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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Henry County, IN
    Posts
    241

    Default Apple tree question

    My lone hive is on an apple orchard across the street from my house. The owner has another beek bring in hives to pollinate. The hives have only been thee for a couple weeks. I noticed yesterday that the trees already have apples that are about the size of grapes and I see no flowers. It got m wandering what good, if any the bees would be doing the apple trees now? Do they bloom in stages or are the trees that have apples on them done for the season. If so it seems the bees were brought in a little late this year.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO United States
    Posts
    633

    Default Re: Apple tree question

    In my experience with apple trees, there will be no more blooms, once the initial bloom is over & apples start growing. However, there will be other blooms in a three mile radius. How close is your hive to the other beekeepers? How many hives did he/she bring in?
    Please excuse me, I am now free to go manage & treat :)
    my ladies the best way I know how.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    moravia,ny
    Posts
    1,685

    Default Re: Apple tree question

    after petal drop there is no need for the bees to be there. depending on the kind 10-16 days covers most pollination requirements.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Lamar Co. Alabama, USA
    Posts
    1,359

    Default Re: Apple tree question

    Different varieties of apples bloom at different times. Depending on the varieties he has, most require cross pollination so there could still be some trees blooming. I have a half dozen varieties of apple trees that bloom over a period of about a month, not all are blooming during that time just a couple. Like fonh said, once a tree has small apples they don't usually bloom any more unless there's a long dry spell followed by lots of rain. I've had one or two trees have a limited re-bloom under those conditions.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Scarborough, Maine, USA
    Posts
    27

    Default Re: Apple tree question

    Apples are pretty much all done up here. Sweet fern is coming into bloom and honeysuckle is going hard. There is no "staged bloom". If you plan to move the hive you can do so at any time. Have you made sure the neighbor isn't spraying insecticide? One errant shot of the wrong spray can ruin your day.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Henry County, IN
    Posts
    241

    Default Re: Apple tree question

    They grow a lot of other stuff at the orchard too, some garden type crops, sunflowers, pumpkins, gourds, etc. The beek who brings the bees in brings 16 hives. He said it is not near enough for the size of the orchard, that is what the owner has budgeted. I think the beek uses it partly as an out yard because last year he kept the hives there until August or September, I don't remember exactly.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    hendersonville nc usa
    Posts
    104

    Default Re: Apple tree question

    bet you are right he is using it as an out yard. I pollinate apples, ,i get mine out as quick as the grower will release them, before they spray poision

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Orrtanna, PA, USA
    Posts
    85

    Default Re: Apple tree question

    Apples are a crop that uses a lot of insecticides. I don't know about your location, but we have a big problem with brown marmarated stink bugs in the orchards here. Most fungicides are not an issue. I suggest moving your hive depending on what type of pesticides are being used.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Henry County, IN
    Posts
    241

    Default Re: Apple tree question

    I need to speak with the owner about that. I know assuming is not a good thing to do, but I assumed that since a "professional" full time beek with 700 hives total keeps some of his hives there all summer the sprays must not be an issue. I could be wrong, but I figured he already discussed it with the owner. My wife is allergic to bees and didn't want them near our house. The orchard property basically adjoins my property so even if I moved them to my place I am sure the orchard would be there main source. There hive been hives placed on the orchard for many years for pollination, but I will speak with the owner and see what and when he sprays.

    There is another beek less then half mile away on the other side who has kept bees for many year, again I would think his bees would use the orchard primarily also.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    3,207

    Default Re: Apple tree question

    The bees will be visiting the apple trees for less than three weeks out of the year - the rest of the time they are finding other forage (when available.) Some of that forage may be in the orchard depending on how it is managed.

    Bees will fly 3-5 miles in every direction in search of forage. In other words the exact location doesn't mean all that much so long as there is decent forage within the bee flying range. What does matter is what sort of pesticides are used on the apples. Apples grown commercially are infamous for using lots of different pesticides some of which are very bad for bees. Organic orchards typically use MORE sprays than conventional orchards and can have higher risk.

    I skimmed an article yesterday in Entomology Today talking about sub-lethal effects of Pyrethroids (not Neonics) on honey bees in apples.

    Be extremely wary of keeping honey bees year round in a commercially managed apple orchard. If your bees are located outside the orchard, your bees will likely be safe from sprays so long as there is nothing attracting them to the orchard when the sprays are applied or when the materials are active.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Orrtanna, PA, USA
    Posts
    85

    Default Re: Apple tree question

    Like Andrew says, it depends on the management practices and the possible food sources that may still be available in the orchard. Where I live, there is a lot of ground ivy in the orchards and they don't mow often. I am within 300 yards of peach and apple orchards, but my bees have ample nectar closer to home. Normally insecticides are used later in the season. You may be ok for now. I work for a winery that also has 130 acre of apples for our hard cider production. I am actually the spray applicator for the vineyard. Not the orchard, but I get to talk the farm manager over there quite a bit. I'll try to get a little info from him about what is sprayed and when. But, since we don't have fresh market apples, we use less insecticide than most.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Henry County, IN
    Posts
    241

    Default Re: Apple tree question

    Thanks for all the advice. The orchard is a locally family owned orchard, and not a commercial operation. That doesn't mean they don't spray. They raise enough to support the local fall traffic of visitors, school groups, etc. They don't ship any product out, they are not that large.

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