Cascadian Farm and the Almond Board of California have both launched initiatives to help reverse declining bee populations.
Cascadian Farm, in partnership with The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation and the University of Minnesota Bee Lab, announced its “Bee Friendlier” program to increase awareness of bee loss issues and encourage actions to help bees thrive.
The Bee Friendlier program encourages individuals to plant wildflowers, visit Bee-Friendlier.com to watch and share an informational video, create a “SelfBee” to upload and share via social channels, buy organic products, and look for donation codes on select Cascadian Farm products which will help drive donations from Cascadian Farm to consumers’ bee-friendlier cause of choice.
Almond growers are also concerned about bee health, as almond growth depends on honey bees.
With that in mind, the Almond Board of California released a comprehensive set of honey bee best management practices for California’s almond industry. The practices were developed with input from sources including the almond community, beekeepers, researchers, California regulators, US regulators and chemical registrants.
The recommendations include information on:
- Preparing for honey bee arrival
- Assessing hive strength and quality
- Providing clean water for bees to drink
- Using integrated pest management strategies to minimize agricultural sprays
- Removing honey bees from the orchard
- Addressing suspected pesticide-related honey bee losses
While experts have attributed honey bee health decline to a variety of factors including pests, decreasing sources of natural pollen, and lack of genetic diversity, the best management practices focus significantly on pesticide application practices and considerations during almond bloom.
A study published earlier this year in the Journal Environmental Science and Pollution Research indicated that neonicotinoid pesticides are a key factor in honeybee decline.
In July, Home Depot announced it planned to ban or limit the use of neonicotinoid pesticides and would require its suppliers to label any plants treated with the substance.
Photo Credit: Honeybees via Shutterstock