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  1. #1
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    May 2008
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    Blythe,California,USA
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    Default Crop Dusting Problems

    We've all had them , but when does it become excessive and down right disrespectful and what can I do about it ? . Here's the problem. I register my bees with the county who in turn passes on the location of the yards to the crop dusting company . I also go by and mark my yards on the map at the crop dusting companys office. As a rule , the crop duster is not supposed to spray pesticides within a mile of a bee yard during the day time. An almost impossible task in this valley i must admit. However I constantly see them flying and spraying right next to my yards. Most of the times I don't have any kill but sometimes like the other day there is mass amounts of dead bees. Alot of times they just write it off as being harmless fungicide but anyone in the know can smell the difference.

    Here's the even bigger problem. I don't own the property most of my yards are on. The farmers have been nice enough to allow me to place my bees on their land thats not being used or I put them on county or blm land. The farmers would argue that my yards are impeding their pesticide applications -

    What could possibly be done ? what are you doing ? - I'm lost and don't want dead bees. ---

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Crop Dusting Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by Bradley_Bee View Post
    write it off as being harmless fungicide ---
    Really, interesting take.
    NUTRA-BEE feed supplements

  3. #3
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    Turnbow Hollow, Tennessee
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    Default Re: Crop Dusting Problems

    Have you contacted the crop dusting company and filed a carefully itemized and detailed damage claim with them? They may have insurance that covers such a loss. I would try the diplomatic and friendly neighbor approach first and see what their response is. Hopefully they will pay you an agreed upon amount to cover your losses. In some states, spraying insecticides near or on apiaries is illegal and comes with some hefty fines. In the event their response is hostile or non-cooperative, another option is to obtain the aircraft tail "N numbers" of the aircraft, if possible get pictures of the spraying in progress and file a flight violation complaint with the FAA. I would caution you about filing a complaint with the FAA as the VERY last option when ALL other avenues of negotiation have failed. In the event they crop dusting company did commit a flight violation, they could be heavily fined or the pilot could have their FAA ticket suspected or revoked. This would literally be burning the bridge. Best to do your best to be good neighbors with them and work out a mutually agreeable solution.

  4. #4
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    Lake City, FL
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    Default Re: Crop Dusting Problems

    Actually if you do a search for "fungicide bee toxicity" you will find that many fungicides are quite lethal to bees. Whether they are labeled as such or not, I really don't know. Might be a good idea to do a little research and make up a list of those that are reported as such and visit with the sprayers about it. If they're cooperating to the point of asking you to mark your yards on their maps, it suggests they're trying not to cause your bees any harm. They and the farmer, may not realize there is a problem, and communication and education might be the best first step. If nothing else, it will probably guarantee a call any time they are spraying in the vicinity of one of your yards, and a quick internet search on the chemical in question may suggest you want to move them for a day or two when they spray funcides or herbicides too.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Gooding, Idaho, USA
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    11

    Default Re: Crop Dusting Problems

    I hope I might share some perspective and get some clarification on some statements made above by making this post.
    First of all I would like to start by saying that bee protection nationwide has become a more focused on topic in recent years through our national association, the National Agricultural Aviation Association. We have had, as part of our recurrent training sessions, modules dedicated to protection of bees as well as brochures that have been circulated through the NAAA membership in cooperation with the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign. As well, I have personally attended my states' Honey Industry Association conference and given a presentation on what both sides can do to help protect bees placed in production agricultural areas where pesticide applications are made. I don't believe that any one of us that is a professional applicator wants to maliciously harm another man's way of feeding his family. We are a link in the chain to provide an end result for the grower.
    All that said, it is not a perfect world, not all aerial applicators are NAAA members or look at this issue the same, and different states have differing laws and rules, of differing levels of protection, for both sides to follow in order to keep bees alive.

    Another statistic to keep in mind is that aerial applicators only apply around 20% of the total crop protection products applied in this country every year. We do happen to be the most VISIBLE though. But just because you saw one of us flying near a yard one day doesn't necessarily mean that a kill came from us. You don't necessarily see the ground rig behind the tree line, or over that next little ridge, and there is no big red flag waving to let you know that a given pivot or pipe set is chemigating product as it waters. I am NOT vindicating my peers from any potential wrong doing, it is possible, yes. I am just pointing out that we are not the only or majority vehicle for pesticide application.

