Bees & sprayed crops

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JamezF 

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I have been asked if I'd like to keep some bees on a local farm which is mixed arable and pasture and includes crops of OSR and field beans as well has having a fair bit of traditional hedging and some areas set aside for nectar production. The area is also attractive because it's within flying distance of the local town and all the gardens that come with it. So far, so good...

The fly in the ointment is that their crops are sprayed three or four times each year by contractors and they have no real control over when that will happen (in fact, they often don't even know what day the contractor will turn up).

Whilst the idea of having spraying going on when I may have no knowledge of it screams "run away!" to me, the other side of the coin is that this farm is within easy reach (for the bees) of my house where I've kept bees for about ten years and they plant tens of acres of OSR which has the same spraying regime, every year. My bees are not coming home dead in huge numbers. Last year I also started looking after some colonies that were probably no more than 400 yards from thirty acres of OSR on this same farm which was sprayed in late March and late April, during the period when the plants were flowering and they didn't die.

I really don't have a full understanding of the issues here. Can anyone enlighten me as to the risks or provide a pointer to more information? If my bees are going to go there anyhow, does it actually make a difference if they're ten yards away or half a mile away?

James
 

Luminos 

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What is being sprayed?
Insecticide? Herbicide? Fungicide?
 

BBG 

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I am usre you will find anyone spraying crops is required to inform someone who keeps bees nearby that they are going to do it.

Best bet is Fera and get it in writing. Speak to farmer and sprayer and ask to be told when spraying is taking place.

Sure there is a thing about having to spray after bees are back in hives, dusk.

As a side note, the Tax-payer pays farmers a fortune in subsidies, grants, benefits, etc etc.

The least they can do is show some responsibility towards the environment and, in this instance, beekeepers. For this forum.

If they don't comply, and best pile it on the sprayer, not the farmer, complain as in the write-up here

http://tinyurl.com/7mr44d7

and don't let it go, put it in writing to your MP, Environmental Health, your MEP, local councillors, District councillors, Friends of the Earth and any other bunny hugger you can think of! Plus all as in the website.
 
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Hivemaker. 

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I am usre you will find anyone spraying crops is required to inform someone who keeps bees nearby that they are going to do it.

Speak to farmer and sprayer and ask to be told when spraying is taking place.

Sure there is a thing about having to spray after bees are back in hives, dusk.
Most farmers are very good at imforming beekeepers when spraying is going to take place,that is if they know who has bees in the area of course,which they often don't. Spraying in the evenings is what most do,but it may be over several evenings,and depending on what is being sprayed,and if it has been tank mixed with other substances,like pesticide/fungicide mix,it can remain toxic for two or three days.

Generally there are very very few problems regards bees and spraying,i have only ever had a problem once,and the colonys did not get completely killed,just all the foragers in each colony,leaving the queens, and very young bees,the bees that are poisoned never make it back to the hive to do any harm to the young bees. Stops any swarming problems instantly.
 
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BBG 

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You live in a good area but many don't have such considerations for the environment or their bees.

Hence the Law is the benchmark.
 

Hivemaker. 

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You live in a good area
That thought was not going through my mind when i lost the bees.And the legal approach was a waste of time in this instance.
 

chrismcd 

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I agree with what has been said.

I would suggest that you contact the contractor and make sure he know where your bees are. Most contractors are very careful to keep well clear of bees and beekeepers. As businesses they are easier to sue than farmers who are always broke! And, to be fair, a lot of them have a decent sense of responsibility.

Most OSR is sprayed with the synthetic pyrethroids. Very powerful insecticides, but they bind strongly to leaf waxes. 20 years experience has shown that if the spray has dried before the bees start to forage losses are minimal. So a little bit of sense on the part of the contractor - spray OSR near bees very early in the morning or late at night; combined with phoning you to tell you to block up your hive entrances for a few hours (temperature permitting) should solve the problem.

I have a crop of OSR near me for the first time, so I am also a bit worried.
 

Hivemaker. 

