Southern California environment news and trends

California almonds expecting bumper crop this year

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Almond blossoms.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service last week predicted that this year’s almond harvest could reap as much as 2.1 billion pounds of the popular nut, which would break last year’s record haul of 2.03 billion pounds. Experts credit ideal weather and an abundance of bees pollinating almond blossoms for the bumper crop.

According to the Merced Sun Star, the growing popularity of almonds around the world will match the bountiful supply, with exports to territories like South Korea, China and the Middle East up by 18 percent from just last year. Brazil is among the next clutch of locales the almond industry is currently looking to expand.

"Our only concern is on the supply side, we want to make sure we can keep up with demand," said Richard Waycott, president and CEO of the Almond Board. "We have had such incredible growth in virtually all of our markets around the world."

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Beekeepers petition EPA over pesticide

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Frank Rumpenhorst/AFP/Getty Images

While the war being waged over strawberry fumigant methyl iodide that we’ve been following came to an abrupt end, a new pesticide debate is heating up.

Just this week, beekeepers and environmentalists came together and filed a petition with more than one million signatures asking the EPA to ban the use of pesticide clothianidin. Petitioners claim harm the bees, often lethally.

"The future of beekeeping faces numerous threats, including from clothianidin, and we need to take steps to protect pollinators and the livelihood of beekeepers," said co-petitioner Steve Ellis of Old Mill Honey Co in a press release.

As reported in Business Week, the beekeepers say that the pesticide cripples the immune system of the bees, ultimately leading to colony collapse disorder, where all adult honeybees die or simply disappear.

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