Beekeeper holding a honeyboard covered in bees

Golden State bees

Honeybees and other pollinators are critical to California’s fruit industry and the world’s food supply. Learn how campuses across the CSU are preparing the next generation of agricultural experts to protect these essential insects.

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​It's February, but the weather at Fresno State's Campus Orchard is mild. Fresh, cool air wafts through the almond trees as thousands of honeybees busily greet the trees' snow-white blossoms. The setting would make for a relaxing stroll through the fragrant orchard were it not for the fact that serious work is taking place here: Without the pollination from these bees, the blossoms would not set fruit and no nuts would grow. 

“There's been a push to help the public understand the vital role insect pollinators play in our production of food. We need safe places for beekeepers to keep bees and also promote native bees by planting native wildflowers." 

–Dr. Ruben Alarcón, associate professor of biology, CSU Channel Islands

Almonds are one of the fruit trees that rely primarily on insect pollinators—in this case, the domesticated honeybee. In fact, much of the state’s fruit and nut industry depends on the insects, which are trucked in annually from as far away as Florida for almond pollination season.

With more than one million acres of almond trees in California, that’s a lot of bees coming through the state. For its part, Fresno State has 100 acres of the trees on its thousand-acre campus farm, giving agriculture students hands-on experience with a crop that’s worth more than $5 billion​ to the state.

Click on the stories below to learn more about how CSU campuses are preparing studentsand even the publicto raise and care for honeybees in ways that ensure a healthy future for Californi​a agriculture.

Central Valley Gold

Discover how Fresno State is teaching agriculture students to be honeybee stewards.

learn About Fresno State's bee program

Show me the Honey

Learn how Cal Poly Pomona is educating students and the community to keep bees for honey and the greater good.

discover Cal Poly Pomona's apiary program

​By the Numbers

It takes nectar from
2 million
flowers to make 1 pound of honey

of the world’s food crops ​and one-quarter of the world’s flowering plants depend on animal pollinators* to reproduce

Honeybees pollinate approximately
$10 billion
worth of crops in the U.S. each year

*Animal pollinators include bees, butterflies, moths, birds, bats, beetles and other insects. Source: USDA