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The insecticide on its own is not a big problem,its when tank mixed with a fungicide that there can be....toxic effect lasts much longer,was imformed of this by Syngenta tech,first question they asked was if the insecticide was mixed with anything else.
 

Skyhook 

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I am usre you will find anyone spraying crops is required to inform someone who keeps bees nearby that they are going to do it.

Best bet is Fera and get it in writing. Speak to farmer and sprayer and ask to be told when spraying is taking place.

Sure there is a thing about having to spray after bees are back in hives, dusk.

As a side note, the Tax-payer pays farmers a fortune in subsidies, grants, benefits, etc etc.

The least they can do is show some responsibility towards the environment and, in this instance, beekeepers. For this forum.

If they don't comply, and best pile it on the sprayer, not the farmer, complain as in the write-up here

http://tinyurl.com/7mr44d7

and don't let it go, put it in writing to your MP, Environmental Health, your MEP, local councillors, District councillors, Friends of the Earth and any other bunny hugger you can think of! Plus all as in the website.
Not sure if this is appropriate. Remember the OP has had a friendly offer from a farmer who is willing to allow him to put his hives there. To respond with threats of legal action doesn't seem approriate to the spirit of the offer.

James, I was in this situation last year. I spoke to a very experienced local beekeeper who does a lot of OSR and asked if I should shut my bees in when spraying was taking place. 'Oh no' she said, I never bother and I've never had a problem'. So I didn't either, and neither did I.

My hives weren't right next to the crop- there's probably a benefit in this in that a) spray can't drift into the hives, and b) if the worst happens and bees are affected, the affected ones have time to die before returning to the hive (see HM's post).

As regards 'does it matter if they're 10 yards away or half a mile away' the books assure us that it does make a difference to the crop, in that bees coming half a mile can get many fewer trips in a day. So you pays yer money and you takes yer choice. :willy_nilly:

.
 

RoofTops 

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If it is a local farm and they grow OSR your bees will visit it wherever their hives are sited.

I have had the same experience as Skyhook, my bees were beside a field of OSR which was sprayed with an insecticide and the bees exhibited no visible ill effects.

At the risk of causing a riot I would suggest modern insecticide sprays, properly applied, do not pose any serious risk to bees. The evidence for this is that I would suggest most OSR in this country is sprayed at some time and beekeepers near these fields do not report mass deaths in the aftermath of spraying and of course there are lots of beekeepers whose bees visit OSR without any action being taken by the beekeeper and who are entirely ignorant of what is happening to the crop.

The potentially more pernicous effects of the neonicotinoids, which could be applied as a seed dressing before sowing, are much more difficult to identify and the jury, as they say, remains out on this one. It has been discussed to death on this forum and opinions remain divided.
 

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Not sure if this is appropriate. Remember the OP has had a friendly offer from a farmer who is willing to allow him to put his hives there. To respond with threats of legal action doesn't seem approriate to the spirit of the offer.

So you pays yer money and you takes yer choice. :willy_nilly:

.
Please try to read what is being posted, it saves an awful lot of time having to explain over and over again.
I covered this by saying"

"If they don't comply, and best pile it on the sprayer, not the farmer, complain as in the write-up here"

Further, I also added:

"The least they can do is show some responsibility towards the environment and, in this instance, beekeepers. For this forum."


That means, for God's Sake, it's for information and discussion on here.

There's more!

I didn't threaten legal action or suggest it.

I said:

"and don't let it go, put it in writing to your MP, Environmental Health, your MEP, local councillors, District councillors, Friends of the Earth and any other bunny hugger you can think of!"

Read wot I rote! :banghead: :banghead:
 

Skyhook 

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Please try to read what is being posted, it saves an awful lot of time having to explain over and over again.
Read wot I rote! :banghead: :banghead:
I did, and I've just read it again. OK, perhaps I was inexact saying 'legal action', replace it with 'a legalistic response' and it doesn't change much. The fact is that the farmer made this offer in, one gets the impression, a fairly altruistic gesture. To respond by making demands of his contractors, threatening to report them to the environment agency etc, seems poor thanks.
 

