Bee keeper Raymond Marquette unloads his bee hives at a 'Bee Drop' at an almond orchard where the insects are used to pollinate the trees. Two beehives are needed per acre. This will provide just enough food for the bees to survive but they won't be able to make any honey surplus from the almond flowers. This happens later in the season when the bees are sent to North Dakota for the honey harvest of clover, sunflower and alfalfa. Each year in February, beekeepers from all over the USA move their honey bees to feed on the nectar from California's blooming almond orchards. A total of 1.5 million bee colonies or nearly 70 billion bees are needed for the pollination of the almond trees. That is about one third of the continent's bees. The bee hives are loaded hundreds at a time onto trucks and transported to their assigned orchards. For the pollination services of their bees the beekeepers receive a fee of about 180 USD per hive. That means more money than the mere selling of honey. But since 2006 bees have been dying in large numbers due to pests like the varroa mite, the use of insecticides such as neonicotinoids and the lack of pastures to feed on. In the winter of 2015, according to the American agricultural ministry, 42 percent of US honey bees perished and beekeepers are having a hard time to provide enough bee colonies for the annual pollination of the almond orchards.