Almond Board Launches Bee+ Scholarship to Promote Bee Friendly Farming

The Almond Board of California (ABC) and Pollinator Partnership are proud to announce the alignment of ABC’s California Almond Sustainability Program (CASP)[1] and Pollinator Partnership’s Bee Friendly Farming (BFF) program to promote the importance of providing pollinators with nutritional forage. To further support almond growers in planting pollinator habitat, the Almond Board is simultaneously launching 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.

The CASP and BFF program alignment and Bee+ Scholarship expand on a commitment made in the Pollinator Protection Plan, announced in January, to promote pollinator health and biodiversity by encouraging almond growers to provide habitat for pollinators in or near their orchards. 

“Protecting and improving honey bee health, not only during the short time that bees are in our orchards but year round, is critical to the success of every almond grower. By working with national organizations such as Pollinator Partnership and Project Apis m., we are expanding our focus to all pollinators, viewing working lands as part of biodiverse ecosystems,” said Almond Board Chief Scientific Officer Josette Lewis, Ph.D. “Responsible farming is at the heart of what the California almond community does. ABC’s Bee+ Scholarship and the alignment between CASP and BFF allow us to increase our support to growers as they remain committed to growing almonds in better, safer and healthier ways, adding biodiversity to their farms, and improving outcomes for pollinators.”

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.[2] Currently, over half of almond growers participating in ABC’s California Almond Sustainability Program report allowing native cover crops to grow in their orchards.[3] This scholarship will help to convert more of those native cover crops to quality pollinator forage.

Partnerships Work to Best Serve Pollinators, Almond Industry

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[4] are as follows:

  • provide cover crop forage in or near orchards
  • provide bloom of different flowering plants throughout the growing season
  • offer clean water for pollinators
  • provide habitat for nesting via hedgerows, natural brush and more
  • practice integrated pest management


“Pollinator Partnership’s Bee Friendly Farming program is a perfect conduit to increase pollinator benefits and to ensure protection and sustainability within the almond industry. Almond growers are terrific partners in best management practices, and we look forward to a close and growing relationship in support of pollinators and producers,” said Laurie Adams, president and CEO of Pollinator Partnership.

Because the CASP and BFF program alignment focuses on providing nutritional forage to supplement the diets of native pollinators in addition to honey bees, the decision to launch the Bee+ Scholarship and encourage greater forage planting among growers was a natural complement to the industry’s broader pollinator health initiatives.

“With a crop that relies primarily on honey bees for pollination, it is in almond growers’ best interest to ensure their orchards are a safe place for bees each spring,” said Billy Synk, director of Pollination Programs for Project Apis m.

Seeds for Bees aims to provide California farmers with a variety of seed mixes that bloom at critical times of the year when natural forage is scarce, but managed and native bees are active. While the mixes are designed to meet the nutritional needs of honey bees, they also provide habitat and nutrition for other pollinators and beneficial insects. Research supported by Project Apis m. and the Almond Board has shown that pollinator habitat is fully compatible with typical almond production practices and does not interfere with important growing activities like harvest.

“Working together with organizations like the Almond Board of California, Pollinator Partnership and many more, along with many researchers, almond growers and beekeepers, we can achieve far more collectively than we can separately,” said Project Apis m. Executive Director Danielle Downey. “These collaborations, focused on research and data, communication and forage, are a critical component to the long-term sustainability of beekeeping and almonds.”

Bee Friendly Farming Promoted By Almond Board

Almond Board Launches Bee+ Scholarship to Promote Bee Friendly Farming

  

 The Almond Board of California (ABC) and Pollinator Partnership are proud to announce the alignment of ABC’s California Almond Sustainability Program (CASP)[1] and Pollinator Partnership’s Bee Friendly Farming (BFF) program to promote the importance of providing pollinators with nutritional forage. To further support almond growers in planting pollinator habitat, the Almond Board is simultaneously launching 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.

The CASP and BFF program alignment and Bee+ Scholarship expand on a commitment made in the Pollinator Protection Plan, announced in January, to promote pollinator health and biodiversity by encouraging almond growers to provide habitat for pollinators in or near their orchards.

“Protecting and improving honey bee health, not only during the short time that bees are in our orchards but year round, is critical to the success of every almond grower. By working with national organizations such as Pollinator Partnership and Project Apis m., we are expanding our focus to all pollinators, viewing working lands as part of biodiverse ecosystems,” said Almond Board Chief Scientific Officer Josette Lewis, Ph.D.

