Almond Math

Pollinator Partnership By Dan Wyns February 28, 2019

There are plenty of quick stats you come across working around bees: At peak population, a strong colony can have over 60,000 individual bees. A queen is capable of laying more eggs in a day (up to 2,000) than there are minutes in a day (1,440). A single bee can produce 1/12 tsp honey in its lifespan and may cumulatively travel 500 miles during the several weeks it spends as a forager. Despite annual losses in the 30-40% range, the total managed colony numbers remains fairly constant at about  3 million.

The American bee industry is inextricably linked to the almond industry. Every year, about 3/4 of the national herd migrates from various wintering locations to the central valley of California for the almond bloom in February. The almond industry also has some eye-opening statistics: The 117,000,000 almond-producing trees in California are responsible for 82% of global almond production, and it is estimated that it takes approximately 1 gallon of water to produce a single almond. The Almond Board of California does a fantastic job summarizing and quantifying the industry in the annual Almond Almanac available here. A couple previous BIP blogs discussing bees and almonds are available here and here.

Given the link between almond and bee industries and the eye-opening numbers in both, it got me wondering how many almonds each bee produces, or how many bees it takes to produce a single kernel (almonds aren’t technically nuts). Do you think a single bee accounts for hundreds of almonds? Does it take dozens of bees to produce each almond? Pick a number and we’ll work through some estimates to see how close you come.

Each almond starts with a bee in a blossom

Each almond starts with a bee in a blossom

The population of honey bee colonies is often estimated in a unit called frames of bees (FOBs). A frame of bees is defined as a deep frame (apx 19” x 8.5”) well-covered with adult bees on both sides. Estimates range between 2000 and 3000 individual bees per frame. For the sake of this exercise I’ll use the 2400 bees per FOB estimate reported here.

Beekeepers that rent their colonies for almond pollination typically do so under a contract that specifies both a minimum acceptable size and an average colony size that must be met. A commonly used contract may specify a 4 FOB minimum and an overall average of at least 8 FOB with potential bonus payments for colonies exceeding standards.  During the month of February 2018, Bee Informed Partnership  Tech Transfer Teams inspected over 1,100 colonies from 38 different operations with the overall mean frame count being 8.96 FOB per colony, so we’ll use that number as an estimate for colony strength. It is worth noting that not all bees in a colony are foragers and the percentage of individual bees that forage increases with colony strength. Randy Oliver has an excellent summation of the pollination value of a colony relative to FOB available here. Considering the difficulty of accounting for variable percentage of foragers and also the fact that a colony could not function with foragers alone, we will consider the total number of bees present to all be needed in order to provide pollination.

It is estimated that in recent years approximately 1.9 colonies per bearing acre have been required to meet almond pollination demand. For the 2017/18 almond crop year, there were an estimated 1,000,000 bearing acres. For the same year there was an average yield of 2,270 almonds lbs/acre. For a total crop of 2.27 billion pounds. It is estimated that there are 368 almond kernels per pound.

Having accumulated the numbers above we can now go about calculating the total number of bees pollinating almonds:

2400 bees/FOB * 8.96 FOB/colony = 21,504 bees/colony

1,000,000 acres * 1.9 colonies/acre  = 1,900,000 colonies

1,900,000 colonies * 21,504 bees/colony = 40,857,600,000 bees pollinating almonds

How many almonds do those 40 billion bees produce?

2.27 billion pounds * 368 almonds/pound = 835,360,000,000 almonds

835,360,000,000 almonds/40,857,600,000 bees =20.45 almonds per bee

Each of the approximately 40 billion individual bees rented for pollination is responsible for producing a handful of almonds.

Each of the approximately 40 billion individual bees rented for pollination is responsible for producing a handful of almonds.

So there we are, each bee that gets set in California almonds accounts for about 20 almonds. My guess before gathering any of the numbers was about 10 per bee; how close did your guess come?

