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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    North East, OH
    Posts
    298

    Default bees and the lawn chemical service

    Just setting up my first few hives this year. The bees are not in my yard but 50 yards or so off in the woods near my house.

    My wife uses one of the clasic tree&lawn care companies service for the landscaping and the yard. They do the fertilizerm grub and weed control on the yard as well as tree/shrub services of borer,leafminer and disease treatment.

    I can't just cancel the service outright, but can sombody give me some guidiance on what I need to watch out for that will be bad for bees?

    tks - jp

  2. #2

    Default

    I had two nucs/small swarm hives in my back yard all last year, just 10 feet from the lawn area.... And I never even thought about our lawn service being a problem -- until reading this post. It never even crossed my mind.

    They built up well, over-wintered well and both are going strong this spring.

    That's anecdotal....

    Quint

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Hays, Kansas, USA
    Posts
    1,080

    Default

    Ask them what chemicals they're using. Research those chemicals. Ask them to use pollinator friendly chemicals if possible. This may cost you more and in effect, they'd need to thoroughly rinse their tanks, pumps, hoses, etc. each time they change chems. In other words, that might be more of a marketing thing to "convince" customers how nature friendly they are than a real legitimate offering.

    While herbicides, for example aren't intended to kill insects, they will have an LD50 that could be harmful or fatal to bees and taint your honey unknowingly while wet, especially. Ask them to spray as late in the day as possible. Here in Kansas, home to People of the Land of the South Wind, many have to wait until early evening anyway in order to avoid chemical wind drift-related problems.

    Remember also, those flowers within 50' of the hive may not be the ones they're interested in anyway that day, but that is a crap shoot. Once dry, most herbicides will have a minimal, but still possibly ill effect on bees.

    Our lawn was accidentally sprayed last summer once by a pro company. The intended customer was the lady next door. The guy started in the alley and back yard and when he got to the front and noticed the address - ours: 305, hers: 303, he rang the door bell and was very apologetic. Surprisingly I was at home for lunch or I may have never known. He promised he stayed away from the back yard pond and the yard hive. He went on to say how great it was to find a hive in someone's back yard! He told me that his parents used to keep bees! Anyway, he apologized profusely and said the chems were iron, fertilizer and minimal herbicides and he felt the bees would have minimal if any effects. I offered to pay him for doing my back yard, but he refused. Bees did well & our fish went unharmed (as far as I know).

    I'm much more concerned of people who drown their garden plants with Seven and other insecticides than I am with weed killers when it comes to my yard hive. A hive in a town has opportunities of so many flower options that one in the country often does not. On the flip side, there's more opportunity for exposures to harmful chems in town IMO.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Danbury,Ct. USA
    Posts
    1,966

    Thumbs down begin rant

    "Grub control" got me. Were there armies of grubs surrounding the house? None of the crap we put on lawns is needed, the weed killer (a version of roundup) especially. A lawn is a sterile piece of real estate. A golf course is so polluting you can't be within 2 miles of one and call your honey organic. Never mind the bees ...think of your kids. It's time to start thinking like a beekeeper. Dandelions are the first order of business in the spring.

    end of rant,

    dickm

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,803

    Default

    I have been a professional landscaper for 38 years, a beekeeper for 40, and disdain any service that comes on a regular basis and floods your properties with poisons. CANCEL THE SERVICE OUTRIGHT.

    The properties with the most pest problems that I see also have the most poison services. Not to mention their personal health that is being effected invisibly, silently, and oderlessly.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,403

    Default

    I probably can't say it any better than odfrank just did. The concept that the earth needs poisoning on a regular basis is repugnant to me. As a beekeeper I PLANT dandelions and clover and chicory and goldenrod and many other "weeds" because weeds are what bees live on. When bees look out over a perfect green lawn without a weed in it, they see a desert.

    That's not counting that anything that kills grubs and insects will kill your bees.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,317

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    As a beekeeper I PLANT dandelions and clover and chicory and goldenrod and many other "weeds" because weeds are what bees live on.
    To be just in this statement, I would like to know what your particulars are. Incorporated or unincorporated. City or rural. Lot size. Not everyone has the ability to have a yard with these weeds growing. I'm one of those. I currently live in town within a developed neighborhood and would not find it appropriate to let the lawn go to weeds. I have garden areas where I plant bee friendly plants, but I don't hesitate to put down weed killer on the front lawn as needed. When I lived in an unincorporated area and had an acre, I never did anything to the lawn but cut it. That was fitting for the surrounding properties.

