I did this video last week of an Alberta commercial beekeeper who was staging his hives in a farmer’s field where we were pollinating raspberries.
Paradis Valley Honey was getting ready to pull 2,000 hives out of the Lower Mainland where they had been pollinating blueberries, heading for canola in Northern Alberta. They needed a place to stage, put them together into stacks and then load on to a truck for a 14-hour ride to Grand Prairie. There workers would break them apart and remake some for canola pollination. Others were to be equipped with pollen traps; the owner told me he was one of the largest producers of pollen for human consumption in Canada.
Needless to say, the staging operation was impressive. It had a bit of a hit on our small operation – we have 30 colonies in the field and the sheer numbers of bees flying from 450 others meant we suffered a bit of drift but we were otherwise fine.
With that many hives in one location there is always a chance the powerful ones will rob out weaker ones, but in this case the raspberry bloom kept the Alberta bees occupied. However, you couldn’t walk anywhere without bees hitting you in the head. And you certainly didn’t walk around there without a veil. If I’d had a butterfly net I’d have caught a hive a minute.
Here are some other photos of the operation: