Colonies taken to pollinate crops should be strong, with many foraging bees, and also much unsealed brood (to stimulate the bees to forage for pollen), and space for the queen to lay more eggs. Hives should not be taken to the crop before it comes into bloom, or the bees may start foraging on other plants and continue to do so when the crop flowers. If the hives are in a greenhouse, four to eight frames of bees in each may be sufficient, but the beekeeper must check regularly that the bees have enough food; alternatively, each hive may be provided with two flight entrances, one into the greenhouse and one outside. Beekeepers who hire out hives of bees for crop pollination need to have a sound legal contract with the crop grower; they should also be aware of the risks of their bees being poisoned by insecticides.
In addition to honey bees, certain native bees are especially efficient in pollinating one or more crop species, and several species are managed commercially for pollination. The following are quite widely used for the crops indicated: Andrena spp. for sarson and berseem in Egypt and India; Bombus spp. for tomato and red clover in Finland and Poland; Megachile spp. for alfalfa in Chile, India, South Africa, and the United States; Nomia melanderi for alfalfa in the United States; Osmia spp. for alfalfa in France; and Xenoglossa spp. for apple in Japan, Poland, and Spain, also cotton and curcurbits in the United States.
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The information in this book is useful to anyone wanting to start beekeeping as a hobby or a business. It was written for beginners. Those who have never looked into beekeeping, may not understand the meaning of the terminology used by people in the industry. We have tried to overcome the problem by giving explanations. We want you to be able to use this book as a guide in to beekeeping.