Almonds, Water, and Bees

February is almond pollination month in California. A couple of nights ago, the CBC aired a story about almonds, water, and bees. They try to cover everyone involved – the consumer who loves the heart-friendly food, the almond grower who is trying to juggle water and trees and bills, the beekeeper who would rather not drag hives across the country but needs the money that pollination gives him, and finally, the bees themselves – they’d rather not be in a California almond grove in February.

I’ll  write more about this later – and the environmental impact this is causing – but for today, here’s How the High Demand for Almonds is Affecting California. It’s  quite an interesting story about almonds, water, and bees.

Clicking on the link will take you to the story at CBC’s news site. The 12-minute clip starts with a chicken crowing like a rooster and you’ll find the Canadian reporter’s accent endearing. The bees make their appearance about half way into the report. Don’t be discouraged. It’s a good video. Here are a few images:

CBC bees among the almonds

A staging yard in an almond grove. 2,000,000 colonies are paid for pollination. From here, they’ll be distributed at a rate of about 2 hives per acre.

CBC migrant bees

Colonies arrive every February from as far as Maine and Florida to pollinate California’s 800,000 hectares of almoonds.

CBC one almond

The heart of the CBC story is water. It takes 5 liters (about 1 gallon) of water to grow each almond. That’s right. One gallon, one almond.

CBC almond parade

Everyone knows the value of bees. These puppeteers are part of the annual Ripon, California, parade. Ripon? That’s the “Almond Capital of the World“.

CBC almonds and bees

Bees in an almond grove. Watch the CBC video.

About Ron Miksha

Ron Miksha is a bee ecologist working at the University of Calgary. He is also a geophysicist and does a bit of science writing and blogging. Ron has worked as a radio broadcaster, a beekeeper, and Earth scientist. (Ask him about seismic waves.) He's based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
This entry was posted in Bee Yards, Beekeeping, Commercial Beekeeping, Ecology, Honey Plants, Pollination and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Almonds, Water, and Bees

  1. Pingback: 2016 in Bee Review | Bad Beekeeping Blog

  2. Pingback: 2016 in Bee Review | How To Raise Bees

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