Skyhook 

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At the risk of causing a riot I would suggest modern insecticide sprays, properly applied, do not pose any serious risk to bees. The evidence for this is that I would suggest most OSR in this country is sprayed at some time and beekeepers near these fields do not report mass deaths in the aftermath of spraying and of course there are lots of beekeepers whose bees visit OSR without any action being taken by the beekeeper and who are entirely ignorant of what is happening to the crop.
Tin hat at the ready? :D
 

BBG 

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I did, and I've just read it again. OK, perhaps I was inexact saying 'legal action', replace it with 'a legalistic response' and it doesn't change much. The fact is that the farmer made this offer in, one gets the impression, a fairly altruistic gesture. To respond by making demands of his contractors, threatening to report them to the environment agency etc, seems poor thanks.
Look , what wrong with you?

You misread my first post, I explained it and bold the relevant parts.

Then you come back with this drivel about me saying someone ought to threaten the farmer or the sprayer.

Where did you get that from????

Also, where did you get that I was saying respond with a legalistic response???

You weren't inexact you were completely wrong in what you think my tenet is.

It does 'change things'. It takes it back to what I said originally, which is not what you are saying occurred.

:beatdeadhorse5: :banghead:
 

alexander 

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Working on a arable farm, I know a little about spraying. The people worried about a mix left in the tank, this is very unlikely. The rules surrounding this are very strict, reguards washing out, it has to be done every time, and mixing the chemicals can cause big problems like sediment in the tanks etc. Our spray operator told me last year the rules state when spraying OSR with anything affecting bees has to be done very early/late in the day, to avoid the times when the bees are likely to be there.
Just my 2 cents worth!
 

Hivemaker. 

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Working on a arable farm, I know a little about spraying. The people worried about a mix left in the tank, this is very unlikely. The rules surrounding this are very strict,
Who was worried about a mix being left in the tank.
 

Poly Hive 

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I used to sweat over spraying. Esp the OSR

I was advised by a notable poster here that he is not bothered and considers the stress of shutting in not to mention the sheer bother of it more than the issue is worth.

I receive the night before the spraying a call from the farm telling me what they are spraying and when. I thank them for the courtesy and do nothing. I can honestly say I have seen no difference at all.

The main man on the farm who does all the spraying tells me that some crops on his unit receive up to 17 sprays a season. They work a four year rotation with wheat, maize, field beans and Winter OSR. They are a very professional outfit and I consider myself very lucky to be on their land.

I am not suggesting you yourself, whoever you are, do what I do, I am merely saying what I am doing.

PH
 

alexander 

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Who was worried about a mix being left in the tank.
The insecticide on its own is not a big problem,its when tank mixed with a fungicide that there can be....toxic effect lasts much longer,was imformed of this by Syngenta tech,first question they asked was if the insecticide was mixed with anything else.
sorry if I have miss read you post. I forgot every word on this forum has to justified, pulled apart, the person run into the ground, argued with. Dont actually know why I even bother posting.
 

Hivemaker. 

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sorry if I have miss read you post.
Its what they mix and spray from the tank,in this case Lambda-cyhalothrin,tank mixed with Triazole.

Do not mix product with triazole,no instructions on product not to do so.

We don’t support use in a mixture with triazole fungicides when bees may be.....

http://www.pan-uk.org/pestnews/Issue/pn68/pn68p6.htm

Lambda cyhalothrin is highly toxic to bees, with a reported oral LD50 of 38 ng/bee and reported contact LD50 of 909 ng/bee (0.9 ug/bee) (107).

Syngentas advice was to move the bees, or block them in for two or three days if this mix was being used.
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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I think if you read James' post again it's not the farmer that's the problem but the sprayer - even the farmer doesn't know when they're going to spray - I'm sure the farmer would approach the contractor and lay down some rules if there was likely to be a problem for the bees (or am I being a bit simplistic?)
 

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