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January 25, 2012

Preparing for a cross-country trip to California almond pollination

By David L. Green, writer and photographer (Copyright 2012 - no reproduction without permission)

In California each February, the almonds bloom, and there follows the largest controlled annual pollination event in the world. Over a million bee hives are trucked from all across the USA to create the ever-increasing almond crop - a vital crop for California, and a major US export.

These bees represent about half of the kept honey bees in the entire USA. It's a big job, but so far, US beekeepers have been up to it.

Kutiks have had a crew of 7 working for a couple weeks to get ready for the trip.

South Carolina bee yard

The bees are in 1 1/2 story hives at present. When they return from almonds the boxes will be reversed. The queen will be pushed down to brood up the deep box frames, which will be used to make nucs.

Maple flow is on and bees are flying hard.

The weather has been perfect, with an excellent maple bloom though January. You can taste the maple-flavored honey in burr comb. But, this is never extracted; the bees will use it up in the course of spring brood rearing.

Opening for hive checks

Pollination fees are based on hive strength, so Chuck wants to send only the best bees. Here is one that easily makes the grade!

Another strong hive

Most of these bees are in excellent shape. Chuck is very conciencious of frequent checks, good nutrition, quality queens and varroa mite control. His bees have never had "Colony Collapse Disorder" even though they are high mileage bees, moved and used several times through the season.

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Kutik's Honey Farm
285 Lyon Brook Rd. Norwich, NY  13815   607-336-4105, Fax: 607-336-4199
(February through May, we are usually in South Carolina 803-473-4205)

This page was last updated on February 5, 2012.