Saturday, 02 February 2013 10:46 Written by Analia Manriquez

February 2, 2013 by Terry Woodbridge


Manteca, California—February is here now, and more than 2 million dollars worth of pollinators are not. With less than 7 days to go before bloom, will the bees show?


Frantic farmers

A day late and a hive short. Growers all over Central California are scrambling for pollination services. “This year is gonna be the game changer” one grower short of 500 pollinators said yesterday morning.

Almond growers are volunteering bids of $225 per pollinator, and higher as the clock ticks.


Bee brokers

Bee brokers are paying record high prices to anyone with 4 frames of bees.


Hive inspections

Grading hive strength this year is gone, growers are grateful to procure honey bees at nearly any cost.

“Don’t want to create dust in the orchard this year. If you got a beekeeper that shows up with hives, pat yourself on the back because some guys didn’t have that luxury this year,” said a grower with 2000 acres. “I snagged myself a reliable beekeeper 22 years ago, and it paid off.”



Growers are writing checks before the bees fly. "Paying early is the best a grower can do to entice a beekeeper to come back every year," remarked a small orchardists in Waterford, California.

New and long-term contracts are also on the menu this year. At $180 per pollinator, with a population of 24,000 honey bees or more, growers are excited about 5 year terms, and eager to sign up. “With all the new planting going on around here, I’m staying with one pollination company for the long haul,” says a Modesto almond grower. “Times like these, you better make nice with somebody.”

Woodbridge Bee

Terry Woodbridge

(209) 589-6277

Po Box 1019

Oakdale, CA 95361-1019



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