Weather troubles beekeepers
March 14, 2006
• Bees refuse to work!
• Mud makes hive movement hard
Bees have their work standards, too. If they’re getting clobbered by raindrops, or the temperature is too cool, they stay in their hives. And that’s causing Central Valley tree fruit growers to buzz about a 2006 season that’s off to a difficult start.
While the bees sit out the weather, farmers have to provide them their food, usually corn syrup or other sweeteners.
This is the time of year beekeepers produce queens and during rain and cold there aren't as many drones to mate with the queens.
“If we go for too many days with rain and not many days where the bees can get out and find some flowers that are dry and have some pollen and nectar available, they get really hungry because they’re producing brood like crazy right now,” says Eric Mussen, a bee entomologist at the University of California, Davis.
Adding to the concerns are the muddy fields caused by the heavy late winter rains. Some Central Valley orchards are too wet for needed equipment used by beekeepers to move the hives.
“If they get them in a physical location where they can’t move their trucks around, they can’t move their bees,” Mr. Mussen says in an interview with the California Farm Bureau.
Pollination is about over in almond orchards, but some hives will remain until it's dry enough to move them.