HOW BEEKEEPERS GAIN AN EDGE WITH HIVE GRADING
Updated: Dec 22, 2022
As a beekeeper, you take pride in knowing your bees. You know what issues they’re facing today and what you’ll do to overcome them tomorrow. When someone comes to you claiming they have a better way of doing things, you take it with a grain of salt. They don’t know your bees—you do.
Having worked alongside beekeepers for more than 7 years, we’ve learned to embrace their skeptical nature. Lofty promises and silver-bullet solutions tend to raise more doubts than optimism. Success is a result of hard work; there are no short-cuts in beekeeping.
Rather than attempting to tell beekeepers how to do a better job, we pledged to build something that does a job for beekeepers. Working against impossible deadlines, today’s beekeepers face such a cumbersome workload that necessary tasks often go undone. We built Verifli because hive grading is one of those tasks.
The reality of hive grading
To earn a living as a beekeeper, the quality of your hive management and the extent of your experience mean little compared to the strength of your bees at pollination time. Growers simply expect a strong workforce of bees. As long as your hives are full of bees at bloom, growers are happy and you get paid.
Here’s the problem: the times of year when hive grading is necessary are also the times when it’s most difficult to do. Whether it’s too cold to open hives, they’re locked away in overwinter storage or stacked on trucks, or you’re simply crunched for time with deadlines to meet. We built Verifli for times when hive grading is simply not an option.
What beekeepers gain from unbiased grading
Grading hives after they’re shut down for winter is one of many ways that beekeepers can use Verifli to their advantage. What are some other instances when a snapshot of your inventory would be nice to have but impossible to collect on your own? Here are a few ideas:
Protect your assets: Verifli’s unbiased third-party assessments act as time-stamped receipts of your inventory, making it easy to prove your losses if you need to file an insurance claim. Especially handy when your bees are left in the care of cold storage facility operators, truckers or pesticide applicators.
Book new business: Use results from past seasons to gain leverage when negotiating new pollination contracts with prospective growers.
Assess inventory prior to closing hives for winter: Determine which hives to place in cold storage and estimate where hive quality will be in January.
Monitor colony strength in cold storage: Track status throughout winter; Forecast which hives aren’t strong enough to ship for pollination; Give growers advanced notice on strength concerns or difficulty meeting quota.
Grade an entire truckload of hives in minutes: Get a snapshot before they depart and as soon as they arrive.
Confirm initial strength as you place hives in the orchards/fields: Provide proof of delivery to growers and identify weak colonies to swap out before bloom.
Determine colony strength at bloom: Get paid based on the pollination value of your bees.
Make sure colonies grew as expected after bloom: Insure hives against spray exposure.
Anything missing from this list? Send us your ideas!
The goal of this post is to open your eyes to the wide range of opportunities made possible by fast, unbiased hive grading. We don’t pretend that Verifli will make you a better beekeeper. We built Verifli to perform an important job for beekeepers when it otherwise can’t be done.