Blue Diamond Almond Facts November-December 2021

frames) in UC research. Strong hives have more value (do more work critical to setting a good crop) compared to weaker hives and should command a premium. Hives containing less than three frames covered with bees are worthless for commercial almond production. For an interesting look at bee rental economics, check out the informative article by UC Davis’s Dr. Brittany Goodwich and Jennifer Durant at this link… www.wcngg. com/2020/11/23/2021-almond-pollination-outlook- economic-outlook-and-other-considerations. The second half of the article addresses stocking rates and strategy options.

Late December sanitation photo. Photo credit: Franz

Prepping for bloom should include providing beekeepers with decent access roads in the orchard, safe places to set hives, and clean water availability. Once bloom arrives, minimal spraying during daytime and keeping insecticides (especially insect growth regulators) out of bloom sprays are important steps to keeping hives healthy.

Pest control: Count mummies in the tree and on the ground. Before January 15, check 20 trees per acre across an orchard, counting

mummy nuts still in the trees and those on the ground. Include all

varieties in the orchard in the survey as navel orangeworm (NOW) can use all varieties for shelter, including hardshells where they survive between the hull and the shell. If there are more than two mummies per tree, on average, then the recommendation is to sanitize the orchard — shake/ pole, windrow and shred all nuts with a flail mower. In high NOW pressure areas, the sanitation threshold is an average of one mummy in five trees and eight mummies on the ground under each tree. Mummies should be shaken from the trees by the end of January, perhaps stretching into early February in a normal year, and the nuts shredded no later than March 1. Orchard sanitation is a critical part of NOW control and there is no substitute for orchard sanitation if mummy counts exceed the thresholds listed above.

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