Hi Folks. Newbee here again. I expect my first packages in late April. I plan to go "natural" and chemical free/minimal chemical.
So, ...My wife and I have a lot of time, effort, and (in our minds) money invested in our plants, shrubery, and trees. We do sometimes use chemicals, very seldom, very focused, very carefully. We're the type who go out after dark with flashlights and tweezers. No professionals have ever been involved, until last year.
We've lost a number of mature trees lately due to Winter Moth catterpillar. Last year a few "important" trees, close to the house, were obvoiously suffering. The damage (feeding caterpillars) was at the crowns, thirty plus feet up. Higher than I could get with a step ladder and three gallon sprayer or the "puffer with DE". We contacted a tree sprayer who sprayed our yard and perimeter with a high pressure hose. It took about 45 minutes in the middle of the afternoon. They used a Spinosad chemical.
I plan (planned) to put my two new pets on the perimeter of the yard. This spot was wetted last year. The Winter moth will continue to be a problem. We intended to spray again this year.
I'm trying to find out information about the toxicity of this chemical to bees. The information I've found is cryptic, but it appears that this stuff is no good to bees.
What I want to know is: Can anyone here speak knowlegeably and plainly about this stuff? Can the chemical be used if the bees are "protected"? If so, what is "protection"?
I've got acreage, but I wanted the bees to be a daily part of our yard and garden enjoyment. Will the bees be effected even if my hives are 800 feet away from the yard to be sprayed? The foragers will be "in the yard". Are there trade-offs, or just absolutes? I'm only a few thousand feet from commercial cranberry bogs. My bees will be in danger just because of that fact. There are dangers everywhere.s
What do I need to know?
Thank you for your responses.
Spinosad is highly toxic to foraging bees.
Spinosad does not kill adult insects. It kills in the larval stage.
If I were to use it I would spray dear dusk when bees are in the hive. One the product has dried the toxicity to bee is greatly reduced. This might not be an option for you.
These trees that are being effected, are they flowering? If not I would not be too concerned. If the bees leave them alone than you could spray and be fine.
Spinosad is a "bio-insecticide" derived from nature but it still kills.
trees and plants have the ability to fend off natural pests. why not let them go and survive on their own?
Questions; If all bees are in the hive overnight, can I 1) Block up all entrance holes and 2) Toss a tarp over the entire hive during the darkness and have the yard sprayed before 8 am? I would keep the tarp over them only until the spraying was over.
I would think on a dry day, the spray would dry by 11 am or noon. I'd be careful not to "cook" the bees.
What would be the effect of "locking" the bees in for a few hours, as long as the get adequate ventilation?
Fact sheet from UMASS on Winter moth:
Spinosad kills on contact and by ingestion and is toxic to bees so any bee that is exposed to the spray will be affected.
Contact insecticides tend to kill all insects,beneficial as well as parasites.You could ask your arborist to use BT(see fact sheet),not as effective but better for the environment.
You can screen all entrances to provide ventilation and loosely tarp to protect the hive body but any flowering plants wetted by the spray drift would be contaminated.They also could be tarped.
You said you "lost" trees from wintermoth.Were they killed outright?Or just defoliated.
Healthy deciduous shade trees can withstand defoliation(esp in early spring).
You could also move the hives temporarily.
CT Lic Arborist
We lost two huge ash trees and two huge maples. They had suffered for a few years and progressivly weakened, then, one year, they didn't bounce back. All my deciduous trees showed signs each year. My smaller trees can be sprayed with a Sears 3 gallon sprayer, though even they are getting tall. Last year a few Maples in the front were real bad for too long, so we had them sprayed. My whole yard looked good for the rest of the year. The spray fell on basically everything in the yard except for up close to the house. It's not cost effective to squirt just two trees. I beleive the orders were in 1 gallon increments of Spinosad (diluted appropriately). Whatever the final gallonage, we paid $200. I scheduled the arborist to call me this year, but I might cancel it unless I come up with an alternative. Maybe last year's spray "knocked the caterpillars down a bit for the next few years."
Pests are tough on all plants, and seem to attack in waves (natural cyclicality). Gypsy moth.Tent caterpillar hasn't been a problem for the past few years. Winter moth has gotten very bad in Massachusetts. The Longhorn beetle is cutting a swath through the state.
I just have to be extra careful now that I'm getting bees.