Honey Bee Health Coalition Supports Honey Bee Health During Pollinator Week

Honey Bee Health Coalition Supports Honey Bee Health During Pollinator Week

June 19 - 25, 2017

Supporting honey bee health has never been as important as it is today. The annual Bee Informed Partnership survey has shown that in 2016, surveyed beekeepers lost a third of their bees. With agriculture dependent on honey bees and other native pollinators, the Honey Bee Health Coalition is proud to be developing collaborative, multi-factor solutions to the challenges bees face.
Three years since its launch, the Coalition is still going strong.
With Pollinator Week just around the corner, the Coalition continues to draw inspiration from its namesake and work together to find collective and collaborative strategies to support honey bee health.

Pollinator Week
Honey bees and pollinators work throughout the year to support the food and products we count on every day. Pollinator Week is an opportunity to highlight everything honey bees make possible — including billions of dollars in North American agriculture.

Coalition members are doing their parts to highlight not only the challenges bees face, but also the opportunities for everyday people to support honey bee health. For example, Coalition members will be holding and participating in a series of events, including:

The St. Louis Zoo will host its 9th Annual Pollinator Dinner on Tuesday, June 20, starting at 6 p.m. CT. The reservation-only event is title "Native Foods, Native Peoples and Native Pollinators" and highlights the culinary and cultural history of Native Americans and the critical supporting role native pollinators play.

The Levin Family Foundation will celebrate Wright-Patterson Air Force Base being designated as a Bee City USA on Wednesday, June 21, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. ET. The Pollinator Expo will highlight local organizations' efforts to protect pollinators.

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture will host a Pollinator Stakeholder Day to present the Kentucky Pollinator Protection Plan to Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles.

Representatives from the Honey Bee Health Coalition and the Conservation Technology Information Center will discuss the Bee Integrated Demonstration Project in a June 21webinar from noon to 1 p.m. ET.

But that's not all: Coalition members and allies are holding a wide variety of events across the nation. To learn more about additional Pollinator Week activities, including those in your backyard, visit the Pollinator Partnership’s interactive map.

Office of the Secretary
Washington, D.C. 20250


June 19 - 25, 2017

By the Secretary of Agriculture of the United States of America

WHEREAS pollinator species such as honey bees, native bees, birds, bats, and butterflies are essential partners of farmers and ranchers in producing food and are vital to keeping items such as fruits, nuts, and vegetables in our diets; and
WHEREAS healthy pollinator populations critical to the continued economic well-being of agricultural producers, of rural America, and of the U.S. economy; and
WHEREAS pollinator losses over the past few decades require immediate attention to ensure the sustainability of our food production systems, avoid additional economic impact on the agricultural sector, and protect environmental health; and

WHEREAS it is critically important to encourage the protection of pollinators; increase the quality and amount of pollinator habitat and forage; reverse pollinator losses; and help restore pollinator populations to healthy levels;

NOW, THEREFORE, in recognition of the vital significance of protecting pollinator health, I, Sonny Perdue, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, do hereby proclaim June 19 - 25, 2017, as National Pollinator Week. I call upon the people of the United States to join me in celebrating the significance of pollinators with appropriate observances and activities
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this 24th day of May 2017, the two-hundred forty-first year of the Independence of the United States of America.


Decline of Pollinators Poses Threat to World Food Supply, Report Says

The New York Times    By John Schwarts    February 26, 2016

Beekeepers using a smoker to calm colonies before transferring them to another crop near Columbia Falls, Me. Plants that depend on pollination make up 35 percent of global crop production volume with a value of as much as $577 billion a year. Credit Adrees Latif/ReutersThe birds and the bees need help. Also, the butterflies, moths, wasps, beetles and bats. Without an international effort, a new report warns, increasing numbers of species that promote the growth of hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of food each year face extinction.

The first global assessment of the threats to creatures that pollinate the world’s plants was released by a group affiliated with the United Nations on Friday in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The summary will be posted online Monday.

Pollinators, including some 20,000 species of wild bees, contribute to the growth of fruit, vegetables and many nuts, as well as flowering plants. Plants that depend on pollination make up 35 percent of global crop production volume with a value of as much as $577 billion a year. The agricultural system, for which pollinators play a key role, creates millions of jobs worldwide.

Many pollinator species are threatened with extinction, including some 16 percent of vertebrates like birds and bats, according to the document. Hummingbirds and some 2,000 avian species that feed on nectar spread pollen as they move from flower to flower. Extinction risk for insects is not as well defined, the report notes, but it warned of “high levels of threat” for some bees and butterflies, with at least 9 percent of bee and butterfly species at risk.

