Almond Board of California releases new honey bee best management practices
The Almond Board of California has invested $1.6 million (US) since 1995 on research related to honey bee health on subjects such as Varroa mite and other honey bee pest and disease issues, nutrition, the impact of pesticides and for technical assistance to beekeepers through tech transfer teams. Results from this research have been assembled into a series of new best management practices (BMP) guides, made available as part of a broad effort to disseminate information on best practices for honey bees during almond bloom throughout the chain of communication for those involved in almond pollination. The practices are intended to ensure almonds are, and continue to be, a good and safe place for honey bees. The three pieces, including “Honey Bee Best Management Practices for California Almonds,” “Honey Bee Best Management Practices Quick Guide for Almonds” and “Applicator/ Driver Honey Bee Best Management Practices Quick Guide for Almonds” (in English and Spanish), can be accessed online at Almonds.com/ BeeBMPs. The BMPs emphasise communication among all involved in almond pollination, including pollination stakeholders as well as the local county agricultural commissioner. All almond pollination stakeholders, including beekeepers, bee brokers, farm owners/lessees, farm managers, PCAs and applicators, have a role in hive health during the pollination season and beyond. While comprehensive, the BMPs emphasise pesticide application practices and considerations during bloom. Some of the recommended practices are: • There should be agreement between beekeeper and grower on a pesticide plan that outlines which pest control materials may be used
• Honey bees and self-compatible almond varieties; • Honey bee removal timing so they can avoid contact with pesticides from later treatments in other crops; and • Addressing suspected pesticide- related honey bee losses. The Almond Board is connecting with numerous pollination stakeholders about Bee BMPs at conferences and meetings leading up to the 2015 pollination season. These groups include growers, beekeepers and pest control advisers. This article has been reprinted with permission from the Almond Board of California. The article can also be viewed at http://www.almonds.com/newsletters/ outlook/almond-board-releases-new- honey-bee-best-management-practices Please note: Australian bee management practices do differ in some areas to Californian practices. For the latest information, please visit www.beeaware. org.au.
• Insecticide applications should be avoided at bloom until more is known about their impact on young, developing bees in the hive. Currently, most bee warning labels only address adult acute toxicity, and recent information and controlled studies indicate that some insecticides may be harmful, particularly to bee brood • Tank-mixing insecticides with fungicides should be avoided. • If fungicide application is needed during bloom, be sure to apply in the late afternoon or evening, when bees and pollen are not present. This avoids contaminating pollen with spray materials. The document “Honey Bee Best Management Practices for California Almonds” also includes information on: • Preparing for arrival of bees; • Assessing hive strength and quality; • Providing clean water for bees to drink; • Using integrated pest management (IPM) strategies to minimise agricultural sprays;