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Discussion Starter #1
I've got a question/problem I hope some can help with.:scratch:

I have a fairly large (for the area) orchard nearby that I can place quite a few hives on, they raise peaches, apples, pumpkins, berries, etc. While walking the grounds with the owner I brought up pesticide usage. He said they use them but only once the blossoms have fallen. So he led me to areas around the orchard that he thought won't get any drift from the pesticides once he starts spraying. (he had already been thinking of "no drift zones" before I brought it up and that's the places he showed me)

Here's the question, Will the pesticide be a problem once the trees have lost their blooms since the bees won't necessarily be in the trees? Or will the bees probably still be around them enough to get killed by it?
Originally I had planned to keep the hives (25-35) there year round. Should I go ahead and place my hives there or just pass on the offer
 

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I personally would move the hives during spraying, it's not worth the chance. He may think it is a non-drift area, but what if the wind changes from normal patterns...you take the loss. Something to think about.
 

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Non drift area is not applicable here. Bees are flying, in and out in any and all directions needed, to get to the nectar sources in the area. Even IF anyone could say the hive boxes themselves were in a no drift area, it really does not even apply unless he is spraying at night only, when the bees would not be out flying.

Do you need the bee yard space bad enough to risk keeping bees in areas you know are being sprayed with insecticides? Of course there is the argument that the bees will be flying up to 2 to 4 miles in any one direction in their daily foraging flights, so they could be flying through areas being sprayed no matter where they are being kept.

This choice is yours, but I think I'd try to find other areas first, but would give it a try if I really needed a place and I could not find another. I might or might not regret it a year or two down the road.
 

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We kept 40 hives in our orchard 30 feet from rows of cherry trees for probably 15 years without any problem. We did not aerial spray often. We sprayed every two weeks from mid May to mid July.

This was a couple of decades ago and sprays have changed a little over the years though. The sprayers today don't throw spray like the older ones though. In the old days we had 24 feet tall trees and we needed a strong sprayer to do that.

Now that trees are kept shorter the sprayers operating off of the PTO don't have the power of the old sprayers.

If you are concerned, I would find an area away from the area being sprayed and put a couple of hives there for a year and see what happens. Then perhaps add more hives.
 

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One recommendation in the past was to cover the colonies with netting to keep the bees in during spraying. Is that no longer a workable possibility?

Then again, if one used a screened bottom board, and sealed up the entrance when the orchard was sprayed, that would prevent a problem with drifting spray and provide ventilation so the hive wouldn't suffocate. Just thinking out loud.
 

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the price of netting to cover 25 hives will likely be astounding. that and the trouble to close-up and reopen the hives before and after spraying make this a non-profit opperation. good luck,mike
 

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Discussion Starter #11
It makes it harder for us who charge to get a fair price.
This wasn't supposed to be a free pollination job. We will be charging for pollination contracts, I was hoping to leave the hives at this orchard all year. I wanted this to be a permanent outyard. They have other things that bloom at different times also. The owner picked out locations that he thought would not get any spray, but I thought even if the blossoms are gone the bees will still be under the trees on clover or who knows what, which could lead to problems.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Pre-bloom sprays including fungicides are important to know.
And theres always the "I forgot to call you".
Ernie
So the fungicides are a problem also?

He did tell me that they spray often (every 14 days or so)
 

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We have also kept our bees next to our cherry and apple orchards, for years. We also spray every 2 weeks and do not cover the hives. We have had no problems.
 

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I come from a 3rd generation apple and honeybee family.

There is a romance about orchards and bees. The reality is there is little nectar in apple blossoms thus the reason you never see apple honey. The pollen is nothing that special either at that time of the year when dandelions are present and pollen is plentiful.

Parking bees in an orchard then has no real upside but always a downside risk. Furthermore hobbyists and sideliners who do this for free are just hurting the other beekeepers who would like to rent colonies to an orchard.

You get a risk and the orchard gets a freebie!

This notion of using an orchard as a bee yard is flawed on every level from my view. Sure I keep bees year around in our orchard but I have a different stake in this then someone else. It is possible to not hurt the bees but do you want the orchardist to learn the hard way with you?

Make orchards rent your bees even if you want to take the risk and leave them there year around. At least you'll have a few dollars if you lose some bees.
 

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what type of pesticide will he use? some break down over 24 hours. When will he apply it? evenings are the best time on days that are not windy. do you do pollination with your bees to other growers? if so, you could leave a minimal (4-6 hives) behind or whatever you think is fair for his pollination to compensate for having a year round yard where you can overwinter 40 or 60 hives.
 
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