CULTIVATING SUSTAINABILITY Recommendations for Bees Pollinating Almonds With almond bloom around the corner it’s important to remember how regular orchard management tasks can affect honey bees. The following are some Best Management Practices that should be considered for bees pollinating almonds. The honey bee is a small creature, and attention to the small details regarding their health and safety have a significant impact on their ability to pollinate effectively. Communication Growers should communicate with all parties that are involved with pollination. Proper communication will certainly include the beekeeper who is providing the colonies but might also include a bee broker, pest control adviser (PCA) and certified pesticide applicator (CPA). California county agricultural commissioners also play a vital role in the communication chain between growers and beekeeper. All colonies are required to be registered with each county agricultural commissioner upon arrival in that county. The best way to register colonies is by using the Bee Where program. This web-based program offers beekeepers a dynamic, real-time geographic information system (GIS) where they can mark colonies with a pin drop in the orchard via a mobile app. Bee Where is useful to growers because their notice of intent (NOI) for material applications allows each county agricultural commissioner to notify each beekeeper in the area which allows them the opportunity to move their colonies. Proper communication helps both grower and beekeeper achieve successful pollination while reducing risk to honey bee colonies and the almonds they pollinate. Starting before bloom, growers and beekeepers should agree upon average frame count per colony, date and location of placement and removal, inspection protocol, and payment terms. A contract is a good way to get the discussion going. A pollination contract template can be found at the Project Apis m. website at www.ProjectApism.org . Pesticide Applications Caution should be taken when applying crop protection products when bees are present. Always read labels and follow directions. Do not use pesticides with cautions on the label that read “highly toxic to bees,” “toxic to bees,” “residual times” or “extended residual toxicity.” Avoid applying any insecticide during bloom. If a fungicide application is necessary, spray in the evening or at night when bees and pollen are not present. Adjuvants should not be used with fungicides unless stated on the label. 1 Water Bees require access to water in order to regulate hive temperatures in the heat. Standing water on orchard floors may be contaminated with pesticides which are harmful to bees. Bees accessing other water sources like neighboring pools/fountains may create a nuisance. Providing water is an important and easy step to safely and effectively manage bees pollinating almonds and 1 6 A L M O N D F A C T S