The annual rite of California almond pollination had some almond growers on edge this spring as reports suggested there could be a shortage of honey bees to pollinate California's 800,000 acres of almond tree blossoms. Yet, great weather during bloom and extra bees brought into the state helped avert an almond pollination problem.
Eric Mussen, University of California statewide apiculturist, says a shortage of honey bees did exist for this year’s California almond pollination. Yet perfect weather and last-minute efforts by beekeepers and almond growers to bring in extra hives led to a successful pollination event in the end. Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey.
Eric Mussen conducts Extension bee work at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at the University of California, Davis. Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey.
Gordon Wardell, Paramount Farms bee biologist, Lost Hills, Calif., says varroa mites can take a heavy toll on honey bee health. 2007 file photo.
Gordon Wardell checks a honey bee frame. File photo.
Honey bees are crucial to the California almond industry. Almond bloom pollination requires about 1.5 million colonies; a third of which are provided by California beekeepers. Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey.
Note the reddish-brown-colored varroa mite on the honey bee which can cause bee mortality. Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey.