Bee's and Pesticides
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  1. #1

    Default Bee's and Pesticides

    I have a question that I've been searching for an answer to and can't find anything out there. I am planning on starting Beekeeping this Spring but before I do I need to ask this. I live in a rural area in Michigan on about 20 acres. Across the street from me is a Farm of about 2 or 3 hundred acres. The Farmer plants Corn, Soybeans and Wheat on a seasonal rotation. Not being a farmer myself I would assume that he uses different types of Chemicals like Fertilizer and Pesticides. The question is. Is being so close to this farm an issue for a beekeeper? I read all kinds of different articles about pesticides and bees and the affects of the pesticides. I'd hate to go through all the expense not to mention all the learning to find out this is a big problem. Please Help!

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  3. #2
    Join Date
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    syracuse n.y.
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    Default Re: Bee's and Pesticides

    your going to get all kinds of answers, I would suggest go ask the farmer and see if he will tell you what he uses, just remember some farmers don't pay attention to the chemicals provided on the seeds. you could contact Meghan Milbrath <[email protected]> for information about your neck of the woods. I have hives right next to corn and soybeans with no problem, not much wheat around here. avoid sweet corn however.
    mike syracuse ny
    Whatever you subsidize you get more of. Ronald Reagan

  4. #3

    Default Re: Bee's and Pesticides

    Quote Originally Posted by wildbranch2007 View Post
    your going to get all kinds of answers, I would suggest go ask the farmer and see if he will tell you what he uses, just remember some farmers don't pay attention to the chemicals provided on the seeds. you could contact Meghan Milbrath <[email protected]> for information about your neck of the woods. I have hives right next to corn and soybeans with no problem, not much wheat around here. avoid sweet corn however.
    Thank You for the information. It's kind of funny that you mention Meghan Milbrath though. I'm attending a Bee Seminar in Kalamazoo Michigan in a couple weeks and Meghan is the key note speaker!

  5. #4
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    KC, MO, USA
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    Default Re: Bee's and Pesticides

    >The question is. Is being so close to this farm an issue for a beekeeper?

    Chances are you will be fine. But keep any eye out for aerial spray for mosquitos or Japanese beetles.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Bee's and Pesticides

    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy D View Post
    Thank You for the information. It's kind of funny that you mention Meghan Milbrath though. I'm attending a Bee Seminar in Kalamazoo Michigan in a couple weeks and Meghan is the key note speaker!
    she's knowledgeable and gives a good lecture. ask her how her ankle biters made out and post back.
    mike syracuse ny
    Whatever you subsidize you get more of. Ronald Reagan

  7. #6

    Default Re: Bee's and Pesticides

    Quote Originally Posted by FlowerPlanter View Post
    >The question is. Is being so close to this farm an issue for a beekeeper?

    Chances are you will be fine. But keep any eye out for aerial spray for mosquitos or Japanese beetles.
    He does do aerial spray on the wheat. Usually only once around mid summer around 6 or 7 am. What to do then?

  8. #7

    Default Re: Bee's and Pesticides

    Quote Originally Posted by wildbranch2007 View Post
    she's knowledgeable and gives a good lecture. ask her how her ankle biters made out and post back.
    I'll do that

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
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    Covington County, Alabama, USA
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    Default Re: Bee's and Pesticides

    I keep all of my bees on cotton fields and pecan orchards. And when I say "on cotton fields" I mean the tractor boom misses my hives by about 10 feet when spraying. I have never had a problem. Farmer is amiable enough, but he rightfully thinks a lot more about his cotton than my bees. Roundup, Bt Cotton seed, pesticides are all applied every year. Fungicides are sprayed on the pecan trees multiple times a year.

  10. #9
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    Aylett, Virginia
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    Default Re: Bee's and Pesticides

    Where I live in VA, we do the same rotation; wheat, beans , corn, ad infinitum. The glyphosate is not a problem but there is a risk to the bees when the corn tassles and they spray lambda-C containing products. Register with Fieldwatch and chances are better that the applicators will be more considerate when spraying. There are hundreds if not thousands of acres of these crops near me and I have yet to have an identifiable pesticide kill.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  11. #10
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    Rutland County, Vermont,USA
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    Default Re: Bee's and Pesticides

    Might not kill your bees, but what about the honey? Like Wildbranch suggested, talk to your neighbor. At the very least he can tell you what he uses and when he uses and give you a heads up. If you can convince him to apply when the bees aren't flying (early morn/eve) that would be ideal. You can put wet sheets over the hives to help protect any overspray.

  12. #11
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Bee's and Pesticides

    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy D View Post
    He does do aerial spray on the wheat. Usually only once around mid summer around 6 or 7 am. What to do then?
    Engage with the guy in conversation (a good idea in it's own right), and - assuming he's a halfway amenable guy - ask him to advise you about that aerial spraying the day before. Then you can simply close your hives up the previous night, and open them up again after spraying has finished for the day. Wheat holds little or no attraction for bees, so they're highly unlikely to be settling on the treated wheat, but it might be wise to keep them locked up for a couple of hours until the spray has dried/ been absorbed anyway, to be on the safe side.
    If there's a possibility of spray drift in your direction, then placing wet sheets over the hives (as already suggested) is a good idea.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  13. #12
    Join Date
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    West Jordan, UT, USA
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    Default Re: Bee's and Pesticides

    Great answer little john. I t never hurts to make new friends... or at least to know what you're up against.
    Never ask a barber it he thinks you need a haircut.

  14. #13

    Default Re: Bee's and Pesticides

    Quote Originally Posted by Hops Brewster View Post
    Great answer little john. I t never hurts to make new friends... or at least to know what you're up against.
    Thanks all! I really appreciate all the response. I have another question but I will submit a new post...

  15. #14
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Bee's and Pesticides

    I also live in cotton/bean/corn country. I get hit every year in varying degrees - some farmers are better than others. Get to know the local farmers!!

    Here's a video I made several years ago. Sorry about the quality of the video - you might get dizzy watching it

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpEG6-bCc3M


    The kill shown in this video isn't too bad, and every colony survived, but I have seen dead bees 3 inches deep in front of the hives that was related to cotton spray (this happened around 2003). Of course big changes in chemicals from then to now. With current chems, I suspect that more immediate kills occur resulting in fewer bees making it back to the hives (total conjecture on my part, but farmers have also mentioned how quickly these chems work). Not shown in this video, but my swimming pool had a lot of dead bees floating in it following this spray.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  16. #15
    Join Date
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    Knox Co, Ohio, USA
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    Default Re: Bee's and Pesticides

    It all depends on what they are spraying. I doubt the wheat is getting an insecticide. And, I doubt the bees will have any interest in the wheat field. The bees could forage for pollen in the corn and they could forage for nectar in the soybeans. Some years the bees might forage in newly emerging corn fields when there is no other nectar sources available. Neither crop will be a top attractant to your bees. Your bees will also be foraging in a 2+ mile radius of the hives.

    My hives sit a matter of feet from corn and soybean fields and I have not had a problem. Sometimes in late summer, hot and dry, soybeans may get spider mites. The farmer may spray for them. If there is no other nectar source the bees could be foraging in the soybeans.

    Tom

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