A beekeeper who moves his honeybee colonies from one forage site to another during the productive season does not passively follow a prefixed sequence, but must create one by comparing a wide range of forage sites. How can migratory beekeeper sequence the movements of his honeybee colonies from one forage site to another? The microeconomic model formalized in Section 3 offers a solution to this question. The model assumes that the migratory beekeeper is following, in conditions of certainty, a profitability target under the constraint that the time taken up by each sequence of sites is less than or equal to the duration of the honeybee colonies’ annual biological cycle. Each forage site that the honeybee colonies visit contributes not just to the profitability but also to the sustainability of the sequence to which it belongs. Replacing one or more forage sites within a sequence therefore simultaneously affects the levels of profitability and sustainability. In Section 4, the sustainability of the sequence will be explained in terms of the characteristics of the sites, their agro-environmental context, the honey bee well-being and the timing and duration of the placement period of the honeybee colonies on the site.
Part of the book: Beekeeping
This chapter presents the results of a survey conducted in spring 2019 within the beekeepers who rent their colonies for the pollination of apple orchards in Val di Non, an alpine area in North Italy. The commercial pollination of apple orchards in this area is managed in an associated form by their cooperatives. The survey, carried out in collaboration with the local farmer cooperatives, submitted to the beekeepers a questionnaire containing questions on the economic and apidological aspects of their migratory beekeeping. The answers, referring to 43 questionnaires, show that beekeepers mostly: plan the migration itinerary at the beginning of the year; proceed to balance the colonies of honey bees before the pollination of the apple orchards; believe that the strength of the colonies must affect the pollination fee paid by the farmers and that the concentration of the colonies for the pollination of crops is not a relevant factor in the spread of bee diseases. The winter losses of honey bee colonies suffered by the responding beekeepers are on average 11.9%. The average cost of feeding the honey bee colony amounts to 19.1 €/colony. Finally, there is a wide interest in beekeepers to ensure the honey bee colonies.
Part of the book: Modern Beekeeping