Honeybees sent to pollinate blooming almond orchards in Kern County and elsewhere in California took longer than usual to emerge from their hives due to chilly temperatures, wind and rain.
The challenge is one of many faced by America’s beekeepers following the unusually wet winter that ravaged California’s farm country, which feeds much of the nation. Most commercial beekeepers send their bees to California early in the year to help pollinate its $5 billion-a-year almond crop, then move them elsewhere to pollinate commodities ranging from avocados to cherries or to the Midwest to produce honey.
Almond trees depend on bees for cross-pollination, and bees in turn feed on almond pollen, which helps sustain the hives throughout the bloom. While many people keep bees as a hobby, commercial beekeepers may have hundreds of hives and relocate their bees to pollinate various crops in distinct seasons. AP BC