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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
    Posts
    243

    Default Blueberry Field Treatments...what to expect??

    I am in the process of roaming our local farmlands, scouting out good places for beeyards. The main local crops are blueberries and potatoes.

    One of the things I need to consider, aside from the deliciousness of blueberry honey, is what pesticides are likely to be sprayed on the blueberries over the course of the season.

    What is the typical treatment regime for commercial blueberries, and how best can I manage the bees around the blueberry fields?

    Regards,
    Janet

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Forest grove, Ore USA
    Posts
    192

    Default Re: Blueberry Field Treatments...what to expect??

    Every grower is going to have a different regimen of pest/mold/weed control. The only way to know is to ask. And if you find a site to keep them don't just ask a few questions, get a conversation going. Farmers may or may not know bees and may or may not understand how far yor bees can forage leading to misunderstandings in the future.

    If spotted wing drosophila gets up there any time soon you may want to reconsider placing them in blueberries anyway because the malathion will be going on weekly

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Palermo, Maine, USA
    Posts
    731

    Default Re: Blueberry Field Treatments...what to expect??

    Do the blueberries in your area give you a good crop?

    This area has a lot of (so called) wild low bush blueberries and the consensus is that the berries benefit more from the bees than the bees do from the berries. They get a little pollen, but not much else.

    (Sorry, I can't speak to the question of treatments.)
    Like us on facebook This is the place to bee!
    Ralph

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,802

    Default Re: Blueberry Field Treatments...what to expect??

    My land is in the midst of wild blueberry land. I don't use anything on my land and it shows as the fields don't look anything like a perfectly groomed blueberry field. On the other hand, my bees seem to like it!

    A couple of things to keep in mind. Monoculture Blueberries are lousy bee forage. Honey Bees are not big fans of wild blueberries and if there is anything else (wild) blooming when the blueberries are that is where you will find the bees. This is one reason that the barrens are flooded with bees - so that despite anything else the blueberries will be adequately pollinated.

    If a farmer is actively killing competing vegetation with herbicides, you need to make sure your bees aren't around when it is applied. Roundup is generally considered safe for bees but some other herbicides are not. Some growers are very good about following label directions, some aren't. The ones that aren't end up with more dead bees on their land. The same goes for fungicides and insecticides. Be aware of "infestations" such as the spotted wing drosophila mentioned by Steves1967. The farmer will need to deal with whatever problems threaten the blueberry crop and very often the chemical solutions are not great for honey bees. There are a variety of agri-chemicals on the market and you need to learn what is applied locally.

    Your dream location may be to find blueberries that are being marketed to the chem free or organic markets. These lands will be much safer for your bees and likely to have season extending forage too. Keep in mind that the bees will need forage once the blueberry blossoms have passed. Also good would be land that has been out of commercial production for several years.

    The routine application of products is going to vary from year to year and location to location. Remember commercial blueberries are usually pruned (by burning or mowing) every other year so that finding a permanent location where your bees will thrive will be very difficult.

    And remember too that if bees are brought in to pollinate the regional crops that your bees may be exposed to any viruses, pests and diseases brought in with those other bees. Commercial beekeepers are generally pretty good about making sure their bees are healthy, but still...

    Good luck on your location search!
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
    Posts
    243

    Default Re: Blueberry Field Treatments...what to expect??

    My wish list includes the ability to plant out some bee forage at least along field margins and ditches as well!

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