What It's Like To Ship 3.2 Million Bees Across State Lines

There aren't enough honeybees in the wild to pollinate all the commercial crops these days, so John Kraus steps in as a migratory beekeeper. He sends hives of bees to agricultural areas that need them during each crop's pollination season. That means shipping hives in big trucks, two trucks at a time, for a total load of over three million bees!

It’s different at different times of year. When we ship them to California, we don’t leave home. We just hire somebody to unload them down there and put them on a ranch up towards the gate of Yosemite. Then we go down to California in January and we spend about three weeks there. We go through the hives, check them for queens, for strength, and then put them in the almond groves. And then we’re back home for five or six weeks depending on the season. It takes about a week to go down and gather them all together and ship them back north.

After almonds, we go through again and move them into the soft fruit. That’s probably the worst move because we load them ourselves, beat feet and drive all night, and then unload. Load them up on a semi at dusk, drive 300 miles, and then unload them.

Read more about the intricacy of shipping bees across country in an interview with Kraus at Modern Farmer. Link  -via Digg

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That's wild. Back when I was working in entomology research at Cornell I had to go to a USFS facility in Connecticut and transport about 50 Asian Long Horn Beetles back to our lab. Couldn't imagine having to work with bees.
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