A bee collecting nectar in Bangkok. Pollinators, including some 20,000 species of wild bees, contribute to the growth of fruit, vegetables and many nuts. Credit Barbara Walton/European Pressphoto Agency

The causes of the pressure on these creatures intertwine: aggressive agricultural practices that grow crops on every available acre eliminate patches of wildflowers and cover crops that provide food for pollinators. Farming also exposes the creatures to pesticides, and bees are under attack from parasites and pathogens, as well.

Climate change has an effect, as well, especially in the case of bumblebees in North America and Europe, said Sir Robert Watson, vice chairman of the group and director of strategic development at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia.

A warming world changes the territories of plants and pollinators, and changes the plants’ time of flowering, as well, leading to a troubling question, posed by Dr. Watson: “Will the pollinators be there when the flowers need them?”

The group issuing the report, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, is made up of 124 countries, including the United States, and was formed through the United Nations in 2012. It resembles in some ways the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, with a focus on providing analysis and policy proposals to promote biodiversity.

The group did not conduct new research, but synthesized current studies and analysis to reach its conclusions.

The assessment, developed with the help of 80 experts, does not take a conclusive position on two issues that environmental activists have focused on intensely.

The report states that the contribution of controversial chemicals known as neonicotinoids “is currently unresolved.” Recent research suggests that even when the pesticides are present at levels that do not have lethal effects on individual insects, concentrations in the hive may have long-term effects on colonies of wild and managed bees.


Pollinator Partnership Helps Fund Honey Bee Research

CATCH THE BUZZ  May 28, 2015

Timely Support from USDA APHIS and Pollinator Partnership Members

There will be a few more busy researchers gearing up for the 2015 season thanks to support from Pollinator Partnership’s (P2) generous donors who have helped generate more than $60,000 for honey bee health issues.  With funding from USDA APHIS…


Honey Bee Losses are Buzz Kill for Crops

The Los Angeles Times    By Geoffrey Mohan   May 14, 2015

Managed honeybee colonies suffered annual losses of 42%, with summer declines outstripping winter losses for the first time, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported Wednesday.

The declines are less steep than those associated with the mysterious widespread collapse of bee colonies, first recognized in 2006, but remain troublesome, driving up prices for crop pollination services, according to the department.

“Beekeepers in some cases are replacing half their operations during the year,” said Jeff Pettis, a senior research entomologist at the USDA Agricultural Research Center's Bee Research Laboratory in Beltsville, Md.
California has the largest number of beekeeping operations in the country. Its almond industry, the single largest user of honeybees, paid more than $292 million for pollination services in 2012, according to the USDA.

Prices for colony rentals for a three- to five-week pollination period ranged from $140 to $200 last year, depending on colony size, according to the online beekeeping community

Summer colony losses averaged 27.4%, based on the agency's annual survey, which included more than 6,100 beekeepers managing 400,000 colonies — about 16% of the colonies managed nationwide.

The decline outstripped the 23% winter loss, according to the survey.

“We've always known that we had summer losses,” Pettis said. “We just never tried to quantify it before.”

Although winters are stressful for hived bees, spring and summer are the times when colonies are moved from crop to crop across multiple states.

“That pollination workload is certainly part of it,” Pettis said.

In addition to the summer losses, entomologists are puzzling over reports of unusually high rates of queen loss, which can doom a colony. “Queen honeybees are either dying in the colony or being replaced,” Pettis said. “They're failing for some reason.”

A 2012 USDA study attributed colony collapse disorder to multiple factors, including beekeeping practices, parasites, viruses and exposure to agricultural chemicals such as neonicotinoid pesticides.

Such stress amounts to “death by a thousand cuts” for bee colonies, said Gordon Wardell, pollination manager for Paramount Farms, which rents 90,000 colonies to pollinate its 46,000 acres of almond trees in the San Joaquin Valley.

“Commercial beekeepers are pushing their bees more,” causing imbalances in the social structure of colonies, he said.

That social structure, tightly regulated by chemical pheromones, is key to survival of a colony. Normally, a colony experiences rapid population growth that tapers off as winter approaches, Wardell said.

“They're keeping the bees in that exponential growth phase longer than they normally would be in it,” he said.

