January/February 2024 - 14

POLLINATORS
How growers
can best support
honeybees during
pollination
BY ELINA L. NIÑO, PH.D.
CONTRIBUTING WRITER
W
hile pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts and
pistachios are wind-pollinated, and
macadamia nuts seem to benefit from
presence of pollinating bees1
, successful almond
production heavily relies on cross-pollination by
foraging honeybees. Almond bloom in California is
considered the largest pollination event that spans
approximately six weeks in February and March.
During this time California becomes home to
approximately 1.5 million honeybee colonies2
. Current
recommended stocking rate is two colonies per acre, at
the price per colony being about $200. However, these
numbers fluctuate from year to year depending on a
number of factors such as the needs of growers (e. g.,
old orchards pulled or new orchards becoming nut
bearing), the severity of colony losses due to a number
of biotic and abiotic factors or economics.
Stocking Rate
In an attempt to reduce dependence on bees for
successful pollination and associated cost of hive
rentals, plant breeders have developed self-fertile
almond varieties such as Independence, Shasta and
Pyrenees. However, recent research, including research
by myself and my collaborators, shows that trees indeed
benefit significantly from presence of honeybees, and in
some cases can increase the nut set by 60% resulting in
20% increase in nut meat yield3
.
Currently, we are completing the analysis of data
that will help answer the question of what is the
optimal stocking rate for self-fertile varieties. This will
allow growers to make the most economically viable
decision for their operation. Upcoming research will use
historical data and field experiments to update colony
stocking guidelines for conventional almond varieties.
If you would like to participate in this effort please
contact me at elnino@ucdavis.edu.
Caged almond tree during the
bee exclusion experiments.
Photos by Elina L. Niño.
Novel Technologies
Novel technologies are also garnering a lot of
attention and interest from both growers and
beekeepers. Technological advances have led to the
expansion of precision beekeeping and attempted
14 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2024

January/February 2024

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of January/February 2024

Editor's Letter
Precision pollination
Sustainable innovations
Pest Management
Data and novel technologies
A trusted name
Business
Company Spotlights
Industry Events
Ad Index
January/February 2024 - 1
January/February 2024 - 2
January/February 2024 - 3
January/February 2024 - Editor's Letter
January/February 2024 - 5
January/February 2024 - Precision pollination
January/February 2024 - 7
January/February 2024 - 8
January/February 2024 - 9
January/February 2024 - Sustainable innovations
January/February 2024 - 11
January/February 2024 - Pest Management
January/February 2024 - 13
January/February 2024 - Data and novel technologies
January/February 2024 - 15
January/February 2024 - 16
January/February 2024 - 17
January/February 2024 - A trusted name
January/February 2024 - 19
January/February 2024 - 20
January/February 2024 - 21
January/February 2024 - Business
January/February 2024 - 23
January/February 2024 - Company Spotlights
January/February 2024 - Industry Events
January/February 2024 - Ad Index
January/February 2024 - 27
January/February 2024 - 28
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