Future Alaska bee packages are developing right now in the Almond orchards of California.
For those that do not know, most, if not all, bee packages in Alaska originate from California, riding a wave generated by Almond pollination starting in February, and continuing into March. Rapid bee population explosion resulting from this window of time provides the raw bees needed to produce the thousands of queen cells and tens of thousands of pounds of bulk bees needed for Alaska bee packages every year. If something weatherwise were to happen to California during the Almond bloom, it can and will affect our bee packages.
Right now California is experiencing unseasonably wet and cool weather, right in the middle of the Almond bloom. Bee hives are flooding as riverbanks and irrigation ditches are quickly surpassing bankful and inundating surround orchards. During short sun breaks, hives that survived flooding are not venturing out due to cold temperatures; some nights falling below freezing. When the bees are able to fly, foragers only collect small amounts of pollen. Temperatures are not reaching nectar-producing numbers yet. With natural forage extremely limited, beekeepers are resorting to feeding syrup to prevent starvation. This translates to bee hive populations all over the board.
Although this may sound like a worst case scenario, there is no need to panic. Bees are growing!
Extended forecast still features rain, but mixes in warmer weather and sunshine. Grafting will start in the next week or so, and everything will come together in the end. In short, the start of 2019 has been incredibly wet, resulting in stunted bee hives across California. Everyone is behind schedule. Alaska will still receive package bees in April, but don’t expect early April shipments. My shipments most likely won’t start until after the 16th. More will be know as time progresses.
Haven’t ordered your bees yet? There is still time. Place your order today!