Almond pollination usually relies on wild bees and other species to pollinate and breed. New studies show that honeybees are playing a larger role in the pollination process and have more of an effect on almond pollination when other bees are present. California’s total acreage for almond orchards now reaches 800,000, and each acre requires two beehives for pollination.
Recently, new honeybee health problems have affected the pollination process and new concern is rising as a result. Researchers have found the lack of honeybees can greatly affect the orchards. ““In orchards with non-Apis (non-honey bees), the foraging behavior of honey bees changed and the pollination effectiveness of a single honey bee visit was greater than in orchards where non-Apis bees were absent,” the researchers wrote in their abstract.”
When blue orchard bees and other wild honey bees forage together in almonds, honey bees will slightly change their behavior to create a more effective crop pollination. The problem lies in the rising production in Almond and purchases of almond fields and the lack of bees. California grows about 80% of the world’s almond supply, and 100% of the supply in the United States.
The value of the land and the amount of land exchanging hands continues to grow. Without the proper amount of pollination and bees to facilitate it, the fields, acres and orchards will lose value. That’s how important bees actually are. The ones make it to Northern California in their hibernation will begin pollinating the almond crop in a few short weeks, around mid-February.