    Since you are in California let's review the DPR code referring to bees;

    Division 6. Pesticides and Pest Control Operations
    Chapter 3. Pest Control Operations
    Subchapter 2. Work Requirements
    Article 3. Protection of Bees



    6650. Pesticides Toxic to Bees.

    (a) Pesticides toxic to bees are those that include the words "toxic to bees" on the labeling of the pesticide, regardless of modifying words on the label that state "highly" or "moderately."

    (b) Bees are considered to be inactive from one hour after sunset to two hours before sunrise or when the temperature is below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. The sunset and sunrise times will be those indicated in the local newspaper.

    (c) Residual toxicity (RT) time is that period of time after completing a pesticide application until there is minimal toxic effect to bees. The RT time is specified on product labeling and is based upon Residual Toxicity25 (RT25) studies. RT25 studies determine 25 percent bee mortality based on the test bee population exposed to the formulated pesticide product applied to foliage.

    NOTE: Authority cited: Section 29102, Food and Agricultural Code.

    Reference: Sections 29100 and 29102, Food and Agricultural Code.



    6651. Vector Control Exemption.

    Pesticides diluted in onehalf gallon of water or more per acre applied by local vector control agencies or their contractors pursuant to a cooperative agreement with the Department of Health Services are exempt from the requirements of this article.



    NOTE: Authority cited: Section 29102, Food and Agricultural Code.

    Reference: Sections 29100 and 29102, Food and Agricultural Code.



    6652. Availability for Notification.

    (a) Each beekeeper who desires advance notice of applications of pesticides shall inform the commissioner of a two-hour period between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. each day, during which time the beekeeper shall be available for contact, at the beekeeper's expense, to receive advance notice from persons intending to apply pesticide(s). This request for notification shall expire on December 31 each year.

    (b) This Section shall apply statewide. However, from March 15 through May 15 in a citrus/bee protection area, if there are conflicts between the provisions of this Section and those of Section 6656, Section 6656 shall prevail.



    NOTE: Authority cited: Section 11456 and 29102, Food and Agricultural Code.

    Reference: Section 29102, Food and Agricultural Code.



    6654. Notification to Beekeepers.

    (a) Each person intending to apply any pesticide toxic to bees to a blossoming plant shall, prior to the application, inquire of the commissioner, or of a notification service designated by the commissioner, whether any beekeeper with apiaries within one mile of the application site has requested notice of such application.

    (b) If the person performing pest control is advised of a request for notification, he or she shall notify the beekeeper, at least 48 hours in advance of the application, of the time and place the application is to be made, the crop and acreage to be treated, the method of application, the identity and dosage rate of the application to be applied, and how the person performing pest control may be contacted by the beekeeper. This time may be increased or decreased by the commissioner, or by an agreement of both the beekeeper and the person performing the pest control work.

    (c) This section shall apply statewide. However, from March 15 through May 15 in a citrus/bee protection area, if there are conflicts between the provisions of this section and those of section 6656, section 6656 shall prevail.



    NOTE: Authority cited: Section 29102, Food and Agricultural Code.

    Reference: Section 29102, Food and Agricultural Code.





    6655. Notification Region for Butte, Glenn and Tehama Counties.

    (a) The counties of Butte, Glenn, and Tehama are established as a region for the notification of apiary owners of pesticide applications by pest control operators who are registered with the commissioners of any of these counties pursuant to Section 11732 of the Food and Agricultural Code, and who are required to give notification to beekeepers pursuant to Section 6654.

    (b) The agricultural commissioner of Glenn County shall be the coordinator for the region.

    (c) Pest control operators specified in (a) shall pay an annual fee of $75.00 to the coordinator. The fee shall be paid at the same time the operator registers with any of the commissioners in the region as specified in (a).

    (d) Beekeepers who have filed a request with any of the agricultural commissioners of the region for notification of pesticide usage pursuant to Section 29101 of the Food and Agricultural Code, shall pay an annual fee to the coordinator in accordance with the following schedule:

    Beehives Annual Fee
    1 to 100 $ 10.00
    101 to 500 $ 25.00
    501 to 2,000 $ 50.00
    over 2,000 $100.00
    The fee shall be paid at the same time the beekeeper files a request for notification of pesticide applications with any of the commissioners of the region.



