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Keeping Bees Safe During Bloom

Modesto, Calif., (February 12, 2018) – As bloom season arrives, growers, pesticide applicators and beekeepers are reminded to utilize spray application best practices for the protection of bees. Below are important reminders.

Tips for beekeepers, growers and applicators:

  • Constant communication between the beekeeper, grower and applicator is crucial in ensuring the safety of bees during pesticide applications. Regardless of routine applications, hives may be repositioned without notice to nearby growers.
  • Prior to positioning hives for pollination, brokers/beekeepers are required to register their hive location(s) with the Fresno County Department of Agriculture. Optionally, a beekeeper may elect to receive notification that allows local growers and applicators to check for beehives within a one-mile radius of the orchard. Forms can be downloadedhere.
  • Before spraying pesticides that may be harmful to bees, growers/applicators must file a “Bee Clearance” request with the Fresno County Agricultural Commissioner’s office. The “Bee Clearance” request will be considered binding after the requested party receives a complete bee clearance response. Growers/applicators will be made aware of nearby hive locations and be provided with corresponding beekeeper contact information. Growers/applicators must notify beekeepers prior to pesticide applications. The “Bee Clearance” request form can be downloadedhere. Growers/applicators may also contact the Ag Commissioner’s office at 559-600-7510 for immediate assistance.
  • To be safe, growers/applicators should spay pesticides at night and as the label states to ensure chemical drying time prior to daylight/temperature when bees begin to forage. If this is not plausible, consider tarping the hives (with beekeeper’s permission) to keep bees inside until the chemical has dried.
  • If there is not enough bloom in your orchard or clean water to feed the number of bees present, make sure that the beekeeper feeds them so that they remain close to their hives. Bees will travel up to two miles if forced to find food. Nearby orchards, regardless of specie, will attract foraging bees.
  • Additionally, blooming weeds near or on the orchard floor will attract bees to forage. Growers/applicators should consider this prior to pesticide applications.
  • Lastly, growers/applicators should verify the contracted number of frames provided by beekeepers for a baseline strength of the hives upon arrival. This information is crucial to growers/applicators if contamination occurs.

For additional resources, visit the Almond Board of California’s “Honey Bee Best Management Practices for California Almonds” guidelines at www.almonds.com/pollination.

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