Bee Friendly Farming

Since our family started farming organic crops in 1987, we have been working to ensure a safe and healthy environment for maintaining and increasing the bee population. Our existing agriculture practices include:

  • No-till and no pesticide application approaches
  • Keeping a growing cover crop down the alleyways between the trees
  • Planting an organic seed mix with untreated conventional seed, when organic seed could not be sourced
  • Installing an innovative drip system for year-round access to fresh water
  • Xercess third party certification
byeDtIXF Project Apis m Pollinator Partnership

Based on our extensive pollination program, we have been certified by Pollination Partnership (pollinator.org) as a Bee Friendly Farming operation.

As the largest organic almond grower and processor in the world, we are constantly looking at ways to improve all aspects of the operation. We recently started working with Project Apis m. to expand our pollination program to establish extensive hedge rows with a mix of blooming flowers and shrubs to provide a continuous source of nectar.

Sran Family Orchards is always looking for new developments in Bee Friendly Farming. In early 2016, we will be starting the certification process with The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. As a grower and processor, Sran Family Orchards recognizes how important a healthy bee population is to our success and will continue to champion Bee Friendly Farming!

Blue Orchard Bees

Almonds rely on bees to transfer pollen from one flower to another. When pollen from a different tree lands on a receptive flower, the pollen fertilizes the ovule and a nut is produced. Honey bees have been the primary pollinator for almonds and other crops for many decades. Research has shown though, that when more than one species of pollinator is present in an orchard, pollination is improved. In the 1970s, USDA researchers from Logan Utah discovered that a native, solitary bee was present in many fruit orchards throughout the western US naturally. This bee is called the blue orchard bee or Osmia lignaria. It is a mason bee, which means that it uses mud to form its nests. This bee makes its nests in existing cavities in wood in the wild, but it will also nest in paper tubes, cut reeds, or grooved wooden boards. When the bees hatch, they mate and then females go to work visiting flowers for nectar and pollen. The bee gathers the pollen and takes it back to its cavity where it is worked into a dough ball with a little nectar. When the ball is big enough, the bee turns around and lays an egg on it. The mother bee then seals off the compartment with mud and starts a new cell. A six-inch cavity will usually house 5 or 6 offspring cells. Males are more numerous than females, but it is the females that do all the pollinating. A female can visit up to 1900 flowers in a day as she gathers provisions for one offspring. The adult bees live 5 to 6 weeks, but the offspring continue to develop and will be the source of next year’s bees. These bees have only a single generation per year and only 300 nesting females are needed per acre for good pollination. Sran Family Orchards is proud to be an early adopter in utlizing this native, solitary bee in its orchards to help diversify the spectrum of domesticated bee pollinators, and improve almond yields.