The Australian almond industry works closely with beekeepers to provide an environment for honey bees to safely forage in almond orchards during the pollination season, which minimises negative impacts on bee health and ensures the sustainable futures of both the almond and honey bee industries.
The ABA has developed Honey Bee Best Management Practices for Australian Almonds, an industry guide for growers and pollination industry stakeholders. The guidelines provide simple and practical steps for almond growers to work with beekeepers to nurture bee health during pollination. The key points are summarized in two ‘Quick Guides’ and a series of videos and webinars located on the ABA website that highlights what needs to be done each season to make sure bees have the best stay possible during the pollination season.
A key aspect is maintaining regular communication between beekeepers and growers before, during and after pollination. Bee Connected is a free app which is being promoted by the honey bee and almond industry to connect growers with beekeepers when bee hives are in the field neighbouring almond orchards.
The BMP guidelines promote hive standards, agreements and auditing for hive health; phased moving hives in and out of orchards to match floral resources; avoiding disease risks through the National Bee Biosecurity Program and minimising chemical use during pollination to protect bees. The Almond Board of Australia developed the guide through the ABA Pollination Committee which includes almond producers and apiarist, and consulted with the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council (AHBIC) State Government Honey Bee biosecurity departments, State Bee Biosecurity Officers, and Plant Health Australia to produce the guide.