FRESNO, California (KSEE) – The world’s biggest pollination event is taking place right now here in the Central Valley. Every blossom on an almond tree has the potential to grow into an almond — but only if it is pollinated.
To have a successful crop, bees are critical. Del Bosque Farms in Firebaugh is pollinating with 1,500 beehives.
“We want to pollinate every last blossom we can,” says farmer Joe Del Bosque.
Any blossoms that don’t end up pollinated don’t produce almonds, which is why some farmers are renting bees. Two out of every three bees currently pollinating California crops are from out-of-state.
To ensure success, Del Bosque works closely with beekeeper Melanie Cardoso of Royal Apiaries in Hilman.
“I have beekeepers help me from Florida, from North Dakota, some local beekeepers.” says Cardoso. “Because for the almonds they just come from everywhere. We need them. In California, we just don’t have enough.”
Del Bosque says much care is needed.
“You don’t just take care of the bees for a month while pollinating. You have to take care of them all year. It’s kind of like running a dairy. The cows have to be fed. They have to be cared for all year long. That’s something most farmers don’t want to do. They have plenty of work to do just taking care of their crops.”
“All year is the busiest time of year for a beekeeper,” says Cardoso. “We really don’t have a downtime. Maybe a little bit in the winter. We’re pretty much always busy.”