To BEE or Not To BEE


The temperatures in Death Valley have reached over 100 degrees this week, so the 80 degree days in Bako are welcoming. Spring has sprung!                                                                                     Our almond trees are in full bloom this weekend.

almond trees in bloomIt’s time to turn loose the bees on the almond orchards and let them pollinate and make honey, and money.

Bee-keepers have been losing around 33% of their hives since 2006. There are no solid scientific answers why this is happening. Pesticides? Maybe… Virus? Maybe…

honeybee

The problem is called CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder) and if it continues for another two or three years, we’re in big trouble. There will be lower production of 1/3 of everything we put in our pie-hole. That means much higher cost for one out of every three bites we consume.

Kern Country is the heart of Almond and Pistachio country.  California grows 98% of the nation’s Pistachios and 99% of the nation’s Almonds. We also grow 90% of the Walnut crop, too. We need bees for our trees and they are getting expensive.

We have 750,000 acres of almond trees. We need 1.5 million colonies of bees to pollinate them. There are a total of 2 million colonies in the U.S.A. Thirty years ago there were over 5 million. Twenty years ago an almond farmer paid $50 per colony. The price now is anywhere from $140 to $200 per colony.

honey bee polination

The cost to produce almonds in now at $4000 per acre. Last year those almond trees produced 2 billion pounds of nutmeats. If you’re a trivia nut, that means that each bee colony produced 1333 pounds and they sold for $2 per pound. Each bee colony brought in $2666.00. There are around 14,000 bees in one eight-frame colony. Each bee was busy pollinating about 19 cents worth of almonds, and if we figure the average cost of renting each colony was $150, then every individual bee rented out for ONE CENT per month.

Here’s a cool video of the bee-keepers setting up their hives about a week ago, just as the almonds started to bloom.  Today the bees are out doing their job to bring us yummy almonds.                     If your mommy never told you about the birds (and especially the BEES) Check out this 3-minute video. http://youtu.be/CiIq8C3Q0Vo  

Almonds

Almonds (Photo credit: Shelby PDX)

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About bakoheat

Writer/Musician
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2 Responses to To BEE or Not To BEE

  1. Joan Raymond says:

    Great post. Really facinating information. Thanks for reminding us how important bees and beekeepers are to the valley growers and the consumers.

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