OAKDALE (CBS13) — Honeybee researchers from around the country and Canada toured an Oakdale orchard on a mission to find solutions for bee colony collapse.
Agricultural interests have worried about the destruction of the key pollinating insects, with bees dying off in various parts of the country, including California.
The bees in one Oakdale orchard got a clean bill of health from notable bee experts.
Almond grower Mike Silevira attributes rows of mustard he planted in the orchard for keeping the bees healthy.
“It provides a food source, nectar to take back to their hive to feed their young, their brood,” he said.
The Honeybee Health Coalition, made up of horticulturalists, scientists and beekeepers from around the U.S. and Canada think planting more food in areas where the bees do their work may be the key to saving more of them.
“Honeybees will pollinate almonds but what do they eat? What pollen nectar do they get ? So having a nutritional benefit, other plantings help not only almonds but rest of California agriculture,” said Jerry Hayes with Monsanto.
The coalition is only a year old, but the collection of bee researchers believe a small external parasite is killing bees. Saving a small bug from an even smaller bug is difficult, but good nutrition may help.
“As wonderful as California sounds in February and March, lots of times there’s nothing blooming when these 1.8 million bee colonies come in to pollinate almonds. So this extra nutrition really boosts them up,” he said.
The Honeybee Health Coalition says in the upcoming months, farmers outside of California will need bees to begin pollination. The coalition says its goal is to educated farmers to plant more food sources for bees’ nutrition.