The proper placement of honey bee colonies for crop pollination is essential
for maximum fruit set and minimizing adverse interaction between bees,humans
and livestock. Beekeepers and growers must exercise sound judgement in the transportation
and placement of colonies paying particular attention to factors which are site
specific. Fields located in populated areas,for example,require more caution
in the handling and placement of hives in contrast to the remote blueberry barrens.
Both the beekeeper and grower must pay particular attention to areas that hold
animals or livestock. Animals that are tied or penned are more vulnerable to
mass stinging especially when the colony are initially moved in and unloaded
or when extensively manipulated such as during honey removal.
When choosing the location of honey bee colonies used for pollination,the potential
for adverse interaction with people and animals must outweigh convenience of
the site.Usually,the grower is more familiar with local conditions than the
beekeeper. This is especially the case with migratory beekeepers who reside
outside the state and often distribute hives during the night.
The spread of the Africanized honey bee in the U.S.,will present both management
and public relations challenges to America"s beekeepers and growers. It is incumbent
upon beekeepers,the agriculture community and government to project a positive
image to the general public and the local community.
Colony Density is an issue that must be resolved by the grower. The minimum
recommended density is one colony/acre. Hive densities of 2-4 colonies/acre
may prove beneficial in many areas. Early research concerning blueberry pollination
by honey bees has demonstrated a positive correlation in field production in
tests using up to 10 hives/acre.
Timing of the placement of colonies into blooming fields is variable according
to location. Large acreage of blueberries(barrens)benefit from early placement
of hives as there is little competition from other flowering plants. Smaller
fields are better pollinated when hives are placed at 10% bloom.. With a delayed
placement,honey bees fix on the blueberry crop rather than dandelions or other
attractive pollen/nectar sources that compete for the honey bee's attention.
Location of hives is important with respect to public relations and pollination
efficiency. Sunny areas that are sheltered from the wind are the best apiary
sites. Plenty of morning sun will aid in early foraging activities since less
bees are required to maintain hive temperatures. Likewise,colonies sheltered
from the wind have more foraging activity.
Honey Bee Etiquette
1)When transporting bee colonies on public roads always have the load netted
or screen the entrances of hives.
2)Locate staging yards away from populated areas. Staging yards tend to have
3)Post fields containing bees for pollination. Certain individuals are highly
allergic to bee stings and one sting can be life threatening.
4)Situate hives away from high traffic areas. Locate hives away from roads
so the bees do not interfere with vehicular or pedestrian traffic.
5)Placement of hives near or on utility 'right of ways" is discouraged unless
permission is granted(powerlines,pipelines,underground cables).
6)Avoid placing colonies near school;s,recreation areas,picnic grounds or other
locations which may result in adverse honey bee/public interactions.
7)Remove hives from pollination when bees are not flying(night,rainy weather)
this is very important in development areas since returning bees are inclined
8)Provide clean water resources in apiaries that do not have natural supplies
of water or in areas with residential pools. Bees can become a nuisance in search
of water sources,especially during warm springs.
9)Request that your pollinator operate gentle bees and manage European bee
stocks and consistent with the "National Plan" developed at the USDA/NASDA St.Louis,MO.
ŠTony Jadczak/Maine State Bee Inspector