Biodiversity one answer to pollinator crisis
The Guardian explores the dependency of US crops — in particular, almonds — on honeybees for success. Unfortunately, the lack of biodiversity is seen as a core reason, in addition to non-organic farm use of pesticides, whether on the farm or within bees ranging area.
Honeybees can travel up to three miles in search of varied forage, so even if the almond grower is doing everything right to protect a pollination investment, the cotton or grape farmer down the road may be spraying bee-toxic chemicals on crops.
The article goes on to discuss Bee Better, a certification program that identifies and celebrates farmers and businesses that adopt farm management practices that support pollinators. Oregon Tilth partnered with the Xerces Society to evaluate and certify farms based on the amount and quality of habitat created as well as the incorporation of pest management strategies aimed at protecting crop pollinators.
Xerces is working with almond growers to plant California wildflowers, mustard and clover in between the rows of trees and native flowering hedges along the perimeter of the orchard – a kind of eco-friendly fence to keep bees in the orchard.