The buzz of a strong bee colony is vital to California's multi-billion almond industry. Without bees there are no almonds.
Bees also pollinate a variety of other commodities that consumers eat. It is therefore important for growers and those employed by them to ensure that honeybee health is promoted throughout the industry.
Paramount Farms in California is working to ensure that the bees they use for their almond pollination return to beekeepers healthier than when they arrived to pollinate the company's 46,000 acres of almonds in Central California. To augment those bees, Paramount Farms is conducting research on a variety of solitary, wild bee to see if it can aid in the pollination of almonds.
1. Blue Orchard Bees incubating
<p>Blue Orchard Bees raised in captivity incubate in these small containers. The bee packs mud in the holes after laying eggs. Paramount Farms then comes in and color-coats the holes to indicate dates.</p>
2. Inspecting Blue Orchard Bees
<p>Paramount Farms' Bee Biologist Gordon Wardell inspects Blue Orchard Bees incubating at his Lost Hills, Calif. facility.</p>
3. Blue Orchard Bee research
<p>Gordon Wardell will plant 20 acres of flowers in a netting enclosure at Paramount Farms to raise wild, Blue Orchard Bees, as part of a research project. Paramount wants to see if the BOB can supplement almond pollination done by European Honey Bees.</p>
4. Inspecting for the queen
<p>Looking for the queen, Gordon Wardell checks one of several bee hives located near his Paramount Farms facility.</p>
5. Honeybees at work
<p>Honeybee colonies are a delicate organism, according to bee biologist Gordon Wardell. Each bee has a specific and important job within the colony to promote the health and vitality of the colony.</p>
6. Promoting honeybee health
<p>Gordon Wardell inspects a colony of honeybees at his Paramount Farms facility near Lost Hills, Calif.</p>
7. Honeybee colonies in Central California
<p>Several thousand colonies of honeybees forage in the foothills of Central California.</p>