Because foraging bees survive only a few weeks, a colony can quickly collapse without adequate replacements.

A recent study showed that even a slight increase in forager mortality can cause a domino effect — worker bees become foragers too early in their life cycle, increasing their mortality, perpetuating the cycle that can cause colony collapse within months.

Even a weakened colony can drastically affect pollination, Wardell said.

“We had a real quick bloom this year; the bloom happened in about two weeks,” Wardell said. “And if you don't have real strong colonies, your flowers don't get pollinated.”

Pointing to the colony declines, environmental and food safety groups have been pushing to suspend or ban the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, commonly used to coat seeds.

“These dire honeybee numbers add to the consistent pattern of unsustainable bee losses in recent years that threatens our food system,” Tiffany Finck-Haynes, food futures campaigner with Friends of the Earth, said Wednesday.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in April informed registered users of neonicotinoids that the agency is “likely not to be in a position to approve” new applications of the chemicals while it weighs the risk to crop pollinators.

The European Union banned use of several neonicotinoid chemicals two years ago, but their replacement with older pesticides has led to insect infestations in some crops.

Read at:

Nations Beekeepers Lost 40% of Their Bees in 2013-2014

ABJ Extra   May 14, 2015

Summer losses eclipse winter losses for the first time on record

Beekeepers across the United States lost more than 40 percent of their honey bee colonies during the year spanning April 2014 to April 2015, according to the latest results of an annual nationwide survey. While winter loss rates improved slightly compared to last year, summer losses--and consequently, total annual losses--were more severe. Commercial beekeepers were hit particularly hard by the high rate of summer losses, which outstripped winter losses for the first time in five years, stoking concerns over the long-term trend of poor health in honey bee colonies.

The survey, which asks both commercial and small-scale beekeepers to track the health and survival rates of their honey bee colonies, is conducted each year by the Bee Informed Partnership in collaboration with the Apiary Inspectors of America, with funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). A summary of the 2014-2015 results is available upon request prior to May 13, 2015; thereafter the results will be added to previous years' results publicly available on the Bee Informed website.

"We traditionally thought of winter losses as a more important indicator of health, because surviving the cold winter months is a crucial test for any bee colony," said Dennis vanEngelsdorp, an assistant professor of entomology at the University of Maryland and project director for the Bee Informed Partnership. "But we now know that summer loss rates are significant too. This is especially so for commercial beekeepers, who are now losing more colonies in the summertime compared to the winter. Years ago, this was unheard of."

Beekeepers who responded to the survey lost a total of 42.1 percent of their colonies over the course of the year. Winter loss rates decreased from 23.7 percent last year to 23.1 percent this year, while summer loss rates increased from 19.8 percent to 27.4 percent.

Among backyard beekeepers (defined as those who manage fewer than 50 colonies), a clear culprit in losses is the varroa mite, a lethal parasite that can easily spread between colonies. Among commercial beekeepers, the causes of the majority of losses are not as clear.

"Backyard beekeepers were more prone to heavy mite infestations, but we believe that is because a majority of them are not taking appropriate steps to control mites," vanEngelsdorp said. "Commercial keepers were particularly prone to summer losses. But they typically take more aggressive action against varroa mites, so there must be other factors at play."

This is the ninth year of the winter loss survey, and the fifth year to include summer and annual losses in addition to winter loss data. More than 6,000 beekeepers from all 50 states responded to this year's survey. All told, these beekeepers are responsible for nearly 15 percent of the nation's estimated 2.74 million managed honey bee colonies.

The survey is part of a larger research effort to understand why honey bee colonies are in such poor health, and what can be done to manage the situation. Colony losses present a financial burden for beekeepers, and can lead to shortages among the many crops that depend on honey bees as pollinators. Some crops, such as almonds, depend entirely on honey bees for pollination. Estimates of the total economic value of honey bee pollination services range between $10 billion and $15 billion annually.

"The winter loss numbers are more hopeful especially combined with the fact that we have not seen much sign of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) for several years, but such high colony losses in the summer and year-round remain very troubling," said Jeffery Pettis, a senior entomologist at U.S. Department of Agriculture and a co-coordinator of the survey. "If beekeepers are going to meet the growing demand for pollination services, researchers need to find better answers to the host of stresses that lead to both winter and summer colony losses."

