Tag Archives: agricultural crops

Q&A – Agricultural sprays & our bees

Q – I live near agriculture, and I suspect sprays are used that are harmful to bees. I wish (our club) and other beekeeping organizations would more actively advocate for organic farming instead of bowing to the chemical industries.

A – Sorry to hear of your heavy losses. The whole topic of agricultural sprays and their effects on our bees is a complex topic. Loses are chronic (bit by bit over time) – not acute (sudden loss) – and it is so difficult to document. When we sample we find on average over 5 pesticides in our bees – but 1/2 are the chemicals beekeepers use inside their be colonies for varroa mite control. I would suggest that you recommend (your club) put topic on their meeting schedule. For back ground information check out the Podcast from Xerces in Portland OR at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMSYKupuI8M. The 2nd in this series will be very specific about pollinating insects

“over spraying” of pesticides

Who do you contact for reporting over spraying of chemicals?

RESPONSE:  There is no reporting system for reporting “over spraying” of pesticides. If you have a concern, contact your state Department of Agriculture, pesticide division. They can investigate misuse of pesticides.

“grass seed farm” herbicides

Local “grass seed farm” herbicides seem to be my biggest killer of hives. I see a heavy loss of worker bees after each spraying of mostly herbicides and/or pesticides that surround my farm and then watch general decline of the colonies until collapse overtakes them. I am moving most of my hives out of the Valley of Death to the Coast Range foothills and hope to get better survival rates this season. Keep up the good work and thanks for the survey.

Response: Pesticide sprays can be really tough on colony health. Hopefully the foothills site will be more forgiving.  Thanks for your comment.

2015 Survey Q & A – Hive Placement & Pollination

Q – Do you move your hives during the Summer to take advantage of honey flows? Do you pollinate multiple crops? (almonds, pears, apples, cranberries, carrots, sunflower)
A-Thank you for sending us your information on overwintering success. You asked about pollination when you sent the data. Small scale beekeepers generally do not rent their colonies for pollination of agricultural crops but our larger scale do rent bee colonies to an average of 5 crops. All the crops you asked about do require and benefit from honey bee pollination. We do a separate pollination economics survey at OSU  – our report from last year was published in the June 2014 BEE LINE newsletter of the Oregon State Beekeepers. You can see this report by accessing the website orsba.org and checking on the Bee Line archive information.