    When bees look out over a perfect green lawn without a weed in it, they see a desert.
    Which is why most lawn spraying isn't detrimental to the bees as there is no reason for them to be there in the first place. To the original posters concerns, I don't see one.
    Regards, Barry

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Danbury,Ct. USA
    Posts
    1,966

    Default

    >>>> I don't hesitate to put down weed killer on the front lawn as needed.<<<<<<

    I read recently that roundup or its metabolites are endocrine disrupters. I could be wrong.
    Herin, however, lies the mind-set. As if there could ever be a "need" to put poison on a plot of grass. I don't think the choice is between "letting it go to weeds" and using chemical weed-killer.
    There are over 170 chemicals now found in pollen. 50 or more pharmaceuticals are found in city drinking water. Read your post again Barry and reflect. Then repent. Leave the dark side to those who go for the quick fix. If you're not part of the solution you are part of the problem.

    It strikes me that there are things more obscene than my recent reference to a hot place, that you were kind enough to delete. Sorry. I get carried away sometimes.

    dickm

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Auger Hole, MN
    Posts
    433

    Default coming trend

    http://www.beyondpesticides.org/dailynewsblog/?p=333

    some eastern Cities in the USA have enacted bans also

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Kiel WI, USA
    Posts
    2,369

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dickm View Post
    the weed killer (a version of roundup)
    I agree about the grubs, but I think you've got some bad info about the Roundup, I would expect it to be 2-4d.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Danbury,Ct. USA
    Posts
    1,966

    Default

    I think roundup is 2-4-D. I've been wrong before. BTW this (2-4D) was half of agent orange, albeit the less poisonous half.

    dickm
    Thinking:" Positive is being wrong at the top of your lungs."

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Camas, WA
    Posts
    1,919

    Default

    Roundup is not 2-4d. 2-4d is a broadleaf only herbicide. It kills hearty broadleaf better than Roundup, but roundup will kill grass.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Kiel WI, USA
    Posts
    2,369

    Default

    Roundup is glyphosate, it kills grass really well. Agent Orange contained dioxin and 2-4d.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    berkshire county MA
    Posts
    1,472

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    Which is why most lawn spraying isn't detrimental to the bees as there is no reason for them to be there in the first place. To the original posters concerns, I don't see one.
    Maybe we don't (or maybe we do) have to worry about lawn spraying being detrimental to our bees, but even if it isn't, what about the effects on us and the rest of the environment? If you have to put little yellow warning flags on the lawn to keep pets and children off because the grass was sprayed with harmful chemicals, it has to tell you something!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,317

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by berkshire bee View Post
    If you have to put little yellow warning flags on the lawn to keep pets and children off because the grass was sprayed with harmful chemicals, it has to tell you something!
    You're preaching to the choir here. I have a track record of very little chem use over my years as a home owner. As with everything, moderation is a key component. A yard with weeds growing in it is suitable for some settings, but a more manicured lawn is right for another. There are all sorts of methods as well to deal with unwanted growth that doesn't require a high level of toxic chemicals to be used.
    Regards, Barry

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Snowmass, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    2,497

    Default

    Maybe I'm old school but anyone every heard of pulling weeds? Sure it takes a little time, but it gets you outside...get the kids and wife to join in...a real "lawn" party.

    Also...Dandelion salad is excellent.
    Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid.” John Wayne

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,403

    Default

    >To be just in this statement, I would like to know what your particulars are. Incorporated or unincorporated. City or rural. Lot size.

    I have done it everywhere I've lived. Incorporated city lot, acerage in the country. Currently I'm in the country.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Cameron, MO
    Posts
    586

    Default

    Apha 6- You go man!!!! what a concept!!!!pulling weeds? huh? why didnt I think of that? Nice reply.
    Dont forget dandelion wine too!!!

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    North East, OH
    Posts
    298

    Smile

    Wow – what a response. Anyway – this topic generated some conversation in my house as well. I have 20 acres and next to me is a wildlife reserve of 600 or so that I border.

    I can’t say my yard looks all that great, the biggest reason is that there is not that much sunlight that gets on the grass. I don’t care what chemicals you put on it – it is just not going to look like a golf course, I don’t have to worry about looking like the house next door. Years ago I thought I wanted a golf course look – but now I’m more into the natural look. I groomed yard in the middle of the forest actually looks – well weird.

    We do have massive flower/shrub beds around the house. The service we were using did our grass and then treatment of the shrub/flowers. I never really thought about it until I got into bees, and never really looked at the bill. I could not believe we were spending over $1500 a year. Some of the crap they were selling me was crazy. Fertilizer for my local trees? Are you kidding me – these tress have been growing in this forest since before man – they don’t need my help.

    Anyway – I canceled the service – everything – fired them this morning.

    I do know I will have pest/mite issues for some of the shrubs/flowers and will do some minor grass things - but I will deal with that as one offs myself.

    How about that?

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Brown County, IN
    Posts
    2,025

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by pokerman11 View Post
    I never really thought about it until I got into bees, and never really looked at the bill. I could not believe we were spending over $1500 a year.

    How about that?
    Looks like you freed up $1500 out of your budget for more bee stuff!

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