A Sharp Spike in Honeybee Deaths Deepens a Worrisome Trend

The New York Times    By Michael Wines   May 14, 2015

A prolonged and mysterious die-off of the nation’s honeybees, a trend worrisome both to beekeepers and to farmers who depend on the insects to pollinate their crops, apparently worsened last year.

In an annual survey released on Wednesday by the Bee Informed Partnership, a consortium of universities and research laboratories, about 5,000 beekeepers reported losing 42.1 percent of their colonies in the 12-month period that ended in April. That is well above the 34.2 percent loss reported for the same period in 2013 and 2014, and it is the second-highest loss recorded since year-round surveys began in 2010.

Most striking, however, was that honeybee deaths spiked last summer, exceeding winter deaths for the first time. Commercial beekeepers, some of whom rent their hives to farmers during pollination seasons, were hit especially hard, the survey’s authors stated.

Do You Have a Little Land to Spare for the Bee Buffer Project?

Bug Squad Happenings in the insect world    By Kathy Keatley Garvey   September 15, 2014

Do you have a little land to spare, such as a quarter of an acre or up to three acres? For honey bee habitat? 

The Pollinator Partnership, as part of its U.S. Bee Buffer Project, wants to partner with California farmers, ranchers, foresters, and managers and owners to participate in a honey bee forage habitat enhancement effort. It's called the U.S. Bee Buffer Project and the goal is to "borrow" 6000 acres to plant honey bee seed mix.

It will create a foraging habitat of pollen and nectar, essential to honey bee health. And there's no charge for the seed mix.

What a great project to help the beleaguered honey bees!

"Beekeepers struggle to find foraging areas to feed their bees when they are not in a pollination contract," said "idea generator" Kathy Kellison of Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, a strong advocate of keeping bees healthy.  "Lack of foraging habitat puts stress on the bees and cropping systems honey bees pollinate. The U.S. Bee Buffer Project will develop a network of honey bee forage habitats in agricultural areas to support honey bee health and our own food systems. We are looking for cooperators with land they are willing to set aside as Bee Buffers."

Kellison points out:

  • Honey bees provide pollination services for 90 crops nationwide.
  • A leading cause for over-winter mortality of honey bee colonies given by beekeepers surveyed is starvation. The nationwide winter loss for 2012/2013 was 31.3 percent.

The requirements, she said, are minimal:

  • Access to an active farm, ranch, forest, easement, set-aside, or landscape
  • Ability to plant 0.25 to 3 acres with the U.S. Bee Buffer seed mix
  • Commitment to keep the Bee Buffer in place
  • Allow beekeepers and researchers on-site

Of course, the benefits to the participants include free seeds and planting information; supplemental pollination of flowering plants; and leadership participation in the beginnings of a nationwide effort to support honey bees. Then there's the potential for enriched soil, reduction in invasive plant species, and enhanced wildlife habitat.

And, we made add, a sense of accomplishment as bees forage on your thriving plants.

Those interested in participating in this nationwide effort and hosting a Bee Buffer, can visit to fill out a brief eligibility questionnaire. More information is available from Mary Byrne at the Pollinator Partnership at (415) 362-1137 or

Go, bees!

Read at...

The Fall and Rise of the Honeybee

Pollinator Partnership    By Peter Loring Borst    August 12, 2014

By now most people have heard of the “unprecedented losses” of the honey bee; some tabloids have even gone so far as to warn of its impending “extinction.” Are these losses unprecedented? Are these stories even true? It’s pretty hard to make a claim... 


Pollinator Week 2014 Mobilizes America for Pollinators

The Pollinator Partnership (P2) announced today that its signature initiative, Pollinator Week, has reached significant new milestones in 2014. Established in 2007, Pollinator Week has grown exponentially in scope each year with this year June 16-22 being designated byU.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and 44 governors as a week to celebrate and protect the nation’s pollinating animals (a complete list of State proclamations and events is available at Pollinators, like bees, butterflies, birds and other animals, bring us one in every three bites of food, protect our environment. They form the underpinnings of a healthy and sustainable future. From the Louisville Middle School on Main Street, Louisville, CO to the Bee Palooza at Michigan State University; from the Unitarian Universalist Church of Asheville, NC to the 3rd-5th graders at the Citizen Science Nature Camp in Houston, TX – Americans have made pollinator health an issue that they are doing something about!