“Responsible farming is at the heart of what the California almond community does. ABC’s Bee+ Scholarship and the alignment between CASP and BFF allow us to increase our support to growers as they remain committed to growing almonds in better, safer and healthier ways, adding biodiversity to their farms, and improving outcomes for pollinators.”

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.[2] Currently, over half of almond growers participating in ABC’s California Almond Sustainability Program report allowing native cover crops to grow in their orchards.[3] This scholarship will help to convert more of those native cover crops to quality pollinator forage.

Partnerships Work to Best Serve Pollinators, Almond Industry

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[4] are as follows:

  • provide cover crop forage in or near orchards
  • provide bloom of different flowering plants throughout the growing season
  • offer clean water for pollinators
  • provide habitat for nesting via hedgerows, natural brush and more
  • practice integrated pest management

“Pollinator Partnership’s Bee Friendly Farming program is a perfect conduit to increase pollinator benefits and to ensure protection and sustainability within the almond industry. Almond growers are terrific partners in best management practices, and we look forward to a close and growing relationship in support of pollinators and producers,” said Laurie Adams, president and CEO of Pollinator Partnership.

Because the CASP and BFF program alignment focuses on providing nutritional forage to supplement the diets of native pollinators in addition to honey bees, the decision to launch the Bee+ Scholarship and encourage greater forage planting among growers was a natural complement to the industry’s broader pollinator health initiatives.

“With a crop that relies primarily on honey bees for pollination, it is in almond growers’ best interest to ensure their orchards are a safe place for bees each spring,” said Billy Synk, director of Pollination Programs for Project Apis m.

Seeds for Bees aims to provide California farmers with a variety of seed mixes that bloom at critical times of the year when natural forage is scarce, but managed and native bees are active. While the mixes are designed to meet the nutritional needs of honey bees, they also provide habitat and nutrition for other pollinators and beneficial insects. Research supported by Project Apis m. and the Almond Board has shown that pollinator habitat is fully compatible with typical almond production practices and does not interfere with important growing activities like harvest.

“Working together with organizations like the Almond Board of California, Pollinator Partnership and many more, along with many researchers, almond growers and beekeepers, we can achieve far more collectively than we can separately,” said Project Apis m. Executive Director Danielle Downey. “These collaborations, focused on research and data, communication and forage, are a critical component to the long-term sustainability of beekeeping and almonds.”

Almond Pollination is Going Strong Throughout California

Keeping Bees Safe and Healthy During Almond Pollination

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

It’s always good to think about those working bees in almond orchards, said Becky Langer the project manager for the North American Bayer CropScience Bee Health Program.

“Bees continue to face multiple challenges and that’s not necessarily new information. I think what we see though as people are getting a better grasp of awareness that pest and diseases continue to be a huge problem in those beehives,” said Langer. “Beekeepers are working very hard to monitor and control those.”

“We know forage and habitat continue to be a huge challenge. We have climate change, which can affect those wild flowers blooming in California during the drought years and then we know that the beekeepers and growers have to continue to communicate with one another, and use all those products according to label.,” she said.

And for almond growers, it’s a good idea if you can the plant a variety of different forages around the orchard, different species of flowers for instance. “That can be a great idea because we know those bees have to eat, and if we can have something blooming year round, it’s the best way to keep the pollinators healthy,” said Langer

 

“They also like diversity in different plant species, different colors, different size flowers. You want them to pollinate your crop, but if you’re offering some alternative resources in the area that keeps them better fed and happier pollinators, which will make better pollinators for the crops,” Langer said.

Langer reminds growers to read those product labels. “This again is going to help to provide a much healthier environment for the pollinators and it’s going to keep the grower in the good graces of the beekeepers too,” she noted

UC Davis Offering Beginner Beekeeping Classes

Do You Want to Become a Beekeeper or Learn More About Beekeeping?

News Release

The California Master Beekeeper Program (CAMBP), directed by Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, is hosting two short beekeeping classes in early August: one on “Planning Ahead for Your First Hives” and the other, “Working Your Colonies.”

Each will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road, west of the central campus. The deadline to register is Thursday, Aug. 1.

“These courses are foundational to beekeeping husband excellence,” said Wendy Mather, program manager. “They are great for folks who are thinking about getting bees next season, as well as those who currently have bees and want to ensure they’re doing whatever they can to ensure the success of their hives.”

The classes are not required to become a California Master Beekeeper, but are highly recommended, as “they will help folks prepare to become a science-based beekeeping ambassador,” Mather said. Instructors are Elina Niño and CAMPB educational supervisor Bernardo Niño, a staff research assistant in the Niño lab.

