Honey Bee Best Management Practices
Honey bees are essential for a successful almond crop.The single most important factor determining a good yield is pollination during the bloom period, and honey bees are the most successful pollinators of almonds blossoms. Colonies of honey bees are placed in California Almond orchards at the beginning of the bloom period to ensure pollination. 
 

A working partnership between growers and beekeepers is the basis for a successful pollination. Growers need to avoid any activities that put the health and safety of bees in their orchards at risk, and beekeepers are responsible for delivering and maintaining the requisite number and quality of hives.

Best Management Practices

As part of an ongoing commitment to honey bee health, Almond Board of California developed a comprehensive set of Honey Bee Best Management Practices (BMPs) for California’s almond industry. Developed with a wide array of input from sources including the almond community, beekeepers, researchers, California and U.S. regulators, and chemical registrants, “Honey Bee Best Management Practices for California Almonds” represents the Almond Board’s most extensive educational documents to date to ensure that almond orchards are and remain a safe and healthy place for honey bees. The documents lay out simple, practical steps that almond growers can take together with beekeepers and other pollination stakeholders to protect and promote bee health on their land and in the surrounding community.

 

Results from ongoing research are reported in the Almond Board’s e-newsletter, “California Almonds Outlook.” For the most recent information on almond pollination issues, search for “Pollination.”

Honey Bee Forage

Studies show that planting forage provides honey bees with better nutrition, and healthy honey bees mean better pollination. Although planting forage may not be the best fit for all growers, it can provide a number of benefits where orchard conditions are favorable. See “Forage Your Way to Better Honey Bee Health” for the benefits of planting forage.

Below is a list of honey bee forage seed providers: 


Sourcing Honey Bees for Pollination

The Almond Board of California provides an Almond Pollination Directory — a searchable database of beekeepers that almond growers can use to source pollinators.

Additional Resources:

 

Honey Bee Health

Supporting Honey Bee Health

Almonds rely on honey bees for pollination, and the California Almond community recognizes the essential role bees play in sustaining the global food supply. Almond Board of California has invested more money in research into issues that affect the health of honey bees than any other U.S. commodity. The results of this research are being used to improve best management practices for both growers and beekeepers.

The Almond Board has invested in honey bee health research since 1995; in more recent years, the primary focus of this research has been healthy hives, which includes:

  • Improving honey bee nutrition;
  • Effective management of bee pests and diseases;
  • Improving honey bee breeding stock; and
  • Assessing impacts of pesticides used in almonds

The Almond Board, in collaboration with Project Apis m., USDA, the University of California, beekeeper organizations and other groups, has supported and continues to support research to develop best management practices in these areas for growers and beekeepers alike. A key goal is to ensure almond orchards continue to be a good, safe place for honey bees to forage — a place that keeps them healthy and where hives increase in size.

Partners in Honey Bee Health: