This is over one-third of the entire US commercial bee colonies and this is the biggest amount of bees killed since the survey began several years ago.
Beekeepers say that there are a few reasons for the higher mortality rate, such as parasites, habitat loss, and pesticides. Another issue, however, is our reliance on agricultural methods – specifically those used in the almond industry.
If you want to find out more about how almond production has been impacting other industries, keep reading to learn what you need to know.
California’s Almond Industry and Bees
California has an almond industry that has been growing exponentially for years and is worth over $11 billion. As of 2018, there were about 1 million acres of almond orchards and these orchards produce over 2.2 billion pounds of almonds sold all over the world.
Most Americans eat about 2 pounds of almonds each year, which is more than any other country in the world. In addition to that, almond milk sales had grown over 250% between 2011 and 2016.
There is great versatility with almonds and people can use them in a lot of different ways. The problem lies in the fact that all of these almond orchards are unable to function without bees.
Pesticides used for almonds in California are lethal to bees.
In addition to that, almond pollination is demanding for bees because of the time period in which it needs to happen. The bees have to be woken from winter dormancy a few months earlier than they normally would.
Lastly, the bees have to be concentrated in the area due to the large amount of space that the almond orchards take up. This increases the risk of disease among the colonies.
With less almond production, there is less impact on the bee industry. At the same time, there are also fewer almond-based products available to the public.
Water Footprint of Almond Orchards
California already has a lot of issues with water, as well as other western states, so this is a hotly contested issue. Almonds have to be grown year-round, which means they are constantly using up water and natural resources.
Due to the increased demand and the number of almonds that are grown, using 3.2 gallons of water per almond adds up to a significant and scary amount of water.
Since there has been a decrease in almond production, there has been less use of water and other natural resources for this specific crop.
That doesn’t mean water isn’t being used for other California based crops, however, so that’s important to consider as well.
How Does Almond Production Impact Other Industries?
Almond production is an issue that many people have their own opinion about. It impacts other industries that are tied to maintaining orchards and manufacturing almond products.
It seems that almonds aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.