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Hello fellow beeks

Earlier this spring my apple and pear orchard got nailed with fire blight.

For those of you that don't know much about fire blight it is a black bacteria that is transmitted from one infected tree to the other via the pollen.

They say that the disease is spread by pollinators.

The infected pollen then goes to a healthy tree and starts to kill off the branch from the blossom down.

You could think of it as an s.t.d. for trees.

Any way they said once you have it you can never get rid of it and there is no other cure other than to cut it out and get it off your land.


Recently I split some of my bees and got them going and the queen has started to lay.

A friend of mine showed some interest in getting into bees and was wondering if i could give him some.

Only prob is he has pear and apple orchards too.

Are my bees carriers of the disease and infect his trees or is it safe to give them to him?

Thanks
 

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My understanding is that when/if branch tips get fireblight, that the branch is cut off 12" below the infection. Some people report that some varieties of trees are fireblight magnets while right next to that tree, another variety is untouched.

I have bees, apple and pear trees. So far, no fireblight. However, many years ago before we got bees, we had an apple with fireblight and didn't know what it was or how to deal with it. The tree died.

I think he can have bees with no problem. Just make sure to cut out any infections asap if it ever shows up. Also, they say not to prune pears during blossom to avoid the possibility of fireblight.
 

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Fire blight as you stated is a bacterial infection and pollenators can spread during the season while there might be some risk that the hive has the bacteria dormant in some pollen stores I'd venture the risk is low. The real problem I have seen is gulls and split cracked bark which keeps the bacteria alive and fed until spring when it gets a chance to spread it also takes wet conditions at the time of the bloom so some years no problem some year problems the bacteria was there in good and bad years... I fight this in my backyard orchard and since everyone around me has bradford pears which are infected I will continue to fight it... since the bees are out in good and bad years for fire blight i think it is more the limbs high in a tree that shed the problem to lower limb as much or more than the pollinators. The bees will be of more benefit than harm in the long run if you are truely worried make him a package from a hive have them start on fresh wax with no pollen stores... my oppions mileage may very

Daniel

Maryville, tn
 

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No one knows for sure but there are somewhere between 3,500 to 20,000 species of bees or other native pollinators in North America alone. So I think that your buddy is over thinking the danger of your bees spreading fire blight to his pear trees. Whether you have fire blight or not is more a matter of where your orchard is located. He already has fire blight germs, they just haven't expressed themselves yet. Fire blight is the main reason that most commercial pear orchards are located in the Pacific North West.
 
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