Practical advice on the Who, What, Why, When and How for both beekeepers and macadamia growers on utilising the honeybee for pollination are given.
As a Farmer, there is a choice of the Source of these Bees:-
- FREE – Feral colonies and no -charge beekeepers; both these options give no guarantees of quality pollination of the crop as colony numbers and strength vary.
- GROWER OWNED – High start-up cost requiring specialized skill/knowledge which although it should ensure availability, is not easy to achieve at stocking levels required for optimal pollination.
- COMMERCIAL BEEKEEPER – Contracts that ensure minimum requirements for hive strength and health should be set up. It might have higher annual cost, but more effective pollination of the crop is achieved, thereby optimizing yield which is ultimately a profitable option.
The aim is to achieve a Grower/beekeeper partnership that is mutually beneficial to both parties.
As a Beekeeper, How do you:
- Maximize the pollination process of the crop by providing the optimum number of healthy, strong and active bees at the right time of the bloom; with hives placed in a pattern that will ensure the maximum distribution of pollinating bees?
- Do Hive Management for:
Pre pollination – feeding and brood management as well as move preparation onto the crop;
During Pollination – brood and space management and move preparation off the crop;
Post Pollination – How to feed and manage colonies outside of the pollination season.