there is not guarantee he's going to have what you need. This is something you want to talk about ASAP, get it lined up, get a contract signed, that way you can be rest assured that you're going to have your crop pollinated.
GIVE ETHAN RASMUSSEN A CALL AT (209) 596-0047!