Joining and supporting this effort are some of the largest businesses and most powerful voices in the country. This year has marked a strong surge in interest in the health of America’s pollinators including First Lady Michelle Obama’s first-ever White House pollinator garden. Pollinator Week marks a new dawn of wise land management across the country and new initiatives launched during Pollinator Week 2014 will multiply the efforts to support pollinators. The following items are just a start:

The Highways BEE Act has been introduced in the Congress by the joint leadership of Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) and Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA), co-chairs of the Congressional Pollinator Protection Caucus (CP2C). Over 200 national, regional, and local organizations and 2,000 American scientists and individuals from all walks of life across the nation have already signed a petition in support. This pollinator action-opportunity continues for all interested organizations, businesses and individuals at

Pollinator Week showcases the brand new pollinator poster of the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC), Native Orchids Need Their Pollinators. This 2014 poster marks the debuts of pollinator artist Emily Underwood, a scientific illustrator living and working in central California. The poster is available at where a new web feature illuminates the intricate interactions between wild orchids and their pollinators, including video footage of orchid pollination.

To kick off Pollinator Week, the Pollinator Partnership teamed with Walgreens, Burt’s Bees, and the Evanston Ecology Center to plant a pollinator garden with volunteers from local schools and gardening groups. The garden, located at the Evanston, Illinois Ecology Center, will be a learning resource for people and a much-needed habitat for local and migratory pollinating species. The nearly quarter acre site will be completed with a second planting later in the summer. The garden has been built with funding from the sales of Burt’s Bees lip balm purchased at the new LEED-certified Walgreens in Evanston which opened in the fall of 2013. For information contact

Efforts during Pollinator Week, and indeed year-round, are working to reverse and prevent pollinator declines caused by loss of habitat, disease, pesticides, parasites and other interconnected assaults on pollinator populations. Laurie Davies Adams, Executive Director of P2 said, “It’s appropriate to see the highest levels of government as well as the grassroots individuals and communities taking action for pollinators. We applaud everyone participating in Pollinator Week 2014. It’s a great starting point for actions, large and small, that support the future of our pollinators, our food supply, and our environment.”


Established in 1997, the Pollinator Partnership is the largest 501(c) 3 non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to the health, protection, and conservation of all pollinating animals. Pollinator Partnership’s actions for pollinators include education, conservation, restoration, policy, and research. P2’s financial support comes through grants, gifts, memberships and donations from any interested party. P2’s policies are science-based, set by its board of directors, and never influenced by any donor. To make a donation or for information on events during Pollinator Week, visit

(This message brought to us by CATCH THE BUZZ: Kim Flottom,  Bee Culture, The Magazine Of American Beekeeping, published by the A.I. Root Company. Twitter.FacebookBee Culture’s Blog.)

National Pollinator Week: June 16-22, 2014

National Pollinator Week starts June 16. Find events and information at


Established in 1997, the Pollinator Partnership is the largest 501(c) 3 non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to the health, protection, and conservation of all pollinating animals. For further information on events taking place during Pollinator Week and to download free materials to create your own event, visit

Read the Pollinator Week Press Release - Bee and Pollinator Health a Serious Concern and a Priority Pollinator Week Activities Seek to Help

Read the Pollinator Week Press Release - Pollinator-Beneficial Farm Bill Amendment Adopted by House During Pollinator Week
Would Help Ensure Viability of Honey Bees, Native Pollinators and Other Beneficial Insects

Roadside Plantings for Bees and other Pollinators

June 4, 2014

Highways BEE ActH.R. 4790 was introduced by Reps Alcee Hastings (D-FL) and Jeff Denham (R-CA) on May 30 and is strongly supported by the Pollinator Partnership (P2). Hastings and Denham are co-chairs of the Congressional Pollinator Protection Caucus (CP2C). Click Here for Additional Background. More information is also provided below the letter.

 POLLINATOR ACTION REQUEST: You can help honey bees, monarch butterflies and other pollinators by signing on to group letterbelow as ORGANIZATION and/or as INDIVIDUAL.

