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Monday, February 17, 2014

Almond Bloom and Bees!

Last week the bees arrived!  The bees come into the orchard when the blooms are starting to push open. We want the bees to be in place and acclimated by the time the orchard is in full bloom so they can start getting busy and spread pollen.
This orchard is about 75% full bloom, perfect for the bees to get to work!
Bees are an essential tool to pollination of the almond blooms. Almonds are self incompatible meaning they require cross pollination between varieties. For this reason each almond orchard has at least two different varieties of almonds to ensure pollination. Almonds are dependent on bees to take pollen from one variety to another. You will commonly see orchards in which every other row is a different variety or some times there is also three varieties in an orchard. The varieties are picked by the almond farmer based on pollination compatibility and yield.


Farmers generally use two bee hives per acre. The hives are generally set on the ends of the orchard rows so the beekeeper will be able to check on his hives throughout the pollination process. At a cost from $150-$200 an acre, they are a costly but necessary expense. Bees are subject to disease and colony collapse, making the bees more and more scarce. But without the bee, the almond tree wouldn't be pollinated.

Until Next Time,
Almond Girl

2 comments:

  1. I love seeing the almond trees in bloom. I have a friend that grows almonds in California and I look forward to her pictures every year. Thanks for sharing about the bees and how you have to pay someone to bring them to you. Most people just don't know about all the little things (and big things) we have to do to get food to their tables.

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