    NOTE: Authority cited: Sections 11456, 29080, 29081 and 29082, Food and Agricultural Code.

    Reference: Sections 29080, 29081, 29082, and 29101, Food and Agricultural Code.



    6656. Citrus/Bee Protection Area.

    (a) The area within one mile of any citrus planting of one acre or more in Fresno, Kern, or Tulare County is designated as a citrus/bee protection area.

    (b) The citrus bloom period, in any citrus grove, for purposes of declaring bloom and label interpretation, shall be from when 10 percent of the total citrus blossoms are open until 75 percent of the blossom petal on the north side of the trees have fallen. The commissioner shall give public notice of the official beginning and ending dates of each citrus bloom period for each citrus growing district in the county, at least three days before establishing such dates.

    (c) Pesticide applications may be made 48 hours or more after the official end of citrus bloom without advance notification to beekeepers until March 15 of the following year pursuant to section 6654(c). Growers/pesticide applicators wishing to make pesticide applications prior to 48 hours after the official end of bloom shall follow the inquiry and notification procedures specified in subsections(a) and (b) of section 6654.

    (d) Each person who owns or operates any apiary within a citrus/bee protection area from March 15 through May 31, shall file a written notice of apiary locations with the commissioner before March 15 and shall update such notice, including notice of departure from the citrus/bee protection area.

    (e) Within a citrus/bee protection area, each beekeeper who desires notifications of applications of pesticides shall be available for telephone contact at the beekeeper's expense between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday from March 15 through May 31, to receive advance notice for persons intending to apply pesticide(s).

    (f) Any person intending to apply a pesticide toxic to bees to citrus during a citrus bloom period, except as otherwise provided in this subsection, shall file a notice of intent with the commissioner as provided in section 6434(b) at least 48 hours prior to the intended application. This subsection shall not apply to pesticides listed in section 6656(g) applied when bees are inactive.

    (g) Notwithstanding section 6654(b), the following pesticide applications may be made within a citrus/bee protection area during the citrus bloom period when bees are inactive without notifications to beekeepers:
    (1) Methomyl (Lannate);
    2) formetanate (Carzol);
    (3) Chlorpyrifos (Lorsban);
    (4) Any pesticide applied so that the RT period shown on the labeling will expire before the next period of bee activity.

    (h) Except for applications of pesticides listed in subsection (g), and applications of pesticides that are not toxic to bees, within a citrus/bee protection area during the citrus bloom period, an application delay of 48 hours or more requires that the person intending to apply the pesticide re-contact beekeepers and inform them of the change in scheduling.
    (i) The following applications to citrus are prohibited within a citrus/bee protection area:

    (1) Carbaryl (Sevin) from first bloom until complete petal fall.
    (2) Any pesticide toxic to bees, except those exempted in subsection (g) during a citrus bloom period, unless the need for control of lepidoptera larvae or citrus thrips (Scirtothrips citri) has been established by written recommendation of a representative of the University of California, Agricultural Extension Service, or a licensed agricultural pest control adviser. The recommendation shall state either that the citrus planting does not meet the citrus bloom period criteria, or why alternatives less hazardous to bees would not be effective. For azinphos-methyl (Guthion), this requirement shall remain in effect until complete petal fall.

    NOTE: Authority cited: Sections 11456 and 29102, Food and Agricultural Code.

    Reference: Sections 29100, 29101 and 29102, Food and Agricultural Code.

