Beekeepers Expecting Record Prices For Pollination Fees

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(Modesto, CA)
Thursday, October 27, 2005

A mite infestation reduced the supply of bees to almond growers during the last pollination season. Beekeepers fear the mites could kill a lot of bees again this year.

To ensure enough bees are available, the California Department of Food and Agriculture is cutting the red tape for out-of-state beekeepers, expediting the delivery of hives to California orchards. And there's a reason out-of-state beekeepers are sending hives to California - big money.

Central Valley beekeeper Gene Brandi says colonies will come from as far as the east coast because almond growers are expected to pay nearly twice as much as last season.

"As low as one hundred and twenty-five dollars a colony and as high as one hundred and sixty dollars a colony for rental, a significant increase over last year."

Brandi says all beekeepers are depending heavily on pollination fees because the price of honey has dropped significantly over the past two years.  Almond growers are paying premium prices for pollination fees because they want to make sure there's an adequate supply of bees for their billion dollar a year industry.