I spent the past couple of days at a CCA (certified Crop Advisor) training for my “day job”. The very last presenter had some alarming recommendations regarding the delivery of pesticides that could possibly affect beekeepers.
In the fight against the spotted winged drosophila that has recently begun to invade the New England States, the recommendation is now to add sugar to the pesticide application (pyrithriods through neonics) to increase uptake by the flies. He claimed that at 1-2 lbs of sugar per 100 gallons of application the % is low enough to not attract bees, and that the application recommendation time is at ripe fruit so no flowers will be in the blooming on the treated plants. I see several concerns with that not the least of which are:
1. Who is enforcing only 1-2 lbs per 100 gallons. I can just see it now when a farmer dumps extra in because more must be better, or the sugar bags come in larger increments.
2. What about everything else blooming around the sprayed area the could/will catch overspray
3. What about the bees attracted to the dropped/split fruit in the spayed ripe fruit field
You get my drift, this is an alarming recommendation anyway you look at it! I know that the SWD is a major pest and one fruit growers really need to be concerned with, but my humble opinion is adding sugar to a pesticide spray is a terrible idea!