-Posted by Isaac
We sure love pumpkins.
And we love our bees too.
Around here, both become a business.
We need lots of pumpkins and lots of bees. And they need each other.
In the late summer, our job is to bring them together.
We pollinate for four different pumpkin farms. Circle S, near West Jeff is the most demanding. Because they run more of an agritourism business, the time that the bees spend in the pumpkin patch is constricted. (They've found that hayrides with free bee stings is not a top seller.)
So when we get the call, the clock is ticking.
But we've done this long enough, we know we're going to get the call. Our clock starts ticking in June. I start about 50 nucs in early June after pulling the spring honey. By August, with a little love, they have built up to pollination strength.
Working bees in the daylight is just a tad different than bee work at night.
And pollination work is almost all done at night.
Moving bees fast and efficiently requires some equipment.
Or if you prefer strapping hives and hand lifting, it requires a chiropractor. We have done both. I tend to go with the forklift whenever possible.
Back in the daylight, a couple weeks later, it's time to work bees again.
All the pumpkin bees get fed. There are plenty of flowers out there in all that pumpkin acreage, but the monoculture diet with a side dish of chemicals just doesn't suit. We have learned this the hard way. A little supplemental protein and syrup can work wonders. The love continues...
Because we sure love our bees.
And we sure love our pumpkins.