The honey bee supply is being affected by a wide range of factors, including colony collapse disorder and related stressors such as Varroa mites, lack of pollen and nectar food sources, pesticides and pathogens.
Bees go from famine to feast to famine as limited natural food and forage before and after almond bloom puts stress on bees.
Almond growers can contribute to a better bee supply by providing forage in or near their orchards before and/or after almond bloom.
These vetch and clover blooms provide an added food
source for pollinating honey bees in
almond orchards. Photo
by Meg Ribotto, Project Apis m.
The Almond Board and Project Apis m. (PAm) are doing research and working on solutions
to the core problems of the honey bee health issue, including the changing landscape for honey bee forage. PAm has identified bee forage seed mixtures that provide an excellent supplemental source of nectar and pollen for honey bees in almond orchards.
In addition to providing an alternative food source, planting bee forage cover crops in orchard middles or perimeters provides additional benefits in the form of increased soil fertility, better water infiltration, weed suppression and reduced soil erosion.
Hear from Meg Ribotto, Project Apis m., as she discusses
resources for growers planting bee forage.
Growers should plant bee pastures in September ahead of fall rains for best germination. To protect bees that will be attracted to the forage, growers should consider their almond pesticide practices before deciding where to plant the forage crop. PAm provides the seed and guidance to growers who are willing to enroll land in the bee forage program. To enroll in the pollinator forage project, email PAm