Concern About Bees For Almond Orchards

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(Davis, CA)
Monday, February 13, 2006

Because a parasite killed off a significant number of bees, Central Valley almond growers had to go out-of-state this year to get enough of the insects to pollinate their orchards.

The growers are paying hefty pollination fees, as much as 150 dollars a colony or nearly double what they paid last year.

Experts say the toll taken by parasites might have left some colonies either weakened or with an inadequate number of bees.

Entomologist Eric Mussen of U-C Davis, advises growers to take a close look at the hives they're renting.

"You can learn a lot by simply asking the beekeeper to come out putting on a vail and going out and look down inside and see what's in there."

Analysts say growers are able to afford higher pollination fees because almonds have generated handsome profits.