7.3. Distribution of colonies within the crop

The distribution of colonies within a crop is often a controversial issue between growers and beekeepers. This is because it is easiest for the beekeeper to drop off hives in single or several large groups. However, many growers want the hives spread evenly throughout the crop in the hope that there will be an equitable distribution of pollinators. Thus, testing for colony distributions that are optimum between these competing interests may be useful. The criteria given in section 2.2.4. apply, and experimental units for different hive distribution scenarios should be no smaller than a field plot and sufficiently isolated to prevent bees drifting and confounding treatments. Dependent variables can be collected as described in sections 4.1, 5.2, and 5.3, and reported as treatment means with plot or field as experimental unit. Depending on the hive distribution patterns selected, the use of field transects may be useful as covariates or supplemental information to understand pollinator performance relative to a point source of bees. Section 5.1.2. gives useful guidance on the use of field transects.