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Honeybees

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Almonds are a nearly $3 billion industry here in the San Joaquin Valley—but without honeybees to pollinate the trees, there would be no harvest. By some estimates, as much as 90 percent of the country’s bees are trucked to California for the almond bloom.

On this week’s Valley Edition: We look at how pesticides may be contributing to honey bee deaths, and what that means for the $3 billion dollar almond industry. We also look at how the bankruptcy filing from utility provider PG&E could derail the state’s renewable energy goals.

Later, we take some time to explore the arts and culture scene by visiting an art gallery in Bakersfield and talking to a Fresno writer with a new collection of poems.

Almond, bees
Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Beekeepers flock from all over the country to California every February and March for bloom. During this time of year over 80 percent of the nation’s commercial bees buzz around the central part of the state pollinating almond trees. But as FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports an advancement in almond breeding could decrease the need for these bumbling insects.

Billions of honeybees are gathering nectar and pollen from almond flowers around the state to feed their colony’s young.

 

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

The lack of rain and snow over the past four years has affected the agriculture industry statewide. That impact includes one of the smallest farmed creatures: the honeybee. FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports that with a lack of flowers to pollinate because of weather conditions bees are struggling and some beekeepers are even leaving the state.

As Gene Brandi and I approach a colony of honeybees near a field of blooming alfalfa east of Los Banos he uses the smoke from a canister of burning burlap to calm the bees, which in turn quiets my nerves.