Sran Family Orchards becomes first Bee Better Certified grower

Sran Family Orchards, the world’s largest grower of organic almonds, has long committed to sustainable farming, with flower-rich pollinator habitat an integral part of the almond orchards. This investment recently paid off when Sran Family Orchards gained certification as a Bee Better Certified grower.

IMG_2927 copy bumble bees on sunflower NancyLeeAdamson XSA

Unpacking the standards: Pesticide exposure routes

Pesticide risk to bees is not simple or straightforward. There is indirect risk, such as when an herbicide application kills flowering plants thus limiting bees’ ability to gather pollen and nectar. There are also many direct risks that are not fully understood, such as the full effects of some fungicides on bees. For direct harm … Read more

Bumble bee in Vilicus Farms pollinator field borders_by Jennifer Hopwood, Xerces Society

Unpacking the standards: A closer look at pesticide buffers

If you’ve followed our “Unpacking the Standards” series, you’ve probably noticed that Bee Better Certification requirements work together to respond to the risks of supporting pollinators on working farms. Each section of the standards adds support for healthy bee populations, but only when implemented together do they form a cohesive, successful whole The interdependence of … Read more

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Unpacking the Standards: Neonicotinoids

Neonicotinoid insecticides are widely used in agricultural and urban settings. Released in the mid-1990s as an alternative to older organophosphate and carbamate insecticides, neonicotinoid insecticides are highly toxic to many invertebrates, including bees. They are systemic, meaning they are absorbed and retained in plant tissues, making all parts of the plant toxic to insects. Even … Read more

IMG_0620 copy bumble bee on buckwheat NancyLeeAdamson XSA

Unpacking the Standards: Fungicides and Mixtures

While insecticides have long been recognized as a threat to bees, fungicides have generally been assumed to be relatively harmless. However, a growing body of research suggests that certain fungicides can be directly and/or indirectly harmful to bees. Additionally, some combinations of pesticides, including some fungicide/insecticide mixtures, may increase the toxicity of one or both … Read more

Del's Orchard MN NYCT Andrena mining bee apple bloom Sarah Foltz Jordan OA (116)

Unpacking the Standards: Bloom-Time Ban on Pesticide Applications

  Bee Better Certified growers use management practices that improve the resilience of their crops and reduce the likelihood of pest outbreak. They also keep track of pest populations on their farm through scouting and monitoring to know when, and if, a pesticide or other intervention is needed to manage a problem that poses economic … Read more

14858852166_o_Bumble bee on buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)_Debbie Roos, NCCE, flickr-RA

Unpacking the Standards: Preventive Pest Management

Pesticide use can have negative impacts on wild and managed bees living and foraging in agricultural areas. Some pesticides are deadly even at low doses, while others can have less overt,  yet equally troublesome effects on bees – compromising navigation, foraging, and reproductive abilities, which may contribute to long-term population decline. While insecticides cause the … Read more


Unpacking the Standards: Tillage Practices

Roughly 70% of wild, native bees nest below-ground – in North America, that’s about 2,500 species of bees! On farms, ground-nesters can be found nesting in active crop fields, fallow fields, orchard floors, dirt roads, irrigation canals, wildflower plantings, below hedgerows, and in nearby natural areas. Because bees nest in the ground in and around … Read more

6100172155_14170f67b1_o_Leafcutter in flight in AB_Rob Cruickshank, flickr-CC2

Digging Deep: An inside look at how bees nest

Wild bees make their homes in a variety of surprising places, from snail shells to embankments to inside plant stems.  They also use an impressive array of building materials, including mud, flower petals and resin.  Despite this incredible diversity of nesting preferences, we can group bee nesting habits into three primary groups: below-ground nesters, above-ground … Read more