Recent History – 1999
July 2, 1999
It’s spring and along with tractors and baby animals, beehives are appearing on the edges of fields.
This time of year, you may notice that they are in large groupings, primarily in river valley locations. Beekeepers have a lot of management to do: feeding, re-queening, evening out hives for strength — all these things are more efficiently done in a large yard.
As well, the bees need a source of natural pollen in order to produce baby bees and expand the colony. The large yards are usually placed so the bees can best take advantage of early willow and dandelion pollen.
In late May, beekeepers begin to move hives into farmers’ fields. In the Peace, the bees take advantage of the long days to produce larger honey crops than in most other parts of B.C. While gathering nectar from the flowers, the bees pollinate the blossoms, increasing yields for the seed grower.
In 1999, beekeepers have an additional management concern — the lygus bug. Prior to last year, there has been little insecticide spraying in the Peace region. The appearance of the lygus bug caused a scramble among beekeepers as much as it did among canola producers. Generally, anything that will kill bugs will kill bees. Beekeepers recognize that insecticides are a management tool to protect crops. However, there are a number of things farmers can do to minimize damage to bees.
– Talk to your beekeeper. Let him know if you or your neighbour will be spraying.
– Apply insecticides when the bees are least active: early morning or late evening. As a general rule, evening applications are less hazardous to bees because there is a longer time before they will fly to the blossoms.
– Avoid insecticide drift. Don’t spray when there is wind. Whenever possible, choose ground spraying over aerial.
– Use formulations least toxic to bees. Both the beekeeper and the chemical distributor are aware of these.
Driving through the Peace as summer progresses, take time to notice the beehives — they grow right along with the crops.