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Pollination

A successful bloom period is critical for determining a strong yield and healthy almond crop. Ensuring success requires many factors, none of which is more important than the honey bee.

Honey Bee Best Management Practices.

Almond growers and beekeepers are responsible for creating an environment that allows honey bees to do what almond trees need most — pollinate. All those responsible for pollination and pest management during bloom should establish a clear communication chain amongst each other, as each person in the chain plays an important role with specific responsibilities that include making sure that the right information is shared at the right time with the right person.

As part of an ongoing commitment to honey bee health, the Almond Board of California offers a comprehensive set of Honey Bee Best Management Practices (BMPs). Developed with input from the almond community, beekeepers, researchers, UC Davis, California and U.S. regulators, and chemical registrants, the Honey Bee BMPs represent the Almond Board’s most extensive educational documents to date to ensure that almond orchards remain a safe and healthy place for honey bees and all pollinators. This resource lays out simple, practical steps that almond growers, together with beekeepers, Pest Control Advisors and pesticide applicators, can take to protect and promote pollinator health in and around their orchards.

Tools & Resources
Looking for Beekeepers or Bee Brokers?

Our industry directory has a database of beekeepers and brokers to help you get your orchard pollinated.

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Honey Bee Best Management Practices
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Honey Bee Best Management Practices Quick Guide
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Honey Bee Best Management Practices Quick Guide for Applicators (in English & Spanish)

Protecting Honey Bees

Honey Bee Forage.

Research shows that planting or allowing natural forage to grow between the tree rows and/or around the outside of the orchard does not compete with almond blossoms. In fact, cover crops and hedgerows provide improved nutrition for honey bees, increasing colony strength, and other pollinators. Planting forage can also provide several benefits for soil health and quality. The Honey Bee Best Management Practices (above) includes information on the benefits of planting forage on pages 16-17. 

To further promote pollinator health, in June 2020 the Almond Board and Pollinator Partnership announced the alignment of ABC’s California Almond Sustainability Program (CASP) and Pollinator Partnership’s Bee Friendly Farming (BFF) program to promote the importance of providing pollinators with nutritional forage.

With the alignment of the CASP and BFF programs, almond growers who complete assessments in CASP specifically focused on bee health and pest management, and who meet certain BFF criteria, will qualify to register for the BFF program and become Bee Friendly certified. This certification will allow growers and their processors to use the Bee Friendly Farming logo on their product, and growers will be publicly recognized on Pollinator Partnership’s website as being a “Bee Friendly Farm” – in addition to receiving a BFF metal sign to display on their property.

The criteria to become Bee Friendly certified are detailed in this short video:


 

Become a Bee Friendly Farmer

To further support almond growers in planting pollinator habitat, the Almond Board has simultaneously launched its Bee+ Scholarship, through which it will provide free cover crop seed to 100 almond growers through Project Apis m.’s Seeds for Bees program. The scholarship will also cover the cost for growers to register for the BFF program.

 

Funding provided by ABC’s Bee+ Scholarship will allow growers to plant an estimated 3,500 acres of quality pollinator forage statewide – that’s in addition to the cover crop seed Project Apis m. typically distributes directly to almond growers through their Seeds for Bees program each year.1

Watch this recording of a recent Almond Board webinar to learn more about the Bee+ Scholarship and how you may apply:

Bee+ Webinar: ABC’s Bee+ Scholarship | CASP | Bee Friendly Farming | Seeds for Bees

1 Billy Synk. Director of Pollination Services. Project Apis m. Nov. 2019. Represents total plantings from 2013-present.

Honey Bee Forage Seed Providers:

  1. Project Apis m.

  2. Pollinator Partnership Ecoregional Planting Guides

  3. Xerces Society Seed Mixes
     

Bee Where Program.
 

Bringing beekeepers and pesticide applicators together to share best practices by tracking and safeguarding hive locations across California using innovative mapping tools.

Go to BeeWhere

 

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. Since 1995, the Almond Board of California has invested more money in research on the health of honey bees than any other U.S. commodity, including:

  • Improving honey bee nutrition

  • Effective management of bee pests and diseases

  • Improving honey bee breeding stock

  • Assessing impacts of pesticides used in almonds

  • Impact of crop protection products on bee health

The results of this research are being used to improve best management practices for both growers and beekeepers.

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.

Did you know?

For more Pollination resources, visit our Grower Tools page.