'A' is for Almonds and 'B' is for Bees and Bradford Pear Blossoms

No, it's not Valentine's Day, yet.

Yes, the almonds are blooming.

No, it's not spring.

But it looks like spring in Benicia.

The almonds are blooming in the Benicia (Calif.) State Recreation Area.

Some are on the road at the entrance to the park.

Other trees are also blooming.

Benicia resident Gordon Hough, always on the lookout for those early blooms and elusive bees, photographed a honey bee nectaring on a Bradford pear blossom (as identified by Daniel Potter, UC Davis professor of plant sciences) in the Benicia park on Monday, Jan. 21. Gorgeous image!

Benicia (or Bee-nicia?) is graced with early almond blooms. We remember heading over to the Benicia State Recreation Area on the first day of 2014 and seeing almonds in bloom. Actually, several almond trees in the parking lot were blooming on Christmas Day of 2013. (See Bug Squad)

Meanwhile, California's commercial almond pollination season usually begins around Feb. 14.

Our state has more than a million acres of almonds in production, according to Kyle Kapustka of the Almond Board of California.

The 2017 California Almond Acreage Report, from USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), released April 25, 2018, estimated

  • 1,330,000 total almond acres in California
  • 1,000,000 bearing acres in California

The 1.3 million acres is up 7 percent from the 2016 acreage of 1,240,000, according to the report. "Nonpareil continued to be the leading variety, followed by Monterey, Butte, Carmel and Padre. Kern, Fresno, Stanislaus, Merced and Madera were the leading counties. These five counties had 73 percent of the total bearing acreage." (See overview of the almond industry on the Almond Board of California website)

Solano County, home of seven cities, including Bee-nicia, isn't one of them.

But don't tell that to the bees.