- Some U.S. beekeepers are questioning whether to continue coming to California and risk damage to hives, or stay home and make honey that sells for more than $2 per pound.
Walt Bentley, emeritus entomologist with the University of California.
Gene Brandi with the American Beekeeping Federation talked of the need for most of the nation’s bee colonies – some 1.6 million colonies – to pollinate the almonds in California.
And he warned that there are some beekeepers, notably in the Southern United States who are questioning whether to continue to come to California and risk damage to hives or stay home and make honey that sells for more than $2 per pound.
Brandi and others are concerned that toxicity to bees is not often noted on labels for products that include fungicides and growth regulators.
As for the drought, Brandi said, “this year was tough. There were a lot of places with no water. Bees need some source of clean, uncontaminated water.”
He said 32 beekeepers gathered in Los Banos last month and reported 70,000 colonies negatively affected this year.
Brandi recommends that any spraying during bloom should be done at night, preferably ending by midnight.
The meeting closed with a presentation by Matthew Danielczyk, restoration project manager with Audubon California, on programs to create hedgerows in orchards that can benefit wildlife, provide food for honeybees, combat erosion and mitigate drift.