What Happens In Almonds Doesn’t Stay In Almonds. This Year’s Devastating Bee Kill In California Hurts Us All

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CATCH THE BUZZ

What Happens In Almonds Doesn’t Stay In Almonds. This Year’s Devastating Bee Kill In California Hurts Apples, Cranberries, Blueberries…and Beekeepers.

News Release From The Pollinator Stewardship Council.

The last two weeks the Pollinator Stewardship Council has received reports of bee kills at the end of the almond bloom. A meeting with EPA was held by Pollinator Stewardship Council and the American Beekeeping Federation, Monday, March 24 in Los Banos, California to discuss the pollinator losses during almond pollination. More than seventy beekeepers attended in person and on a conference call.

Bees were released from almond pollination, and beekeepers began to see the effects of a tank mix that caused dead adult bees, and dead, dying, and deformed brood. A poll taken of the seventy-five beekeepers at the meeting showed 80,000 colonies damaged: 75% of them severely damaged. Additional reports place an average loss of 60% of hives in almonds were impacted. Of that 60%, 40% lost adult bees and had dying brood, 20% of the hives were dead completely. These losses were experienced by beekeepers who wintered in California, as well as those who brought their bees into almonds from southern states.

The meeting addressed the bee kills in almonds, and the new label language for foliar applications of clothianidin, dinotefuran, imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, and the two new products tolfenpyrad and cyantraniliprole. (read that here) The majority of the meeting addressed the damages beekeepers suffered from a tank mix that included an insect growth regulator (IGR) and a fungicide. The tank mix was applied “per the label.” However, the IGR has decimated the ability of beekeepers to make splits for the next crop pollination, to breed queens, or to make packages of bees. Many beekeepers expressed grave concern that the tank mix was applied in one area, but honey bees from other orchards, under another grower’s pollination contract received damaged due to drift, and foraging range. Some of the bee damage was not evident until truckloads of bees returned to their southern homes. The effects of fungicides and IGRs were delayed just enough beekeepers did not realize the impact until their hives were released from pollinating almonds. Research has shown fungicides are detrimental to pollinators. (http://westernfarmpress.com/fungicides-can-reduce-hinder-pollination-potential-honey-bees)

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