    So after looking at the laws and reading your post I would ask you to clarify your statement, "As a rule , the crop duster is not supposed to spray pesticides within a mile of a bee yard during the day time." Is that a private agreement between you and the local operator or are you misinterpreting the laws? If it is a personal agreement then I apologize for his violation of it. If, however, you are misinterpreting the application of pesticides to BLOOMING CROPS (most times actual INSECTICIDES) that have the specific verbage "toxic to bees" on the label to mean ALL PESTICIDES-DURING THE DAY-TO ANY CROP, REGARDLESS OF GROWTH STAGE, I believe we are all being set up for failure.
    As you seem aware in your post, there is too much work to not fly during the day when the weather permits. Herbicides, fungicides, rodenticides, liquid fertilizers, dry fertilizers, soil conditioners, seed, and organic products are all flown at those times. Seemingly because there is no officially known negative side affects to bees on the labeling. If that is not the case, as I am gathering from my interface with the bee community, for some fungicides then the entire crop protection community needs to be made aware of that fact. And that is up to all of us, you included.
    Secondly, are you on the list to be notified of potential applications 48 hours in advance so you can move your hives if you want? Keep in mind though, they are only going to notify you of products that state "toxic to bees" on the label. They are not going to call you when they have a herbicide / liquid fertilizer combo, a fungicide application, or dry fertilizer.
    In California EACH application has to be reported to the county, if you are in doubt about the honesty of a given applicators report of "a harmless fungicide" go pull the report and look for yourself! If it is not harmless after all then get involved with the chemical company, DPR, EPA and effect change on the label. I don't want to be putting out a product that has unknown negative effects on my neighbors but if I don't know about them then how can I take precautions?

    Some clarifications on other statements made;
    The FAA - I appreciate the posters understanding of the severity of what could be with FAA penalties, however they don't concern themselves with pesticides and bees. We operate under Part 137 when in a dispensing operation and that allows us to operate closer than 500 feet to structures (maybe hives?). So while they would probably be courteous and take the information I doubt that much would come that way.

    The itemized damage claim - If it was an insecticide kill that I had violated one of the rules to help cause I would personally pay it with a sincere apology and continue on.
    If it was a non-insecticide alleged kill I would pay one, then I would go to all of the surrounding growers and advise them that if they wanted to continue to have my services that we would either need to have the bees moved for all pesticide type applications or they will have to pay more per acre to offset the potential costs I would pay in future claims. Thus the conundrum you pointed out in landownership. They are utilizing me to provide a service that makes them more profitable thus paying for the land that you place the bees on.
    And for me to pay a claim you had best be able to prove, without question, that the specific chemical that specifically killed your bees specifically came from my airplane NOT the ground rig that sprayed the field on the other side two days before, or the Mexican with the backpack sprayer that was touching up in the field next door, or the farmer that chemigated Lorsban on his hay through the pivot a half mile to the east the day after I sprayed. I.E. State involved sample gathering that gets to a lab for analysis under a CONTROLLED circumstance.
    Just because you saw a yellow airplane fly by and your bees died two days later it doesn't mean he did it! Analogy of how I feel on this one; A woman gets raped in a crowd of 149 white guys and one black guy. Well it must be the black guy, after all he's black and we all know blacks are criminals. Get it? You have to stop making false, unsubstantiated accusations just because you could see us from 15 miles away. If you end up with dead bees, rope the area off immediately, call the state ag department, get samples taken, have them analyzed, pull EVERY application record for a mile and a half around for the previous given amount of days, pull ALL of the ones that have the active ingredient found in your bees, and then start to find out which of the operators in the pile could have really done it. If it's proved, then they should reimburse you, rightfully so.

    Above all else;
    Number 8 on the "Dealing with Bee Kills from an Idaho State Department of Agriculture Perspective" handout on this very topic. Their words, not mine.
    How much risk are you willing to take and what level of kill are you willing to accept? If you place your bees in agricultural areas where pesticides are known to be applied, you need to be willing to accept a certain amount of loss. If not willing to take certain risks, then you may need to relocate your hives to areas where very few or no pesticides are applied.

    Living in a state that has no organized way of hive location identification I have had to go to great lengths to make my local bee keepers aware of applications and although I DON'T HAVE TO CONTACT THEM, I do as much as I can. I also try to advise them of trends in spraying. Like say a bug run in alfalfa, I will let them know when I get the first inkling of an upcoming wall to wall with insecticide. Our rule here, by the way, to BLOOMING CROPS, not all, is insecticide applications within 3 hours after sunrise and within three hours before sunset. There is a potato exception to that as well so we can spray them any time, all day, legally with products that say toxic to bees. Even with all of that I still find keepers that aren't sensitive to crop rotations and will place hives right next to a pivot that has been rotated to spuds for a year, not smart in my opinion, not helping the group be successful.

