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I think my bees are giving my fruit trees fireblight.

1582 Views 2 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  Buzzy Bee
I have a bunch of fruit trees that are covered in fireblight. Fireblight is a bacteria that infects the tree through pollination. (You pollinate an infected tree and it infects every other tree that gets pollinated.) It first rots of the fruit and flower and then spreads down the limb. If you don't treat it immediately it will kill the tree and all surrounding trees. (It is extremely infectious) I lost a lot of trees to it last year around 10 and I have a lot more than that to lose. (around 100 and most of them got it.) Last year I managed to get the fire blight irradiated but know this year it is back. I was wondering if the bees were part of the problem. You see, bees store pollen. The pollen probably is infected and it would have been stored in the hive throughout the winter. So know that we have bee activity again I have fireblight again. It is not the bee's fault as all he has to do is touch the pollen and get the bacteria on him. Some more information, I am the only one with fruit trees in my area. I believe that includes the 3 mile radius that my bees can fly. So Im not getting it from other tree's. From my reaserch i think the only place for the firblight left to hid is in the hive. So what do i do. Can i get rid of the bee's pollen somehow? I can't loose all my trees to this. If i had to make a guess on how to do it i would move the bees to a clean new hive. Than I would powerwash everything off of the infected hive. I realise that would weaken the hive quite a bit to have to start completely over. Sadly i don't know of a better way

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I can see bees carrying the infected pollen from tree to tree (it's on the hairs on their body). The foragers are not in contact with the bee bread in the colony, not to mention the bee bread has gone through two fermentation cycles that hive overgrown any other bacteria. I seems doubtful that last year's bee bread is going to infect this years trees as that would involve the Erwinia amylovora bacteria surviving the fermentation process in the bee bread and then a forage (who has no interest in bee bread) coming into contact with the bee bread, getting it on it's hair (and the bee bread is not attracted to the hair on the bee as it is in a wet paste form, not a dry granular form) and then hauling it to your trees. This all seems very improbable. Not something the experts seem to think is relevant...

Yeast seems to prevent it (which is in bee bread):
"Certain biological controls consisting of beneficial bacteria or yeast can also prevent fire blight from infecting new trees."

But careful pruning seems to be the solution of choice.

Another discussion on the topic:

Some rules on bees being moved in UK and fire blight:

How about using bees to fight it?
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or keeping the bees in large bee-tight mesh cages covered with bee-proof netting for 48 hours prior to movement. This is the time required to eliminate the risk as it renders the bacterium harmless.
If that is true than The bacteria should have died over the winter. Unless the cold temps somehow preserved it
Fire Blight bacteria remains dormant throughout the winter inside the cankers. Fire Blight bacteria enters through blossoms or new growth and is spread by Aphids, psylla, bees, and rain.
I have always heard of a copper spray but they have a bleach spray.
To help prevent fire blight, spray the tree regularly while in bloom with a solution of 4 ounces bleach to 3 gallons water. Doing this kills the fire blight bacteria in the blossom so that bees do not spread the blight. You do not want to kill the bees or prevent from visiting the tree during blossom stage because fruit trees are insect pollinated. Doing so would prevent the trees from bearing fruit. High soil acidity will also contribute to fire blight. The more acid the soil the more risk there is to fire blight. If you have a huge breakout of fire blight, you can spray your tree with copper sulfur blend labeled for fire blight.
Ok so their is some stuff i didn't know. I don't know how to have my bee's can help me with blight unless they want to carry some antibiotic to each tree for me. :) That thread seemed to be directed at testing the pollen on the bee's before it got in the hive. But, let us think about that for a second. I have a pollen collector. I have never used it but if it were to work and successfully remove the pollen from the bees that might slow down the infected pollen from entering the hive.
From my understanding bee's need a little bit of pollen for protein don't they? So I would only deny them pollen for the blossoming season and by that time the infected pollen will have past the 48 hour life cycle of the bacteria.

If anyone else has some advice or tips i would be glad to look in to them as well. :) Thanks
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