Without honey bees, there would be no almonds. Some would argue the reverse, as well. All agree that commercial beekeepers and almond growers are important partners.
Every February in California, almond blossoms open and the greatest facilitated pollination event in the world takes place. Over 2 million honey bee colonies are placed in almond orchards, some of which are moved to the region on semi-trucks from as far as New England and Florida. Beekeeping and Almonds are closely linked US industries, and as almond acreage continues to grow, the almond industry is increasingly driving changes in the beekeeping industry. It is estimated that over 80% of the commercial honey bee colonies in the USA are contracted for pollination in California almond orchards each year (estimated based on 2 honey bee colonies per bearing acres of almonds, and number of honey bees in operations with 5 or more colonies in the US. Sources: USDA-NASS 2018 California Almond Acreage Report, and USDA-NASS 2018 Honey Bee Colonies Report)
Left: Honey bees and almonds dominate the landscape in central California during the almond bloom. Almond acreage in California has increased 50% in the past 10 years. Right: Young non-bearing orchards offer ideal opportunities to plant cover crops that improve soil health and provide supplemental forage for bees.
Stepping into the E. L. Niño Bee Lab at UC Davis feels like you are stepping through a portal into the past and the future of honey bee research at the same time. Glass cases reverently display some of the first honey bee insemination tools ever made by scientists like Dr. Lloyd Watson, and UC Davis’ own Dr. Harry Laidlaw; a bottle of un-crystalized 150 year old honey, and beautiful natural combs drawn by honey bees decades ago. The history is undeniable and can leave you with a somber sense of awe as you imagine the earlier days of honey bee research. The days before Varroa, before 1.3 million acres of almonds, and before millions of honey bee colonies were trucked around the country each year to pollinate crops.
Photos: Early examples and prototypes of queen insemination tools. The oldest date back to the 1920’s, and gave scientists the ability to control honey bee breeding and bloodlines for the first time, changing the future of beekeeping. Modern queen insemination tools are based on these early inventions.
U.S. Beekeepers Lost Over 40% of Colonies During the Last Year, With Annual Survey Showing Winter Losses as the Highest Ever Recorded
Seeds for Bees Enrollment
Opens June 15, 2019!
Seeds for Bees® encourages the use of cover crops to increase the density, diversity, and duration of bee forage in California orchards, farms and vineyards, while improving soil health and supporting good land stewardship. The seed mixes available through Seeds for Bees are designed to bloom at critical times of the year when natural forage is scarce but managed and native bees are active, with a variety of options to address soil needs of the orchard. Seeds for Bees serves the needs of bees, beekeepers, and growers, increasing sustainability of pollination and agriculture.
Honey bee nutrition and health can be strengthened by increasing floral diversity. Providing better habitat for honey bees helps them mitigate a multitude of stressors, including parasites, pathogens, and pesticides. Stronger bees means better pollination. Adding Seeds for Bees® bee forage to your crop, utilizing the best in seed mixes and planting regimes, can increase honey bee health and sustainability, securing crop pollination into the future.
Orchardists, growers, and farmers in California can apply to participate in the Seeds for Bees® program. Enrollees receive free or subsidized cover crop seeds designed by Project Apis m. to provide high-quality sources of nutrition for honey bees and native pollinators, along with technical support. This incentive gives growers the opportunity to try out cover crops for themselves at a reduced cost so that they can experience the benefits first hand. If you are a grower and are interested in participating, please visit: www.projectapism.org/seeds-for-bees
where you can find online and printable applications, technical support, and more information about Seeds for Bees®
Additional information links: Benefits of Cover Crops, Guidelines and Enrollment, PAm Seed Mixes, Apply to Enroll
March, 2019 Interview with
Rory Crowley, Chief Operations Officer and the Executive Vice President for Research and Business Development at Nicolaus Nut Company
Guide includes how to test and treat American and European Foulbrood, new Veterinary Feed Directive rules for using antibiotics, and the importance of being vigilant
June 7, 2019, Salt Lake City, UT
Dear Friends, Professors and Researchers,
Please distribute and post this exciting and unique scholarship Announcement:
2019 Canada PAm-Costco Scholar Fellowship Awards for Honey Bee Health