California Almond Crop Threatened by Honey Bee Shortage Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) Suspect

Share Article

Apiculturist Eric Mussen of the University of California Davis Department of Entomology says that there might not be enough honey bees to pollinate California’s 800,000 acres of almonds this year. This is troubling news for the Mohawk Valley Trading Company and other beekeepers and honey producers.

Summer Wildflower Honey

Summer Wildflower Honey

Honeybees account for 80% of all insect pollination. Without them, there would be a dramatic decrease of fruits and vegetables worldwide. - Mary Ross, Mohawk Valley Trading Company

According to apiculturist Eric Mussen of the University Of California Davis Department Of Entomology, there might not be enough honey bees to pollinate California’s 800,000 acres of almonds this year.

“We need 1.6 million colonies, or two colonies per acre, and California has only about 500,000 colonies that can be used for that purpose,” Mr. Mussen said. “We need to bring in a million more colonies but due to the winter losses, we may not have enough bees.”

California supplies 80% of the world’s almonds and the National Agricultural Statistics Service predicts that this year’s crop will yield 2.10 billion meat pounds, with a value of approximately $3 billion USD.

“This is not just a crisis in California,” said Mary Ross of the Mohawk Valley Trading Company where they specialize in raw honey. “this is happening all over and everybody should be alarmed. Honeybees account for 80% of all insect pollination. Without them, there would be a dramatic decrease of fruits and vegetables worldwide.”

There are a myriad of reasons why the honey bee population is declining in North America and Europe and they all fall under the term Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) a phenomenon in which worker bees from a beehive or European honey bee colony abruptly disappear.

“Last year was not a good year for honey production in the United States,” said Mussen an apiculturist in the UC Davis Department of Entomology since 1976. “and it could be one of the worst honey production years in the history of nation, although it’s been pretty rough in some of the previous years. Usually when we’re short of nectar, we’re short on pollen, and honey bees need both. So, 2012 was a bad year for bee nutrition.”

“CCD is a very broad term.” Ross continued. “It could be caused by a combination of, but not limited to malnutrition, pesticide use, varroa mites or GMOs among other things. However, I think that the European Commission proposal to suspend the use of three neonicotinoid pesticides on any agricultural crops that attract bees, is a step in the right direction.”

The European Commission has proposed prohibiting the sale and use of clothianidin, thiamethoxam and imidacloprid on crops attractive to bees, including sunflower, rapeseed, corn and cotton. It would also ban sale and use of seeds treated with the three pesticides. Exceptions would include crops and seeds that do not attract bees and winter cereals. The Commission will review the ban in two years.

About Honey

Honey has been used by humans since ancient times for its health benefits and as a sweetener and flavoring for many foods and beverages with tea being the most popular. Honey bees make honey by collecting nectar from flowers and regurgitating it into beeswax honeycombs inside their hive. Beeswax is a natural wax produced in the hive of honey bees of the genus Apis and one it’s most popular uses is beeswax candles.

Another product made by honey bees and used by humans is bee propolis, which they use to seal gaps in the hive and by humans for its health benefits and as a traditional, natural or homeopathic medicine.

If you are planning to buy honey for its health-benefits, it must be raw honey. Heating honey (pasteurization) destroys the all of the pollen, enzymes, propolis, vitamins, amino acids, antioxidants, minerals, and aromatics. Honey that has been heated and filtered is called commercial, regular or liquid honey. The rawest honey available is comb honey which is sections of the hexagonal-shaped beeswax cells of the honeycomb that contain raw honey that have been cut from the wooden frames of a beehive.

Using raw honey is a long-term investment strategy for optimal health and personal care; the dividends are overall mental, physical and spiritual well being. Like a blue chip stock, raw honey should be included in any health conscious consumer’s immune system boosting portfolio and the return on investment of substituting honey for refined sugar in the human diet is incalculable.

Pure honey is kosher since kosher honey must be 100% honey with no additives or dilutions.

Organic honey from the United States is a myth because the country is too developed and uses too many agricultural and industrial chemicals to for the production of organic honey. Honey bees are free-roaming, wild creatures and it is impossible guarantee that while foraging they have not come in contact with prohibited substances, like pesticides.

When cooking or baking with honey, it is not necessary to use raw honey since the heat destroys many of the health benefiting compounds. Since the flavor and color of honey is determined by the type of flower the bees gather the nectar from, it is a good idea to taste the honey before using it in a recipe. For example; a dark honey like buckwheat honey will result in a strong, heavy, a pungent flavor, whereas orange blossom honey will result in a delicate orange flavor.

The Mohawk Valley Trading Company hours of operations are 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. EST, seven days a week. Reach them at (315)-519-2640 to learn more.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Visit website