 Deadline ASAP, and by June 16—the first day of National Pollinator Week!

Who Can Sign

Organizations at all levels and types (national, state, local)


Researchers, other individuals

Forward this Opportunity: To others who may be interested. Spreading the word helps! Can either forward this e-mail, or include this link with your personal note: 



The undersigned support H.R. 4790, the Highways Bettering the Economy and Environment Pollinator Protection Act (Highways BEE Act).

Pollinators, such as honey bees and native pollinators, birds, bats, and butterflies, are essential to healthy ecosystems and are vital partners in American agriculture. Honey bees, monarch butterflies and other native pollinators are suffering drastic population losses, due in part to loss of habitat. 

Highway right-of-ways (ROWs) managed by State Departments of Transportation (State DOTs) represent about 17 million acres of opportunity where significant economic and conservation/environmental benefits can be achieved through integrated vegetation management (IVM) practices, that can—

Significantly reduce mowing and maintenance costs for State DOTs, and

Help create habitat, forage and migratory corridors that will contribute to the health of honey bees, monarch butterflies and other native pollinators, as well as ground nesting birds and other small wildlife.

Neighboring agricultural lands and wildlife ecosystems will benefit through improved pollination services.

The Highways BEE Act directs the Secretary of Transportation to use existing authorities, programs and funding to encourage and facilitate IVM and pollinator habitat efforts by willing State DOTs and other transportation ROWs managers, building on innovative IVM efforts in a growing number of State DOTs.

Field Notes from White House: Alliance for Bee and Monarch Butterfly Recovery

Make Way for Monarchs   By Gary Nabhan  April 30, 2014

Field Notes from White House: Listening to an Unprecedented Alliance of Stakeholders for Bee and Monarch Butterfly Recovery

It was a dark and stormy day in Washington DC when sixty thought leaders from the farm community, industry, government and non-profits met next to the White House grounds to discuss pollinators; we could hardly see First Lady Michelle Obama’s new pollinator garden through all the pouring rain. Nevertheless, it was cause for celebration: a landmark meeting in the history of insect conservation, because the White House had brought together diverse stakeholders to deal with recent catastrophic declines in pollinators and plan their recovery on a continent-wide scale.

Dr. Michael Stebbins PhD, the meeting facilitator for White House Office of Science Policy, set the stage:

“There are many different stressors impacting various pollinators: herbicides, pesticides, habitat loss, climate change, and parasites like the varroa mite. Because of that, we need a hands-on approach to better leverage everyone’s investments to reverse the loss of pollinators. We are not at all interested in pointing fingers but we do want to know what roles chemical producers, among many others, are willing to play in helping solve this problem.”

The President’s Science Policy Advisor, Dr. John Holdren, added his welcome to the group of farmers, beekeepers, nurserymen, scientists, educators, corporate CEOs and faith-based community leaders Wednesday at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington DC:

“This is an issue that President Obama personally cares about: ways of protecting and nourishing natural capital, including ecosystem services. We are happy to see this intersection between people inside government and outside government trying to figure out how we can meet the challenges we face. Bees and butterflies have become like the canaries in the coal mine and that should be a wake up call for all of us.”

For nearly two hours, the group discussed the best means to avert further pollinator decline and prevent negative consequences for food security in North America. As noted by Ed Flanagan, a Maine wild blueberry farmer and president and chief executive of Jasper Wyman & Son

“As a farmer of berries, without pollinators, we are out of business. So we have begun taking a sort of Hippocratic Oath as farmers just as doctors do: “First, do no harm.”

In particular, Dr. Stebbins asked every person in the room to identify the following assets:

1) Activities, policies, or other initiatives for which federal agencies could enact to address pollinator health;
2) Potential public-private partnerships to be formed to address these issues; and
3) Significant commitments that organizations are making which the White House could help raise up to increase attention to these issues.

It became a hundred twenty minute session that this issue has emerged to be one of the most pressing and pervasive issues affecting our food supply and the health of the natural systems and ecological relationships that provide support services for agriculture.

