This story is one I’m doing for a class. I did not go out and do these interviews, heck I wouldn’t be surprised if these people don’t exist. The photos/video aren’t of the people mentioned, I just wanted to put it here to see if it works as a blog post.
Local beekeeper makes his annual buzz in California.
Beekeeping like many industries has changed drastically in the last decade. Local beekeeper Kelso Gillenwater fills us in on the details of modern day beekeeping.
Gillenwater’s biggest source of income is in fact not honey; its offering the bee’s to pollinate California almond trees. Gillenwater’s been doing this for 9 years. The 1200 beehives are loaded onto trucks and take part on a week long trip to California.
While in California the bees pollinate the surrounding almond trees. This is very important since the trees need pollen in order to grow and produce good almonds. Without enough bees plant life dies.
Here’s a video to show what Almond harvesting looks like
“My Great Grandaddy never could have imagined this -shipping all these bees to California. He never even went to California himself.” The Gillenwater family have been beekeepers for four generations.
Sending a single hive down to California for six weeks makes him $150. The more hives he sends down the more he can make. The process is not without its dangers though. When in California the bees are in danger to predators like Robins and reptiles can kill the bees. They are also at risk environmental dangers like insecticides and disease. On Average Gillenwater loses 10-20% of his hive per year.
Of course he still makes a sizeable amount of money off honey.
From any given hive Gillenwater can produce 50 – 100 pounds of honey. With honey prices at $1.50 GillenWater’s making $75 – $125 a hive before you add the money he makes shipping his hives of to California. Multiply that by the 1200 hives in his possession and Gillenwaters making some serious bank.
Its difficult work but Gillenwater still calls it “fun”