Bees are officially included in the list of livestock by the Australian Tax Office. Every year, bees from all over Australia are transported to almond tree orchards to pollinate them. Almond trees cannot self-pollinate and have no real system of wind pollination in place, so farmers rely on bees to perform this function.
If almond trees are unable to pollinate, they cannot produce nuts or reproduce. Almonds grown in Australia are sought by many countries, like the US and Asia. These bees are providing outstanding service to these almond trees and the Australian GDP.
A natural way to pollinate
While many bee farmers took their time to realise the potential of animal pollination in agriculture, most now agree that it is undeniably profitable. For a flourishing almond yield, almond farmers need the trees to be pollinated effectively. Here is where the natural pollinators come into play.
Almond pollen is nutritious to bees and is the main source of plant-based nutrition during this incredible trek into Almond country. Almond pollen also provides bees with proteins that help the bees grow stronger.
This means that almond pollination is a mutually beneficial relationship where the bees get fair compensation for their hard work in the form of nutrition. This is especially necessary for the current climatic crisis that the country is going through.
The remarkable thing about this natural form of pollination is that it eliminates the need for synthetic fertilizers. These hardworking bees help farmers in Australia and all over the world grow almond trees that have light pink and white flowers when in full bloom.
The biggest annual movement of livestock in Australia
Hundreds and thousands of bees are stacked into rectangular hive boards that are boxed and loaded onto trucks. These loaded trucks then travel to their pollination destination. Each hectare of plantation takes about six hives to pollinate. This means around 60,000 bees work together to pollinate one single hectare of farmland.
To put the magnitude of their effort into perspective, the average corporate almond orchard contains around 60,000 hectares of land that need to be pollinated. Do the math – it’s BILLIONS of bees!
Beekeepers keep a very careful eye on their beloved bees throughout the journey to these almond farms. They take into consideration unexpected changes in temperature, toxic exhaust fumes, noise, and changes in wind quality, which can all be factors that affect bee health. Reduction in the bee population can have drastic consequences on the global structure of agriculture. We must take care of these hardworking insects because they play a huge role in giving us a diverse variety of food we see in the supermarkets and on our dinner tables.