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Almond Pollination 2008

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Almond Flower Blossom

Almond Flower

We have been pollinating these groves for over 20+ years. The blossom is usually a bit later than the blossom in the groves across from the K-Groves, as the almond variety is different; as is the bloom color itself. These photos will cover a period from mid February through mid to late March (all dependent on the time of the bloom). 80% of the world’s almonds come from California.

February 25 - last check on the grove readiness. Areas are cleaned and a count has been made for appropriate hive numbers. Two and one-half hives per acre. Newly planted trees will be included.

pre-bloom Just beginning to bloom.

February 26 – Tuesday – up and going with big white C7000 Truck to Carpentaria to pick up 97 hives – photo-logued whole activity at night – long evening/morning (exciting as usual). Then back to Tehachapi by 4am to rest up before first drop off at Shafter groves in the early morning. No blossoms on 'our' trees yet. Bees are moved at night for several reasons: the coolness forces them to stay inside in order to keep the colony temperature in the hive constant and maintained, hence little flight takes place. The day’s work has finished so they are tired and hungry. The morning light welcomes them to their new surrounding.

Moving early morning. Klaus checking with grower.

February 27 – Wednesday - 6am from Tehachapi to Carpenteria to pick up 68 hives then head back up to Shafter/ pollination. Big white truck– long day – drop truck off at ranch and then drive back to hill house in F350. We then visit the bees every two days to check the blossom and see how the bees are taking to their new surroundings. What we found, to our delight and total surprise, was an abundant growth pattern. Each visit required new supers to be added to accommodate for the increase in brood. The bees simply spilled out. The colonies were exploding.

Bee overflow (4). Bee overflow (2). Bee overflow (1). Bee suit, long leather gloves. The smoker serves to calm the bees, “suggesting” they return “home” while we work the hives.

And, for the first time in 20+ years, there was honey. Almond honey is reported as bitter and usually not for human consumption, but contrarily the honey was smooth, light, clear like water, and very tasty with a slight 'tangy' end taste. It simply flowed and the bee colony expanded. Several swarms were gathered from tree limbs and housed in hive boxes.

Almond bloom. Klaus adding supers to overflowing hives Groves - long shot. Additional supers
Bloom next to alfalfa. Hive - water rows Almond groves - rows

Another season completed.

Almond - heron Petal floating. Petal snow (2). Petal snow.

March 28 is last removal of all hives from groves, clean up area – head back up to Carpentaria to avocado groves until...

Sunset begins. Sun setting. Sun setting. Sunset colors.

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