Beekeepers Face Challenges In and Out of Almond Bloom

Western Farm Press/Almond Board of California    By Bob Curtis    February 3, 2015

Almond industry helping to address health and forage issues for honey bees. 

Some 1.7 million beehives have moved into California’s 860,000 acres of almonds across the Central Valley to pollinate the state’s almond crop.

The importance of bees to the success of California Almonds is undeniable. What may be less understood is the amount of money, time and manpower beekeepers invest to get these bees healthy and ready to pollinate the crop.

Beekeepers report that inputs are growing steadily each year, as rising demand and pressures on honey bee health challenge them to produce more and more healthy hives...

Read more... http://westernfarmpress.com/orchard-crops/beekeepers-face-challenges-and-out-almond-bloom?page=1

Dead Bees, Almonds and the EPA

(The following is brought to us by CATCH THE BUZZ (Kim Flottum) Bee Culture, The Magazine of American Beekeeping, published by A.I. Root Company.) 

Bee Industry Hosts US EPA for Tour of Almond Pollination Sites

Dead Bees and Empty Hives Show the Extent of the Losses

Oakdale, CA — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Assistant Administrator, Jim Jones spent a day with beekeepers and almond growers to learn more about this year’s massive colony losses, and beekeepers’ concerns about the role of pesticides in the decline. The National Pollinator Defense Fund (NPDF) Board provided Jones with a view of the disaster from inside the hive. It was not a pretty picture. Dead hives littered the landscape at one bee yard, and even the hives with bees in them were not at full strength.

I started out last spring in the Midwest with 3,150 healthy bee colonies; of which 992 still survive, and most of those are very weak.  More than 2,150 of my valuable bee colonies are now just gone,” said Jeff Anderson, third generation beekeeper, and owner of California-Minnesota Honey Farms where the tour began.

Escalating colony losses are making replacement difficult.  In the meantime, without bees, they are unable to fulfill pollination contracts or make honey.  Beekeepers are...

Read more...

Troubling Bee Shortage in Almond Orchards

Bug Squad - Happenings in the Insect World   By Kathy Keatley Garvey 2//8/13 

California almond growers are worried--and rightfully so--about the honey bee shortage.

Honey bee guru Eric Mussen, Extension apiculturist with the UC Davis Department of Entomology, said today that almond growers may not have enough bees to pollinate this year's crop of 800,000 acres.

“We need 1.6 million colonies, or two colonies per acre, and California has only about 500,000 colonies that can be used...

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