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Re: number of US honey bee hives used strictly for pollination?

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  • 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 1 of 2 , Jan 31, 2011
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      --- 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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