Almond Board of California Response to The Guardian’s January 8, 2020 Article
We are disappointed in The Guardian’s portrayal of the California almond industry’s impact on honey bee health as well as subsequent misleading articles.
As an industry we are committed to protecting and improving honey bee health. Not only are they vital to the global food supply, honey bees play an essential role in almond pollination so ensuring their success is essential to ours. Bee health is a complex topic and requires all parties across many industries to continue to work together to find and implement solutions. The Almond Board of California is actively engaged with the beekeeping industry and shared many examples of these efforts directly with The Guardian. It’s unfortunate these details were left out.
To date the California almond community has funded 125 research projects supporting bees, more than any other crop group. These research projects span the five major factors impacting honey bee health – varroa mites, pest and disease management, genetic diversity, pesticide exposure, and access to forage and nutrition.
Separately, farmers have widely adopted practices to protect bees in the orchard and beyond. Using research insights and in partnership with universities, government agencies, nonprofits and others, the Almond Board established Honey Bee Best Management Practices (BMPs) for California Almonds, released in 2014. These guidelines provide key recommendations to everyone involved in the pollination process to ensure almond orchards are a safe and welcoming place for honey bees while balancing the need to protect the developing crop. Garnering praise from leading bee health experts, the Bee BMPs have been held up as an example for other crops to follow.
Responsible farming is at the heart of what the California almond community does. Whether it is bee health, water efficiency, or any number of other important sustainability areas, we stand committed to growing almonds in better, safer and healthier ways.
To learn more about our commitment to honey bee health, visit Almonds.com/Bees.