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Hi all. As a prospective new Beekeeper I'm reading just about everything I can get my hands on but I've found so far that if you ask questions it saves a lot of time and research. I have various fruit trees on my property, Apples, Peaches, Plums, etc. Can I spray the tree's for bugs in the spring? I'm pretty sure that most Orchards probably spray and I also read that some have Hives. That's why I ask.
 

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Can I spray the tree's for bugs in the spring?
If you care for your bees (or any pollinators, as you should), you should NOT be spraying when the trees are in bloom.
When the trees are past blooming, the spray is less harmful.

But again, the spraying regiment targets certain pests and may require you to spray when trees are still blooming.
Also, the blooms are staggered between trees and varieties.
Targeting plum curculio, for example, may require spraying during the blooming time - not good.

I don't spray at all - end of story.

PS:
peaches for me are fine as-is - no pests;
apples we bag - no spray needed;
plums - well, one tree is a pest sink, pretty much; plum curculio destroy the crop completely on this tree; but the other plum tree is fine as-is.
 

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I try to avoid spraying or wait until the trees are done blooming. Last year when I had to spray my elm in the spring I wrapped the linden next to it with a painters drop cloth while I sprayed the elm to keep it safer for the bees. My linden is only about 8 ft tall though and the elm is 40 so this was not to hard.

You can also look for alternatives like lady bugs that will eat the damaging bugs.

p.s. Please add your location (or atleast state) to your profile so we know where you are at. That will help with getting more local guidance since conditions vary all over the world.
 

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Well it depends what you're spraying for. Follow the instructions carefully and you'll be fine. For example and for me, my peaches more than anything need dormant oil but that's applied by me in the late winter. My peaches don't need much more after that. Apples are a big problem and every year I swear to cut down my Honeycrisp since it takes so much work. The heritage breeds are so much easier. But whatever the case, if you spray, follow the label and avoid blooming season. There are so many sprays out there and their timing is different so be careful.
 

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mow under the trees to eliminate weed, don't spray during the bloom, spray after dark, and I found that if you spray Imidan(if it's still available) the smell seems to deter the bees. If you put out traps and can figure out what bugs you have, I was able to spray apple trees a max of 3 times a year and get acceptable apples, not apples that you could sell but fine for home use. If you plant varieties like liberty and freedom, you can eliminate having to spray fungicides.
 

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Most treatments I have used, or read about, recommend application at pink (pr-bloom), or after pedal fall, that helps to reduce hitting pollinators. I have even used flea and tick collars around my small trees and it has helped with crawling bugs (1 or 2 at the trunk base). As mentioned by another poster, I really like dormant spray, seems to be a good bang for buck application for bugs and eggs trying to over winter on bark.
I use Spinosad for leaf/vegetation eaters throughout the summer, just use common sense and apply at times bees are not out, evening, night or at day break. Kills on contact when wet, but after it drys it is only deadly to bugs that ingest it.
 

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Spray during bloom is often for diseases. Many all-in-one fruit tree sprays have an insecticide. Some insecticides have a short half-life, often broken down quickly by sunlight. Some insecticides have longer residual activity.

Night time spraying reduces exposure to bees. Bees could potentially carry residual particles back to the hive. Insecticides can hurt bees. Fungicides can impact natural flora in the hive/bee bread.

The important factor with toxicity is the dose. Spraying a handful of fruit trees is going to have a small impact on hives since the majority of bees will be foraging elsewhere. Commercial beekeepers regularly place hives in commercial orchards.

Tom
 
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