In winter, starved of pollen and lacking natural forage, honeybee colonies can easily falter. But nutritious substitutes may be the answer
When beekeepers from across the US drive millions of hives on trucks to pollinate California’s almond crops in January, there simply isn’t enough food for them to eat until the million-plus acres of almond trees start to bloom in early spring.
California’s booming almond industry has created a vast monoculture, with little natural forage. The honeybees need to be in place to raise their broods before the pollen comes into season, forcing beekeepers to use pollen patty substitutes to keep them alive.