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The apples and the bees

Every year, thousands of hives dot Washington’s apple orchards. The bees inside pollinate the state’s apple trees. Apple farmers, for the most part, rent the bees, said Dave Robison, an apple farmer near Chelan.

For every acre of apple orchard, farmers need one hive, Robison said. The hives stay in the fields for a week or two. The cost? Between $50 and $60.

“They bring them in and set them at night,” Robison said.

Robison works with an apiarist out of California. The bees Robison rents generally have just come from the almond fields of California.

After the bees are packed up and shipped off to their new assignment, Robison said you don’t want to be around. Leftover bees, separated from their colonies, aren’t happy.

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