Honey bee on new blueberry blossom, Richmond. Jeff Lee photo

Shortage of hives for blueberry crop driving prices, causing a stir

There’s an interesting story in the Chilliwack Progress this week about the significant lack of pollination-strength hives available for blueberry growers in British Columbia.
It features Honeyview Farms’ Peter Awram, the largest commercial beekeeper in B.C., who runs 4,000 hives.
I’ve written in the recent past about the fact there aren’t enough hives available this year for commercial pollination.
But this story also adds some comments from Awram about the continual concern about Canada’s border with the U.S. being closed to imports of honey bee packages. He also talks a bit about the lawsuit he, John Gibeau of Honey Bee Centre, and two others are involved in seeking damages from the government for closing the border.
You can see the story here.
At the same time, I’ve heard anecdotal reports in the last week that the hyper demand among blueberry farmers for hives has driven the price up to as much as $125-150 per hive. This comes as the blueberry set is just starting. Earlier this spring the pollination price quoted was between $90-100. Awram told me at the time he has only raised his prices by a token amount. But other beekeepers were arguing for a minimum price of $100 to be quoted.

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