To produce almonds, flowers must receive pollen from a tree of a different almond variety. This accomplished with bee pollination. For commercial practices, honey bees are rented to provide this service to >800,000 almond acres that bloom for only a few weeks early each spring in California. Another bee, the blue orchard bee, is also being developed as an almond pollinator. This presentation will portray the grand scope of California almond production, some of the management inputs, the pollination strategies, and some of the challenges faced by the industry. The link to the recorded webinar can be found at the top right-hand corner of this page.
Theresa Pitts-Singer is a Research Entomologist. Pitts-Singer is part of the Integrated Crop Pollination Project leading efforts related to the use of non-Apis bees for crop pollination. Her research team focuses on improving commercial-scale use and management of blue orchard bees (Osmia lignaria) and alfalfa leafcutting bees (Megachile rotundata), pollinators of fruit and nut trees and of alfalfa, respectively. Working with private industry, Pitts-Singer patented a Bee Attractant to enhance blue orchard bee retention at artificial nest sites. With California Almond Board funding, Pitts-Singer organized blue orchard bee workshops and was instrumental in creating the Orchard Bee Association.