    The main advantage I have found is to bring ALL of the interested parties involved into the loop. For too long it has been between the pilot and the bee keeper. Modern agriculture is too big for that now. The applicator is merely the final link in the chain. To truly have perfection in this system we need communication and education to the bee keeper, the landowner / farmer (if not the same), the farm manger, the fieldman/PCA, AND the applicator. There are about three different possible times to avert an issue in the chain BEFORE the load is mixed and in front of my legs. Those all possibly start with you. You can make sure ALL of the surrounding growers/managers are aware of your locations and what weeks/months you will be there and the fact that you want to be pesticide free during daylight hours regardless of law specifics. You can, before you place your bees in a given spot become more cognizant of the surrounding crops, being especially sensitive to crop rotations. Just because you have been putting hives in between two fields for years it doesn't mean that that is a good idea if you happen to notice that a crop has been planted in one of those fields this year that is particularly pesticide (insecticide specifically) intensive. You can make sure that the field scouts/PCA's are aware of your locations as well, they may want to pick a softer chemical or a lower rate of a given chemical if they know you are there. All of this can happen BEFORE the rec is written, the chemical delivered, and is mixed and pushed.

    I hope this helps shed some light on the other side. May we all coexist because without the bees we have no seed and without the seed we have no crop and without the applicator we might have no crop as well!
    Last edited by flyguy; 10-18-2011 at 06:28 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    Default Re: Crop Dusting Problems

    A lot of very good points made flyguy, thank you.

    And, let us not forget the neonicotinoids, transmitted by the plants at full bllom when applied pre-emergence either.

  7. #7
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    Jun 2009
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    Montgomery County, NY
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    Default Re: Crop Dusting Problems

    I guess I am fortunate I have never noticed crop dusting in the area where I live. Regardless if pesticides are "lethal to Bees" they still contribute to weak and dying colonies. I know I sure wouldn't feed the food grade grease, or non toxic latex paint I use in my equipment to my kids.

    Maybe beekeepers should keep their bees completely away from any and all crop farmers. If they find a benefit to have the bees in close proximity let them pay for pollination. I know its hard to find new yards and closer to home the better but the farmer you have your bees on doesn't really care that much about the bees. They like having the honey or little money but dont care about your stuff like we care about our bees. I always try to keep my bees on hay fields or vacant farm land. Just food for thought.

    Its interesting to hear from someone who dusts crops for a living, good or bad. Its good to hear about the states laws from someone who somewhat has to know them for their job. Maybe we as beekeepers need to get with our local reps and have some of the laws changed as they obviously still are not here to really protect honeybees.

    How many bees were lost from greening spraying in Fl?

  8. #8
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    Lake City, FL
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    Default Re: Crop Dusting Problems

    Trying to stay away from sprayed crops in a commercial operation, is often impossible. Dependent upon what's available, your bees will fly a radius of 3 - 4 miles to blooming crops. I've seen them do it repeatedly. We have one yard that has made 3 - 4 sealed supers of Sunflower honey the last two yards, and last night I was down there riding around, and I haven't found a sunflower field within 3 miles of that yard anywhere, this year. Most of the surrounding area is Government owned native grasslands.

    Had an incident this year where the cropdusters srayed a field, and we found dead and dying bees in every yard within 2 1/2 miles of the field sprayed, which was 5 yards. Didn't kill the hives, but it did knock the field force back in all of them.

  9. #9
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    Oct 2011
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    Gooding, Idaho, USA
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    Default Re: Crop Dusting Problems

    I have heard those distance numbers as well in my short time trying to make this thing better for all of us. That is a lot to ask for in a production ag area, especially considering that they could even pick something up just transitioning over a field to and from the field of choice and the hive.
    That is actually one of my perspectives on added chemigation dangers for bees. When I spray a field, say 125 pivot, it takes me about 20-45 minutes depending on the loads required per total volume per acre. I spray it, leave, the product can start drying, and in a fairly short time be at least safer for the transitioning bees. In chemigation it takes a watering cycle to do the same thing. Anywhere from 8-24 hours depending on the speed of the pivot per what total volume they want to put down. So for that period of time you have chemical spraying out of the pivot onto the ground and at least some portion is fresh and wet. I believe that more kills happen with chemigation in center pivot land than we all think due to that factor.
    What are the protection laws in the state where you had the kill rocky? What could the group (you too) have done better to help prevent or minimize damage from that kill for that application?

