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Audio ActualityColony collapse disorder and almond pollination needs
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» February 3, 2010 «
White blossoms should begin breaking out on Central Valley almond trees by the middle of this month. After inspecting their orchards, almond farmers say they expect the bloom to start about the typical time, between February 12th and 15th. Growers estimate the bloom date by checking how buds on the trees are swelling. Once the trees bloom, they'll need six to eight hours of dry weather each day, to give honeybees time to pollinate the blossoms.
In recent weeks, beekeepers have started reporting more instances of colony collapse disorder, a disease that kills honeybees. A University of California specialist says few instances of the disease were reported during the fall and early winter … but that more hives have collapsed just as beekeepers prepare to move them into almond orchards for pollination work. More than a million beehives are needed to pollinate California's almond crop.
Government scientists are formulating plans to expand the release of sterile Mediterranean fruit flies over San Diego County. The sterile males mate with wild female flies and reduce the insect population. Planes are already dropping flies over quarantined areas. But, after five Medfly outbreaks in the region during the last 18 months, scientists say additional eradication work is needed. The expanded release program could be in place within 30 days.
Organizers say it's the largest and longest-running program of its kind in the nation: About 6,000 Monterey County third-graders will attend The Farm Day Experience in Salinas Thursday. They'll come from 248 different classrooms and will be joined by about 1,500 teachers and adults. Cattle ranchers, produce growers, salad processors and others will share their way of life with the students. The program is funded by Monterey County Agricultural Education.Top