The rise of veganism sparked the consumption of almond milk as a substitute for cow's milk. But it turns out that this low-calorie alternative is not as inherently good as it sounds.
According to an investigative report by The Guardian, the growing demands of the almond industry in California, United States, are putting severe pressure on the hives used to pollinate their crops, resulting in the death of billions of bees
Dennis Arp, is a commercial beekeeper who makes half of his earnings by renting his hives to pollinate almond trees. But in recent times it is losing more than 3% of its bees every year.
But Arp is not the only beekeeper injured. A survey of commercial beekeepers revealed that 50 billion bees died during the winter of 2018-19, representing more than a third of US commercial bee colonies.
What is the cause of the mortality of bees?
This high mortality rate is partly due to the way almond trees are grown: they are monocultures and lack the diversity necessary for bees to stay healthy.
For example, bees must alter their biorhythm and wake up from their winter dormancy earlier than usual to begin pollinating almonds as they are early flowering species.
But the biggest culprit is the amount of pesticides used on the almonds and the high concentration of bees during pollination on the almond tree, which facilitates the spread of diseases between them.
"Bees are exposed to all kinds of diseases in California"Arp said.“There can be hundreds of thousands of hives from multiple beekeepers in a staging area. It's like letting your bees walk into a singles bar and then have unprotected sex. "
To get an idea of the growth in the consumption of this vegetable milk, in the United States alone it grew by 250% in the last five years.