Not Enough Bees for Almond Growers

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, February 4, 2005
Because of a number of factors, including losses to mites, beekeepers and almond growers were anticipating a shortage of bees this year. Growers were hoping that out-of-state suppliers would provide enough bees, given that the rental price has risen to over one hundred dollars per hive, more than double last year’s fee. But Gene Brandi, the Legislative Chairman of the California State Beekeepers Association, says there just aren’t enough bees available at any price. BRANDI :11—I know that from the number of growers that are still calling me, there are some growers that are not going to be able to find the number of bees they would like, and some growers may not be able to find any bees this year. Brandi says the rising pollination fees have spawned a wave of thefts in the Valley. He says there were five reported heists, even before deliveries began to the orchards. In two of the cases the thieves cut through chains to get to the bees. Almond growers say they’ll just have to use fewer bees than recommended for pollination and hope for the best. Bob Hensley KXJZ News.