Traveling bees ready to bolster California’s almond crop

The California almond crop is likely to rebound this season after a difficult growing season in 2023, but, according to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s (USDA) Economic Research Service, millions of bees are ready to help producers increase their yields!

Mother nature has hit the almond industry hard in the past few years, with 2024 being no exception. As soon as the pink and white blossoms bloomed, rain and wind arrived as well. The Almond Board of California says the impact won’t be known until late spring or early summer.

In the meantime, though, millions of bees are ready for the almond pollination season. Thousands of colonies are brought to the Golden State each year. The USDA’s Economic Research Service says beekeepers often transport their commercial honey bee colonies more than a thousand miles apart, with 80% of their business being linked to California’s crop.

In 2022, bees supported a crop in California that was valued at more than $3.5 billion.

And the USDA developed an algae that can help protect honey bees from viruses.

Scientists at the Ag Research Service have developed an edible antiviral treatment that boosts bees’ immune system against Deformed Wing Virus, which is linked to the deaths of millions of colonies across the world. These colony losses continue to devastate beekeepers and pose a major risk to agriculture and the global food supply. Currently there is no treatment available to reduce viruses in colonies.

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