Sacramento County’s most recent Crop and Livestock report indicated that Apiary (bee keeping) production has increased. With Sacramento County’s embrace of its agricultural heritage, this increase should not come as a surprise as bees pollinate our crops.
Now is the time for beekeepers to order bees. Approximately two three-pound packages of bees and a queen— which costs $150 to $175 each—will pollinate an acre of almonds. They can be purchased locally at businesses such as Sacramento Beekeeping Supplies
. The bees will be ready for pick-up or delivery in April and May.
Your hive should also be registered. The Agricultural Commissioner will register your hive
for $10.00 per year. A benefit of registration is that you can request neighboring farmers inform you when they spray pesticides, which are detrimental to bees.
Bees are fascinating creatures. Not only are they hard workers, they are sophisticated communicators. According to Agricultural Commissioner Juli Jensen, “A bee will search for a food source, such as a blooming tree. When she finds one, she returns to the hive, and performs a “waggle tail dance,” with the surrounding bees watching her. The dance communicates the location of the source and the directions to find it. The level of enthusiasm of her “waggle-tail dance” illustrates how “good it is.”
Bees also have great memory. Bees will recall and return to their first source of water. Thus, it is important to put water adjacent to your hive, so that your bees continue to congregate on your property.
It is also important to have food year around, so if you don’t always have flowers in your garden, you can provide sugar water.