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ULTIMATE HIVE
GRADING PLAYBOOK

HOW TO USE HIVE GRADING TO PUT YOURSELF IN A POSITION FOR MAXIMUM POLLINATION

INTRODUCTION

This guide is designed to help growers consider the numerous details that go into grading hives for pollination — a key
component of a successful pollination season.

THE IMPORTANCE OF GRADING HIVES

If this write-up was about water, pesticides, fertilizer or any other input a grower needs to produce a successful crop, there wouldn’t be any reason to discuss the idea of measuring how much to apply. When it comes to pollination, however, there are many growers who have never taken steps to measure the quality of bees rented.

Reasons to grade hives:

  1. You are paying for quality bees— be sure you receive them

  2. Bee and harvest qualities are strongly connected

  3. You would not buy another farm input without first verifying quality and quantity

  4. Even the best beekeeper can have a bad year

  5. You can resolve issues before bloom

Reasons against grading hives:

  1. You trust your beekeeper and have no reason to doubt their bees

  2. You do not want your
    beekeeper to think you are
    skeptical of their bees

  3. You rent from a broker who
    grades the hives before they’re delivered

Counterpoints:

Trust your beekeeper: Trust
only goes so far (see point four
under “Reasons to grade hives”)
Don’t want to seem skeptical:
Relationship management
is key (see point three under
“Reasons to grade hives”)
Rent from a broker: It’s valuable
that hives are graded but it’s
important to get an unbiased
opinion

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