Dr. Marla Spivak, a MacArthur Genius award-winning bee scientist at the University of Minnesota bluntly summed up many participants’ concerns: “Americans need good, clean diverse food, and so do pollinators.” As concluded by Laurie Davies Adams, Executive Director of the Pollinator Partnership:

“We need to come away from this meeting with a larger collective vision that incorporates the good work of hundreds of organizations and businesses.”

And so commitments began to be made for the voluntary involvement of farmers, beekeepers, nurserymen, seedsmen, garden clubs, wildlife habitat restorationists to design a pollinator recovery plan to include both the for-profit and non-profit sector at an unprecedented scale. These commitments will need to affect more than 100 million acres of American farmscapes that have been depleted of their pollinators over the last decade. While the causes and consequences of the pollinator declines remain different for each species of insect that has become imperiled, there was a ready consensus: habitat restoration of milkweeds for monarchs and other butterflies will also aid honeybees and imperiled bumblebees.

Christi Heinz of Project Apis put the entire concern into perspective: “Pollinator health is really a land use issue. Bees in particular are responsible for much of the food we eat. It should be a requirement to set space aside for them.”

To which Dave Nosman of Pheasants Forever added, “What farm or ranch couldn’t need better quality wildlife habitat?”

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Bee Informed Partnership Survey

Following are two messages from the Bee Informed Partnership:

Dear Beekeeper:

We are midway through our National Annual Loss and Management survey and would appreciate help from you to appeal to more commercial beekeepers who are under-represented in our survey.   

Thank you for those of you who have already participated in our Tier 6 (Almond Pollination) survey. We have two additional surveys that are now open to all beekeepers and are asking for your help.  The link to these surveys is provided below.

The Bee informed Partnership, a joint project among numerous universities and laboratories, is asking you to please send the following email to all the beekeepers that you know.  Both surveys are open only from 1 April through 30 April 2014.  

Should you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact us at: or call us at 443.296.2470.

You can learn more about the Bee Informed Partnership at  We really believe this effort will be able to change our industry by giving beekeepers the tools they need to make informed management decisions. But, for it to work it needs participation – lots of participation. SO please take the survey if you have colonies of your own and pass this letter below to your beekeeper contacts and encourage them to participate! We thank you in advance.

Dear Beekeeper:
We need your help.  Please take 30 minutes out of your busy day to complete these two surveys.  Both surveys are only open from 1 April through 30 April 2014

National Loss and Management Survey:

The loss survey should take less than 10 minutes and the management survey should take less than 30 minutes.

The purpose of the Bee Informed Partnership is to use beekeepers' real world experiences to help solve beekeepers' real world problems. We will use the data generated from these two surveys to help you decide which management practices are best for beekeepers like you, who live where you do and have operations similar to yours.  For this to work, we need as many participants as please take the time to fill out the survey and SEND THIS EMAIL TO ALL THE BEEKEEPERS YOU KNOW asking them to fill out these survey too.
Should you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact us at or call us at 443.296.2470.

You can learn more about the Bee Informed Partnership at
Thank you,

The Bee Informed Partnership Team

National Pollinator Week

From Bayer Crop Science for National Pollinator Week

Support pollinators by participating in the Pollinator Pledge in honor of National Pollinator Week by planting a pollinator garden at your home or in the community. You aren’t alone because we'll help you get started. Fill out the form below and Bayer will send you a packet of wildflower seeds selected to appeal to pollinators. For each person who requests a packet, Bayer will donate $1 to the nonprofit Pollinator Partnership. And once you’ve received your seed packet, check back here for a tip sheet on the steps you should take to plant a beautiful pollinator garden.

You can also pay it forward. Don’t keep your free packet of seeds a secret! Let others know how they can join in the effort, too. Visit us on Twitter at @Bayer4CropsUS and share your story with us.

The Pollinator Partnership - Bee Merry E-Certificate for Honey Bee Health Research

Give a Bee Merry E-Certificate for Honey Bee Health Research Gift

The recent mysterious disappearance of tens of thousands of honey bees, known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), has confirmed that we don't know enough about bees and other pollinators. Your contribution toward Honey Bee Research will help support programs that are helping us solve this problem.
Give the gift of Bee Research and a loved one will feel that they have made a real difference for bees. When you make a tax-deductible donation $30 or more, we'll e-mail you a full-color personalized E-Certificate for you to present to your friend or family member.