Planning Ahead for Your First Hives
“Planning Ahead for Your First Hives” will take place Saturday, Aug. 3, and will include both lectures and hands-on activities. Participants will learn what’s necessary to get the colony started and keep it healthy and thriving. They will learn about bee biology, beekeeping equipment, how to install honey bee packages, how to monitor their colonies (that includes inspecting and monitoring for varroa mites) and other challenges with maintaining a healthy colony.

The course is limited to 25 participants. The $105 registration fee covers the cost of course materials (including a hive tool), lunch, and refreshments. Participants can bring their bee suit or veil if they have one, or protective gear can be provided. For more information or to register, see https://registration.ucdavis.edu/Item/Details/572.

 Working Your Colonies
“Working Your Colonies” will take place Sunday, Aug. 4, and will include both lectures and hands-on activities. Participants will learn what is necessary to maintain a healthy colony. Lectures will cover advanced honey bee biology, honey bee integrated pest management, and products of the hive. Participants also will learn about queen wrangling, honey extraction, splitting/combined colonies, and monitoring for varroa mites.

The course is limited to 25 participants per session. The $175 registration fee covers the cost of course materials, lunch, and refreshments. For more information or to register, see https://registration.ucdavis.edu/Item/Details/559.

Participants can bring their bee suit or veil if they have one, or protective gear can be provided. All participants are to wear closed-toed and closed-heel shoes, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt.

The California Master Beekeeping Program uses science-based information to educate stewards and ambassadors for honey bees and beekeeping. For more information, contact Mather at wmather@ucdavis.edu.

More Effort in Bee Protection

The Current Bee Buzz with CAPCA CEO Ruthann Anderson

By Mikenzi Meyers, Associate Editor

With spring right around the corner, it is crucial that farmers and beekeepers are working together to ensure bee protection. Ruthann Anderson, CEO for the California Association of Pest Control Advisers (CAPCA) is adamant about the communication between the two.

Anderson has been in correspondence with Ag Commissioners to create a reliable system in response to the AB-2468 law signed last year.

“The registry will come through a few different portals, but it will all go into CalAg Permits, into their sensitive site layer,” Anderson said.

She further explained that through this layer, the applicator can access beekeepers within a mile and request information.

CAPCA CONFERENCE 2016 audience
Ruthann Anderson, CAPCA CEO

“That communication in the field is so important for us, especially during almond bloom, but even beyond that, it is just education of beekeepers. Helping them understand what the rules and regulations are and how they are set up to provide them the privacy they are requesting,” Anderson said.

Bee Where Program Will Help Keep Bees Safe in The Spring

Beekeepers Must Register Their Bee Hive Locations

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

There’s a mandate set in place by the state of California to help the bee industry safe from pesticide spraying. Ethan Rasmussen with Rasmussen Farms and a beekeeper in the Gustine area of Merced County discussed it with California Ag Today recently. The Bee Where program mandates beekeepers to register their hives under AB2468. It was set up to help pollinating bees during the pollination season. It especially helps the almond crop during bloom.registration of hives

“It’s definitely a step forward for beekeeping industry because we have so many beekeepers coming to California,” Rasmussen said. “The almond industry is growing. It’s going to keep on growing. And that means there’s going to be an increased amount of beekeepers in the state during the springtime for almond bloom.”

With increased bees in almond orchards, it definitely increases concerns, specifically with theft and with sprays, and this program looks like it should help with that.

However, Rasmussen fears too much paperwork because there are so many different locations where there will be bees and so many different beekeepers.

“It’s going to be a lot of work, but if we can coordinate and everyone does their part it should definitely a step in the right direction.

And while all of the registrations are done online, Rasmussen noted that there still a complicated amount of paperwork to keep up with all those locations where you will have those bees.

“We’re going to have over 150 locations during almond bloom, and each one of those has to be registered with the county or whatever agency is going to handle it, and that’s a really busy time of year for us. So that’s the only concern I see,” he said.

Rasmussen said that compared to five years ago, almond growers are way more aware of protecting bees, thanks to beekeeping organizations and the Almond Board of California. There have been a lot of resources given to growers, and they are doing well.

“We are not so much concern with almond growers; it may be the peach grower down the road that could be spraying when our bees are foraging,” he said. “The new law is going to keep us registered, so anyone that’s going to spray is going to go through their PCA, and they will know where the bees are. That way, they will know whether or not to spray.”

