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"Bee" Careful at Bloom
To protect bees at bloom, spray only when necessary and in
the late afternoon or evening, when bee activity is at a
minimum. Avoid tank mixes that include insecticides.

As bloom season approaches, growers should remember to use caution when applying bloom-time sprays and consider their potential impact on bees. As more data is being developed on potential impacts from specific fungicides, growers should avoid bloom sprays where possible when bees and pollen are present. When sprays are necessary, spray in the late afternoon or evening when bee activity is at a minimum. Avoid direct contact with hives, colonies and bees where possible. Bees that come into contact with agricultural sprays will not be able to fly due to the weight of spray droplets on their wings. If they fall to the ground, in the shade, they are likely to die of chilling.

The Almond Board’s Bob Curtis, associate director, Agricultural Affairs, advises using extra caution when tank mixing insecticides with fungicides, as tank mixing can have unintended consequences to bees.

The Almond Board, in 2013–14, is funding nearly $200,000 in pollination and honey bee research. This research will address honey bee health priorities, including fungicide applications as well as stock improvement, nutrition and supplemental forage, Varroa mite control and methods for transferring new technical information on these issues to beekeepers.

These research areas are in line with priorities related to honey bee health cited almost universally by bee researchers, beekeepers and other experts during recent discussions and public forums on honey bee health.

The focus of research and other efforts are to assure a sufficient supply of healthy bees for almond pollination and assure that almonds continue to be a good and safe place for bees through beekeeper and grower best management practices.

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