Have a question?
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the minimum number of hives you will accept?
This is the most asked question and it depends on several factors:
If you are placing your hives in the orchard yourself, we can contract with you for a minimum of 20 hives.
If you want us to unload the truck and place them in the orchard just prior to pollination season, our minimum is around 300 hives.
90% of our contracts are for truckloads of either 384 hives (96 Pallets), 408 hives (102 Pallets), or 432 hives (72 – 6-way Pallets)
What is a “Unloading Yard?”
Our Unloading Yards are areas where we unload the hives from the semi-trucks, it may be a:
Orchard Holding Yard
Self-Service Wintering Yard
What is a “Holding Yard?”
Our Holding Yards are areas where we unload the hives from the semi-trucks for a few days. Hives are then moved to the orchards after they have been inspected and graded.
How many hives could be in a holding yard at one time?
One truck load or two if they are all your hives.
How long do they stay in the Holding Yard before being moved to Almond Orchards?
Normally at least 3 days. Hives may have to be inspected by County Agriculture Inspectors. We also need time to inspect and grade the hives.
What is an “Orchard Holding Yard”
These yards are used to unload the semi-trucks near the orchard the hives will be placed for pollination.
Hives are immediately moved into the orchard once unloaded from the semi-truck.
What is a “Wintering Yard?”
Our Wintering Yards are where the hives are unloaded from the semi-trucks and place in the yards for the winter. Our yards are along rivers and are planted with a cover crop for natural food in the spring.
Normally the hives arrive in October and are then moved to the orchards in late January. Hives are returned to the Wintering Yards at the end of March to be returned home.
How many hives would be in a Wintering Yard at one time?
There may be 8 to 10 hives per acre.
What is a “Self-Service Wintering Yard?”
Our Self-Service Wintering Yards are where hives are unloaded from semi-trucks and placed in the yard for the winter.
The Beekeeper will manage their hives during the winter then move the hives to the orchard for pollination. Normally the hives arrive in October and are then moved to the orchards in late January.
Are yards available after bees are removed from the Orchards?
Yes. Several Beekeepers want to move the hives from the orchards and place them in the Wintering Yards until late April or early May.
How do I know my Bees are in good hands?
Our team of beekeepers each have over 15 years’ experience in taking care of bees and they manage over 1,000 hives of their own year-round. In addition, we have a full time Certified Master Beekeeper on our staff and together we take pride in managing your bees and we care for your hives as if they were our own.
What is a good pollination Hive?
Hives should have a minimum of 6 frames of bees with an average of 8 frames of bees going into the orchard. Each Hive should have Double – Deep or Deep and ½ boxes. Queens should be less than 2 years old. Mite counts before sending to California should be less than 2%. Hives should have 3-4 frames of Brood, 3-4 frames of stored honey and 2-3 frames of stored pollen.
What do I need to prepare my bee and equipment before shipping?
All pallets must be pressure washed clean and be ant & vegetation free. Some beekeepers transfer hives over to new or cleaned pallets before loading on truck. Do not send glass feeders, queen excluders or inter covers. Mouse guards are highly recommended.
When do I need to ship my bees?
The bees need to be placed into the orchards a few days before bloom. Be sure to delivered your hives at least one weeks before the expected bloom start date.
For almond pollination, a safe delivery date is January 28th.
As soon as you get the truck on the road, text us the driver’s phone number and confirm the number of colonies.
We will text the driver with specific instructions where to deliver the load and confirm the date and time of delivery.
How do I prepare my hives before shipping my bees?
We suggest filling a frame feeder with feed before shipping. With feed the bees will travel well without big losses of field bees. Also, the bees will not cannibalize the brood on the trip out & will grow and get a better grade. Without the feed your bees will stop making brood and look lethargic until the bloom starts. The bees may lose weight in California depending on the weather.
Can I unload and place my bees in the orchard myself?
Yes, you are welcome to unload and place your hives We will prepare a hive placement map, flag the drop locations and tour the orchard during daylight hours with you.
Can I sell my bee after pollination?
Let us know if you want to sell some bees. We can negotiate the price and arrange payment. We can show the bees for you, and load for a reasonable fee. Last year most of the good double deep hives sold for $190, and you save the trucking fee for the return trip. The price depends on how strong the hives are and what condition the equipment is in.
When will my hives be released from the orchards?
Hives are generally released beginning March 20th and though April 1st. Release dates depend on the weather and bloom conditions; Growers generally release the hives when the bloom is 90% completed.