Olivarez Honeybees raises royalty in northern California

How one northern California beekeeper maintains reduced losses in an age of colony collapse disorder

Ray Olivarez says keeping his bee losses to a minimum takes work, looking ahead, and a holistic approach.

Olivarez owns Olivarez Honeybees in Orland, Calif. His bee losses of 10 percent and less can be attributed to how he produces queen honeybees and decisions made to hold back about 1,000 colonies from almond pollination and all 16,000 colonies from summer pollination.

Each summer he takes his bees to Montana to forage on alfalfa, clover and a "plethora of wildflowers."

Olivarez attributes his success in part to employees who carefully look after his bees and help with queen production in northern California and the Big Island of Hawaii.

Aside from producing honeybee queens, he also sells packaged bees and provides colonies for almond pollination in California each year.

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