Food & Farm News
2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009
2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005
» February 8, 2008 «
With Valentine's Day less than a week away, it's a busy time for flower growers … and for thieves who steal flowers from farmers' fields. Authorities say many of the thieves sell stolen flowers on roadsides. Farmers have erected fences around their fields and adopted other procedures to reduce thefts. Watching neighbors' properties and erecting "Farm Watch" signs have also helped. Law enforcement officers say this week is when thefts increase.
Almond bloom will be starting soon in orchards throughout the Central Valley, and beekeepers are placing hives in the orchards for the crop's crucial pollination season. Observers report that farmers appear to have found enough hives, but bee brokers say some of the hives have turned up empty. That's a sign of the mysterious problem called colony collapse disorder. So far, that problem seems no more severe than last year, when almond trees produced a bumper crop.
One way of responding to problems facing bees has been to search for native bees that could help pollinate crops. Research scientists have found a native bee that appears to help pollinate berry bushes. The small, emerald-green bee is native to California and Oregon. The entomologist who studied it says it works quickly and as well as European honeybees. The native bees seem not to be affected by the colony collapse disorder, which has reduced European honeybee numbers.
Cotton plant breeders have developed new varieties of Pima cotton that resist heat damage. Pima has become the most popular type of cotton planted in California, but the plants have been known to be susceptible to heat stress, at temperatures of 82 degrees and higher. Plant breeders have developed Pima varieties that thrive in warmer weather, plus heat-tolerant varieties of upland cotton plants.Top