Gordon Wardell, director of pollination operations at Paramount Farms
Gordon Wardell manages pollination operations at Paramount Farms.
is rearing and studying a native wild bee in incubation tubes to see if it can improve almond pollination efforts.
, bee expert and director of pollination operations with Paramount Farming
is studying Blue Orchard Bees, Osmia lignaria, to see if the tiny insect can aid in almond pollination.
"We're looking to see if there's another bee we can use for pollination, and this shows promise," Wardell
According to Wardell
, Paramount's interest in using BOB to pollinate crops is not aimed at replacing honey bee colonies used to pollinate almonds; that is not possible.
Rather, BOB's could be used in tandem with honey bee colonies to test if pollination rates can improve overall yield per acre by adding about 400 female Osmia lignaria per acre to two honey bee colonies.
has two questions related to this: Can two honey bee colonies be supplemented with 400 BOB for a greater pollination rate and nut yield; and, is this economically feasible?
thinks it could be possible to pollinate almonds with fewer than the industry-standard.
believes that a single honey bee colony plus 400 BOB could do the trick.
Early indications suggest Paramount Farms
is optimistic about Wardell's idea.
Within the past year the company dedicated 20 acres of land to study and rear BOB with the goal of putting them to commercial use in their San Joaquin Valley almond orchards.
"This is not just a research project," Wardell
"We're looking at the economics of this."