UC Davis Student Maureen Page Speaks for the Bees

Maureen Page to Spread Flowers for Bees

By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor

Maureen Page pollination
Maureen Page

California Ag Today recently spoke with doctoral student Maureen Page of the Neal William’s lab at UC Davis, Department of Entomology and Nematology. She is the recipient of a prestigious three-year fellowship for promoting food security by optimizing wildflower planting. She supports the wild and bee management. We asked her about the flowers that she plans on planting to help those bees.

“I do believe that in general, flowers are really important for bees. Planting flowers are generally good for them,” she said.

Although planting is good for the bees, there are some precautions that need to be made.

“Some flowers can be somewhat toxic to bees. Some do not actually provide bees with pollen and nectar resources,” Page said.

There are many ornamental plants that are bred to not have much pollen so that people do not sneeze as much.

“On top of that, if you are planting non-native species that are really weedy, it may be great for the bees, but might not be great for other plant species,” Page said.

UC Davis Pollination Ecologist Wins 3-Year Fellowship

Fellowship Comes From the Department of Defense

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

Maureen Page Awarded Fellowship to Optimize Wildflower Plantings

Doctoral student Maureen Page of the Neal Williams lab at the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology is the recipient of a prestigious three-year fellowship, a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship for her research proposal: Promoting Food Security by Optimizing Wildflower Plantings to Support Wild and Managed Bees.

Page, a pollination ecologists, was one of 69 awardees selected from more than 3,600 applicants. The Department of Defense funds her fellowship.

“Most people probably are aware that both managed honeybees and many of the wild native species that we have in California as well as in the U.S. have major stressors that are contributing to declines in their populations,” Page said.

And of course, the bee populations suffer when there’s a lack of floral resources to pollinate. “Especially when crops are not in bloom and bees need pollen and nectar to survive. And so without enough resources, it can have dramatic declines in bee populations,” she said.

Page explained that bees are critically important to our food supply. “It’s estimated that about a third of the food supply directly benefits from insect pollination. Many of those crops are entirely dependent on insect pollination,” she said. “Without bees and other insects, those particular crops wouldn’t even be able to set fruit and many others, which while not wholly dependent on insect pollination benefit very much from insect pollination, which means more production and lower prices so that more people can afford healthy, nutritious food.”

Happy, Healthy Bees are Better Pollinators

Keeping Bees Happy

By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor

Becky Langer is the project manager for the North American Bayer Bee Care Program. She spoke with California Ag Today recently about the problems that the bee population is facing.

“Bees are continuing to face multiple challenges. People are getting a better grasp of awareness that pests and diseases continue to be a huge problem in beehives,” Langer said.

A big contender in the problem is forage and habitat. Beekeepers are working hard to monitor and control the issue.

“We know that the beekeepers and growers have to continue to communicate with one another and use all those products according to label,” Langer explained.

It is also important for producers to increase the variety or forages around their land to keep bee populations healthy.

If farmers could have something blooming year-round, it would help keep the pollinators healthy.

“They also like diversity in different plant species, different colors, different sizes, flowers,” Langer said. “If the bees are happy and healthy, they will be better pollinators for the crops. You can help keep bees healthy by following the label directions carefully on your sprays and fertilizers.”

For more information on the Bayer Bee Health program

 

Registration of Hives for Notification

Beekeepers Should Register the Position of their Hives

By Laurie Greene, Founding Editor

Tim Pelican, Agricultural Commissioner for San Joaquin County, recently explained to California Ag Today the critical importance for beekeepers to register the location of their delivered hives to farm operators, so the beekeepers can be notified when farmers are preparing to spray.

Pelican suggests farmers not spray during the day when bees are active, even if the product label does not suggest this restraint. He also reported that state agricultural commissioners are working on “our concern about the lack of notification by beekeepers to farmers about the exact location of their delivered beehives when we have instances of reported bee kills.”

“Beekeepers are supposed to register with the county,” Pelican explained, “when they move beehives into the counties. It is like a $5 fee, but for some reason people just do not do it. Beekeepers tend to be secretive sometimes, but we do keep all of that information strictly to ourselves. That’s not something we issue to the public.”

Pelican also mentioned that Ag commissioners will attempt to encourage farmers to notify schools about nearby spraying.

“We are actually notifying growers who are impacted. When they come in and do their pickup, their permits, we will have computers available to them to help them get their notification done. Their PCAs or dealers, if they are listed on their permit, can do the notification for them as well.”

“That notification then goes directly to the affected school,” he continued. “Then that school also can take a look and see which growers are applying what products. That information, however, is available only to the people who can get into the computer program—school officials, the grower, or the Ag commissioner. This is not information that is out there for the general public. The program has the ability to transfer the chemicals listed on the permit over to the notification. That way we are avoiding duplication of effort.”