  10. #10
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    Susquehanna county, PA
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    Default Re: Crop Dusting Problems

    Flyguy what plants/crops are the most spray intensive?

  11. #11
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    Oct 2011
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    Gooding, Idaho, USA
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    Default Re: Crop Dusting Problems

    Unfortunately right now almost all commodities are priced high as I noticed this summer we were taking care of things like wheat that we normally wouldn't. Generally where insecticide applications are concerned you can almost always count on at least one application per season on alfalfa, potatoes, and sugar beets in my area. Although they will be sprayed with herbicides, fungicides, foliar fertilizers, etc. others that most often don't get an insecticide application are wheat, barley, and silage corn. Some alfalfa growers don't hit their hay but you'd better check with them individually to see what their cultivation practices are. Like I said too, most care levels will follow commodity prices. Those you can see for yourselves in the newspapers and like in the case of wheat this past year it has been around $3.00 for years and all of a sudden they are getting $6.00 to $8.00 for it, you can expect that if they see cereal leaf beetle in it they will hit it because the return on investment is very high. Now of course wheat isn't necessarily blooming when we spray it but we all know that if you have hives right next to a field you will probably suffer loss. So if you normally place hives on a wheat on wheat on wheat grower you might ask him what his plans are and let him, his agronomist, and his applicators (if he doesn't have his own ground rig) that you would like to be aware and move before the application if you want.
    Very insecticide intensive crops I've worked in other states are cotton, and rice. Also many produce products are cared for intensively. Sweet corn is sprayed in most places on a 5-7 day schedule with insecticide for up to five weeks.
    Many of the corn crops in the mid-west don't get an insecticide application because the resistance is genetically modified into the seed (bt corn). You will however, as stated earlier, see the fungicide applications being made in mass. That is a fairly new cultivation practice on the large scale that it is happening, maybe in the last 7 years. The new chemistry fungicides add a large yield boost, so again, the ROI is high enough to justify the expense. Not that it NEVER happens, just that most times you see an airplane on a corn field near tassle it is probably spraying fungicide. If you are among the group that thinks loss occurs from fungicides you may want to get in the loop with your surrounding growers.
    I know that is not the concise answer that you may have been looking for but it is the best way I can explain it and a lot is changing right now because ag is doing well in general. Hope that helps some.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Crop Dusting Problems

    That is great info. Really appreciate it.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Crop Dusting Problems

    Protection laws here are vague at best...
    1.) You have to prove blatant disregard for the apiary.
    2.) Notification is only required within a mile of the field to be sprayed.
    3.) The fines levied don't warrant the aggravation of pressing charges, it'll cost you more in time than the guilty party will pay. You're better off trying it in civil court.

    But there again...

    1.) you have to prove who the sprayer was,
    2.) you have to prove blatant disregard,
    3.) you have document losses to prove validity of your claim.

    If the bees are all killed, you can prove it. If you just lose the field force, it's difficult to impossible to prove lost crop because they will still make some honey. Not every colony in the operation will make the same yield. Not every location in the operation will give up the same potential yield.

    What we did was have a long chat with the Ag Management agency that contracted the sprayers. He said he checked the state apriculture website and only found 1 registered yard anywhere near the field, and it was outside the mile limit. So by the letter of the law he was not negligent. We informed him how far bees will fly to a sunflower field when there is little else open that time of year, and advised that had he looked in a little bigger radius he'd have found several yards because all but one of the 5 have been registered for years. The 1, was just registered this year, and I'm not sure if it's made it to the apiary website yet. We also told him if he'd have them fly just after sunup, or just before sundown, it would have far less impact than flying at 3 in the afternoon.

    Apologies were offered, and he gained a whole new understanding of the bee business. We don't anticipate seeing the problem again. As for the bees... While it did knock the field force back, it didn't seem to have a lasting impact and the bees recovered nicely. Lost a little yield, but all things considered it wasn't to bad a deal.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Crop Dusting Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by BMAC View Post
    How many bees were lost from greening spraying in Fl?

