Almond growers pay record prices amid bee shortage

From the Bakersfield Californian. This year's almond pollination may well set records, not only in terms of hive prices but also for bee colony losses that have claimed 40 percent of some beekeepers' stocks, and in some cases much more.

Commercial beekeepers say a combination of factors is to blame: disease, a harsh winter, drought in much of the United States and government restrictions on a popular mite treatment, not to mention increasing demand by California's expanding almond industry.

"It's the worst year I've ever seen, really, in about 30 years, as bee losses go," said Joe Traynor, a widely respected bee broker in Bakersfield.

The upshot is that large growers of almonds are having to make do with fewer hives, while beekeepers focus on rebuilding their bee populations. Read more.