Book Reading and Signing Barnes and Noble Emeryville CA
Friday, July 26, 2013 - 19:00
In the almond-growing region of the Central Valley of California, one of the most intensively farmed regions in the United States, there are no natural pollinators remaining. This poses something of a challenge for almond growers. It is vital the flowers are pollinated. The difference between successful and patchy pollination can be measured in many millions of dollars. Growers pay a fortune for bee hives to be brought in for the six weeks or so in which pollination must occur. And they need a lot of them, over a million hives are trucked in from all over the USA. Beekeepers move their colonies into staging areas close to the orchards, and as the blossom breaks, the bees are moved amongst the trees in an operation mindful of a military manoeuvre.
The rapid increase in the area planted with almonds has led to an increase in demand for pollination services. In 2009 growers paid about US$190-215 per colony to rent bees during the pollination period. Thirty years before, they paid around $10-12. In the past wild bee colonies provided this service 'for free".
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