Arrangements for Pollination Services

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The information provided in this section is not a substitute for the services or advice of a qualified attorney.



Obligations of beekeepers and growers


A pollination agreement means that a beekeeper agrees to place their pollinators on the property or leased land of a grower during the bloom of their crop for pollination purposes. The grower agrees to pay the beekeeper, usually on a per-hive basis. It is best to begin the arrangements for spring pollination services before the beginning of winter, so that the beekeeper can adequately prepare and ensure the availability of pollinators.

Some beekeepers and growers prefer to do business on the basis of a handshake, while others prefer the protection from legal and liability issues that a formal contract can offer to both sides. A contract does not imply mistrust of either party by the other, rather it codifies their arrangement in the face of uncertainty, and affords peace of mind to both. If a business relationship sours, the involvement of banks and lawyers can complicate matters very quickly without a contract,, and usually to the detriment of both parties. At a minimum, the contract should include information addressing the following points:

Additional information that may be included in a pollination contract:


Sample agreements and contracts

There are numerous sample agreements and contracts available online. Some are specific to particular areas, such as examples from the Pacific Northwest. The states of Washington and Oregon are unusual in having legislated regulations for colony strength and government inspectors to evaluate colony strength upon request. Other examples are more general, and have been recommended for use all over the world. The sample contracts below are examples only, and remain the property of the owner.

Bumble bee sample contract (Koppert)

Honey bee sample contract 1

Honey bee sample contract 2

Honey bee sample contract 3


Honey bee sample contract 4 - editable MS Word version









Selected References


Decourtye, A., Mader, E., & Desneux, N. 2010. Landscape enhancement of floral resources for honey bees in agro-ecosystems. Apidologie 41:264-277.

Delaplane, K.S. & Mayer, D.F. 2000. Crop Pollination by Bees. CABI Publishing, New York.

Dicklow, M.B., Firman, R.D., Rupert, D.B., Smith, K.L, & Ferrari, T.E. 1986. Controlled enpollination of honey bees (Apis mellifera): bee-to-bee and bee-to-tree pollen transfer. In Mulcahy, D.L. et al. (eds.) Biotechnology and Ecology of Pollen. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.

Ellis, A. & Delaplane, K.S. 2009. An evaluation of Fruit-BoostTM as an aid for honey bee pollination under conditions of competing bloom. Journal of Apicultural Research 48:15-18.

Free, J.B. 1993. Insect Pollination of Crops, 2nd edition. Academic Press.

Kremen, C., Williams, N.M., Bugg, R.L., Fay, J.P., & Thorp, R.W. 2004. The area requirements of an ecosystem service: crop pollination by native bee communities in California. Ecology Letters 7:1109–1119.

Lait, C.G., J.H. Borden, E. Kovacs, O.E. Moeri, M. Campbell and C.M. Machial. 2012. Treatment with Synthetic Brood Pheromone (SuperBoost) Enhances Honey Production and Improves Overwintering
Survival of Package Honey Bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae) Colonies.  Journal of Economic Entomology, 105:304-312.


Morandin, L.A. & Winston, M.L. 2006. Pollinators provide economic incentive to preserve natural land in agroecosystems. Agriculture, Ecosystems, & Environment 116:289-292.

Morandin, L.A., Winston, M.L., Abbott, V.A., & Franklin, M.T. 2007. Can pastureland increase wild bee abundance in agriculturally intense areas? Basic and Applied Ecology 8:117-124.

Sagili, R.R. & Burgett, D.M. 2011. Evaluating honey bee colonies for pollination: A guide for commercial growers and beekeepers.  Pacific Northwest Extension Publication #PNW 623.

Scott-Dupree, C.D., Winston, M., Hergert, G., Jay, S.C., Nelson, D., Gates, J., Termeer, B., & Otis, G. 1995. A guide to managing bees for crop pollination. Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists, Aylesford NS.

Sheffield, C.S., Westby, S.M., Smith, R.F., & Kevan, P.G. 2008b. Potential of bigleaf lupine for building and sustaining Osmia lignaria populations for pollination of apple. Canadian Entomologist 140:589-599.

Slingerland, K., Fisher, H., & Hunter, D. 2002a. Pear cultivars. OMAFRA FactSheet 02-039.

Trhlin, M. & Rajchard, J. 2011. Chemical communication in the honeybee (Apis mellifera L.): a review. Veterinarni Medicina 56:265-273.

Wells, P., Wells, H., Vu, V., Vadehra, N., Lee, C., Han, R., Han, K., & Chang, L. 1993. Does honey bee Nasonov pheromone attract foragers? Bulletin of the Southern California Academy of Sciences 92:70-77.

Zurbuchen, A., Cheesman, S., Klaiber, J., Muller, A., Hein, S., & Dorn, S. 2010. Long foraging distances impose high costs on offspring production in solitary bees.  Journal of Animal Ecology 79:674–681.

**For more detailed information and a full list of references, download the following:   Woodcock, T.S. 2012.  Pollination in the agricultural landscape: best management practices for crop pollination.  University of Guelph. 113 pp.