    Florida law requires 48 hour notification. Prior to spraying the pilot also has to do a fly-by and if bees are still present he's not supposed to spray. There was widespread spraying in Central Florida last year, Avon Park/Sebring area, and I haven't heard of any losses down there. I think the grove owners started screaming a week or more ahead of time though, which cut us out of a few days bloom.

    However... We had one grove that WAS 9000 acres, in one block, at one time. It was down to about 6000, and not healthy at all prior to last year. Freeze hit it hard last year, and I don't know how much of it survived. I'd guess close to half of the remaining grove was defoliated when I checked it last spring. Didn't put any bees in it, so I honestly don't know if it came back or not.

    Seeing the battle fought and lost on that grove to Citrus Canker and Greening, I'll give up a few days bloom if it helps the grove owner. We've lost 9000 acres of grove to it already, I'm certainly going to do everything I can to prevent losing more. If it means loading 350 -400 hives up with the honey on them and hauling them out, I can live with that. I contacted all my grove owners and managers, found out who was spraying, what they were spraying, and when they were spraying, and in 3 days time over 400 hives were back home in the woods, with the honey still on them.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Crop Dusting Problems

    rocky,
    At least it sounds as though you suffered some loss that something good will, or has, come out of it. Reasonable education in both directions is the best way for sure. I encourage trying to get ahold of aerial applicators or whole associations if possible. Like I said earlier, here in Idaho I invited the Honey Industry Association president to our association spray pattern test clinic to give a little perspective sharing to our member pilots and in turn did the same for him at their convention. I think a lot of good came from all of that. My plan is to try to have both groups (weird, ag pilots and bee keepers working together! ) do a presentation at the fieldmens convention as well. To help show how they being in the middle, and the one's that often are the only one of us in the loop that actually is at a given field on the ground before the application takes place, can help avert a kill by being more aware of the surroundings as they scout the field in preparation to write the rec.
    Your experience is a perfect example of how a simple misunderstanding or lack of bee knowledge on the applicator/managers part can cause an issue. They did what they were required to.....but that's not really enough. It's legal, but it's not enough. That, in my opinion, is how our side can improve. More knowledge of the actual workings of bees. On the other side, you have keepers like the one that started this post grossly misinterpreting the laws in place and becoming upset with us as we work totally legally. I believe that a full understanding of the laws on the keeper's part will help sound hive placement based on what is going on around him cultivation and application wise and help him to know when he could do a little more on the side of alerting ALL parties involved if it is possibly a location that might have an edge to it. I also believe that more education to the crop protection community, all parties, will help avert a disaster due to a simple thing like looking 3 miles from your target field when it is sunflowers instead of the required 1.
    Before I moved to Idaho I lived in Deland and fertilized the occasional pine tree in north Florida, from Pensacola to Palatka. I also flew citrus from Fellsmere to Arcadia. The canker was getting established as I was leaving and the greening hadn't gotten started yet. I watched Lykes push up a bunch of trees in the Basinger grove due to canker just before I left. I hear greening can move really fast. I'm sure they appreciate your understanding of the severity of the situation.
    If you talk with the managers/applicators again you make a suggestion that seems like common sense but due to all of the other factors of how a job gets booked and put in order it's not necessarily from our perspective. In Idaho with my 3 hours after sunrise and 3 hours before sunset on blooming crops I start with the fields closest to the boxes and work away from them in the morning and in the evening I start as far from the boxes as possible and work in toward them as we get closer to sunset. I also try, if I have choice, to fly the hardest chemistry's in the evening as I feel they have longer to dry and dissipate through the night as opposed to flying them in the morning. Sometimes I don't have the option if it's all the same chemical, but when I do that's how I operate.
    Even though the law only states blooming crops I also try to make all of my insecticide applications inside the "bee hours" too. If we are just slammed I may save something like wheat or sugar beets that has no bloom and that I know had good weed control in it so as to minimize the possibility of a "rogue" flower along the edge getting hit for a later day insecticide application. I then switch to my herbicides or fungicides by 1030 to 1100 and by 1 to 2 pm around here it is ususally windy so we swith to dry and fertilize until 5 or 6 and then get back to evening insecticide applications.
    Last edited by flyguy; 10-21-2011 at 07:48 AM.

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