Results 1 to 11 of 11
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    San Lorenzo, NM, USA
    Posts
    104

    Post

    Does anyone know if the organic certification standards for fruit orchards have any bearing on the use of honey bee pollinators for those orchards? :confused: I have hot been successful in finding an answer via internet reseach. HELP!
    Bob Bleakley, Mimbres Valley Honey

  2. #2

    Post

    Why is this important to know?

    Whose standards are they? Talk to them if they make the rules.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Odessa, Missouri
    Posts
    629

    Post

    I do two certified organic farms. The only thing they have asked of me is to not use any herbicide for weed control.
    Bob Harrison

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    San Lorenzo, NM, USA
    Posts
    104

    Post

    nursebee, a neighbor is beginning the certification process for her orchard. The state organic commission had not provided an answer to her question so she asked me. She'd like to use honey bees to pollinate her trees but doesn't want to risk a problem with certification. I've found plenty of references to standards for organic crop management and for organic apiary management, but nothing that relates directly to the question at hand about pollination. I'd like to provide an answer to my neighbor.

    Bob, thanks for the feedback. I've sent you a PM.
    Bob Bleakley, Mimbres Valley Honey

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Wolfforth, TX
    Posts
    23

    Post

    Bees will get it there, along with other pollinators, even if your bees are not there. What could be non-organic about bees?
    I know more about nothing than you will ever know about anything.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    San Lorenzo, NM, USA
    Posts
    104

    Post

    Judging from the standards for certified organic apiaries, plenty can be non-organic about bees. It mostly has to do with how you manage them. Namely, use of plastic frames and foundation, feeding syrup made with non-organic sugar, use of certain types of medication, etc.

    It would seem to me that bees cannot adversely affect the fruit in an organic orchard through the pollination process, even if they were from an apiary that wasn't managed according to organic standards. But, it would be nice to confirm that. I'd hate to steer my neighbor wrong.

    Organic certification for bees has to do with the food products produced from the hive.
    Bob Bleakley, Mimbres Valley Honey

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Wolfforth, TX
    Posts
    23

    Post

    OK I see where you're coming from. Can non-organically raised bees affect organic crops?
    I know more about nothing than you will ever know about anything.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Phoenix, Az.
    Posts
    64

    Post

    My guess would be that a pollinating bee would have no more impact on the organic orchard than local air pollution. Probably even less. How much can they control all the other insects that come and go and in effect, pollinate the orchard?

    If the farmer follows proper organic farming, and the bee keeper follows proper organic bee keeping, everything should be good to go.

    If the organic certs are good with both the farm and the beekeeping, I don't see how they could have a problem with the pollination part.

    How knows. They might want to make you go through a few hoops and do a song and dance routine just because they can.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Whitefield, Maine USA
    Posts
    6,624

    Post

    If an organic farmer wants to stipulate specific conditions for a beekeeper (or anyone else they hire) on principle, that's fine. I believe in principles, everybody should have some, and stick to `em. However, they better realize that when their trees start blooming, even if they've hired an organic beekeeper to place organic hives in their orchard, every bee within 2 miles (and every other local pollinator for that matter) is going to be all over the bloom regardless of whether they're organically raised or not. That's reality.

    On the other hand, for an organic certification authority to stipulate a condition that can't be met i.e., that an organic crop must be pollinated by organically raised bees, is patently absurd. That's reality too. I would advise anyone seeking organic certification of their farm to proceed on that basis. Administrators, especially ignorant ones, love these kind of things. Don't even give them a second to think about it.

    The question which I haven't addressed is whether or not non-organically raised bees can adversely affect the organic quality of the crops they pollinate? Do bees leave behind any "residue" when they visit a flower? If so, could this make it's way into the plant being pollinated? What if they were just sprayed with Sucrocide, or fogged with OA, or have been living in a hive decorated with Apistan strips?

    George-
    Dulcius ex asperis

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Worthington, Pennsylvania USA
    Posts
    1,848

    Post

    I would be more worried about the prevailing winds of an area carrying pollutants as well as the next door neighbors spraying to kill dandelions and or about any type of flying insect. So what happens when the grounds get sprayed from overhead for west nile virus or a fruit fly or what ever the local pest of the year demands, sometimes fires and industrial and or transportation of hazzardous wastes accidents cause contamination to the environment and we have absolutely no control over these situations. Personally I have not used chemicals on my bees "yet" but does that make them organic? The bees are insects, they fly, whatever appeals to them at the moment is not totally under my control.
    Okay--enough ranting and raving. I too want my food as pure and natural as the next guy, no need for a certification of something or other to make it more attractive or more costly, just knowing that the food and products are as good as I can produce!
    Just my opinion!
    "Younz" have a great day, I will.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    North Texas, USA
    Posts
    61

    Post

    In reading this topic, I'm getting a picture in
    my head of an orchard full of people with shotguns
    (loaded with steel shot of course) looking to blast
    any un-organic pollinators who might try
    and land on a bloom.
    “It is only as the intelligence of man moves along harmoniously with<br />the laws of Nature, that any improvement can be expected.”<br /><br />G. M. Doolittle

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