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number of US honey bee hives used strictly for pollination?

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  • Doug Yanega
    I m having some trouble tracking down a firm estimate of the number of honey bee hives in the US that are used solely for pollination and NOT for honey
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 31, 2011
      I'm having some trouble tracking down a firm estimate of the number
      of honey bee hives in the US that are used solely for pollination and
      NOT for honey production (the number for honey production was 2.44
      million hives in 2008, so that figure is solid and citable). Does
      anyone know a good, authoritative source for a nation-wide figure?

      Thanks in advance,
      --

      Doug Yanega Dept. of Entomology Entomology Research Museum
      Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314 skype: dyanega
      phone: (951) 827-4315 (standard disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
      http://cache.ucr.edu/~heraty/yanega.html
      "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
      is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82
    • pollinator2001
      ... I doubt such a number exists. The ag censuses are taken at the state level. I filled out many a form for the ag census over the years. At one point in
      Message 2 of 2 , Jan 31, 2011
        --- In beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com, Doug Yanega <dyanega@...> wrote:
        >
        > I'm having some trouble tracking down a firm estimate of the number
        > of honey bee hives in the US that are used solely for pollination and
        > NOT for honey production (the number for honey production was 2.44
        > million hives in 2008, so that figure is solid and citable). Does
        > anyone know a good, authoritative source for a nation-wide figure?



        I doubt such a number exists. The ag censuses are taken at the state level.

        I filled out many a form for the ag census over the years. At one
        point in early summer, I figured I had 1300 hives, of which only
        about 200 were used for honey prouction. This is not a major honey
        producing area.

        Thus my bees were always undercounted, because they only counted the
        ones used for honey production. I pointed this out on several
        occasions to the ag department officials, but never saw any
        indication of any change in the census.

        My pollination bees generally did at least two pollinations per
        season, some did three. Do you count each pollination, or?

        Another item, some were used for queen rearing in the spring, then
        generally either given a queen or more likely merged back into some
        nucs to build them up quickly.

        Even beyond this, the number of hives can vary quite a bit throughout
        the year and depends on how they are counted. I have little
        confidence in the USDA's "solid and citable" figure.

        In the fall, I would generally "take my winter losses early" and
        combine weak or queenless hives with strong ones. After a summer of
        pesticide hits, I sometimes had to combine three or four.

        If you asked me how many hives I had, would you want to know: how
        many after I made up 400 nucs in late spring, how many I had left
        after the cotton spray season, or how many I had late in the winter?

        Any real number for any purpose is probably closely related to the
        number of brood boxes with usable comb. A beekeeper has to fill these
        at least for a portion of each year, or lose the comb to wax worms,
        and once lost, they are usually more trouble to restore than to get
        new ones. And that figure is generally known only to the beekeeper.

        Dave Green
        Retired SC beekeeper
        http://pollinator.com/blog/
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