Almonds are a snack that we can stand behind. They are healthy and tasty, and the almonds of California are produced with the help of one of our favorite creatures – bees!
The blossoms of almonds in California in San Joaquin Valley require cross-pollination with other blossoms in order to produce a crop. Cross-pollination is defined as “the transfer of pollen from the flower of one plant to the flower of a plant having a different genetic constitution.” California produces about 50 to 80 percent of the world’s almonds and bees play a crucial role.
To help with the process of cross-pollination, 1.6 million colonies of honey bees are brought to California almond orchards when the plants start to bloom to pollinate them. Beekeepers in California do not have enough bees to do this so honey bees are transported across the country to get the job done. The process is the largest controlled pollination in the world. Beekeepers from all over bring in their honeybee hives to pollinate the almond crops.
Many people think that colonies of bees rise up and fly to California to cross-pollinate which is not accurate. Beekeepers put the bees and their homes on flatbed trucks and drive them to California. They are transported in order to save their wings. The most common way for honeybees to die is for their wings to fall off from overuse. Many honeybees also will die of starvation because they are away from their colony. Transporting them prevents this from happening.
Almonds are a super healthy snack. They are high in good fats and have no cholesterol. They are high in nutrients, protein, and fiber. At only 160 calories per ounce, they are also a great snack for weight-loss plans.
The pollen from the almonds also serves as a nutritious food source for the bees. Almonds benefit from the bees and the bees benefit from the almonds, making the trip well worth it. Honeybees pollinate a large majority of our food supply and play a vital role in successful crops worldwide.
The Almond Board of California has worked for decades to protect honey bees. They have developed the “Honey Bee Best Management Practices” as a guideline on how to properly care for your honeybees that play such a vital role in our lives.