California weather has been perfect for almond set

Mar 5, 2013

The warm, dry late winter weather in California has been good news for almond farmers who were concerned about a bee shortage during bloom, reported Capital Press.

"It looks good right now," said Rich Buchner, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Tehama County. "The bees are out working like crazy. It's going to be warm and dry over the next 10 days, so it should be about perfect for almond set."

Almond growers are enjoying a vibrant blossom season even though California only had about 500,000 bee colonies available as of mid-February to pollinate this year's crop of 800,000 acres, according to Eric Mussen, UCCE specialist in the Department of Entomology at UC Davis. Typically, as many as 1.6 million are needed to provide two colonies per acre.

The favorable weather for bee activity comes with a catch, however. Precipitation totals are behind seasonal averages.

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By Jeannette E. Warnert
Author - Communications Specialist