7 articles tagged "Bees".

Insecticides are often needed to control pests in vegetable crops, but in crops that require pollinators we often worry about the impact those insecticides may have on those pollinators (Figure 1). In the summer of 2018, a team of researchers at Purdue University explored the effects of insecticide applications on watermelon yield across Indiana, considering their impacts on both pests and pollinators. Using 5 of the Purdue Agricultural Centers (PACs), pairs of ½ acre watermelons plots were planted, each in the middle of a 15-acre corn field (10 total plots) (Figure 2). The two watermelon plots at each site were assigned either to a conventional or an integrated pest management (IPM) system. The corn surrounding the conventionally managed watermelons had a neonicotinoid seed treatment, the watermelons were given a neonicotinoid soil drench at transplant, and 4-5 pyrethroid sprays were applied throughout the summer regardless of pest pressure. The IPM system[Read More…]

We just completed a new publication that will assist fruit and vegetable growers in protecting pollinators while still managing their insect pests. The title is “Protecting Pollinators in Fruit and Vegetable Production.” It can be found at https://extension.entm.purdue.edu/publications/POL-2/POL-2.html. There are two companion publications in this series, “Protecting Pollinators in Home Lawns and Landscapes” and “Protecting Pollinators: Tips for Commercial Agricultural Pesticide Applicators.” Additional publications in this series will target agronomic crop producers, folks who want to plant a pollinator garden, and how youth can help to protect pollinators.

In recent years, protecting declining populations of pollinators has become an important issue. Many of our vegetable crops are dependent upon pollinators for production of fruit. Below is a table that highlights the benefits of honey bees and other pollinators for vegetable production.   Crops That Require Pollinators Crops That Don’t Require Pollinators But Have Better Yields with Them Crops From Which Pollinators Collect Pollen melons eggplant pea cucumber lima bean snap bean squash/pumpkin okra sweet corn pepper tomato Table 1. The importance of pollinators in selected vegetable crop production. There are a number of stresses that harm pollinator populations. Pesticides, although not the most important, are one factor that vegetable growers have some control over. Here are some of the ways that vegetable growers can impact pollinators with pesticides. Applicators apply insecticides to vegetables when pollinators are present, resulting in direct exposure. This can be true for crops that[Read More…]

​On May 29, 2015, the EPA issued a proposal to protect bees from acutely toxic pesticides. As stated in the announcement, “EPA is proposing to prohibit the application of pesticides that are highly toxic to bees when crops are in bloom and bees are under contract for pollination services. These restrictions would prohibit application of most insecticides and some herbicides during bloom.” The criteria used to determine which products would be prohibited from use during bloom were 1) Liquid or dust formulation as applied; 2) Foliar use (applying pesticides directly to crop leaves) directions for use on crop; and 3) Active ingredients that have been determined via testing to have high toxicity for bees (less than 11 micrograms per bee). To see the details of the proposal including the list of active ingredients that would be affected by this proposal, go to www.epa.gov/oppfead1/cb/csb_page/updates/2015/protect-bees.html.  These proposed changes have the potential to[Read More…]

​Indiana is working on a state pollinator protection plan, which is being spearheaded by the Office of the Indiana State Chemist with input from various stakeholders, including growers, farm chemical company representatives and beekeepers. A large part of the plan will involve protecting bees from pesticides. This plan is part of a national movement initiated by the president last year. A “national strategy to promote the health of honey bees and other pollinators” was released on May 19 by the newly established Pollinator Health Task Force. The national plan offers an assessment of the decline of honey bees, wild bees and monarch butterflies. The decline in honey bees coincided with the introduction of parasitic mites but other factors including pesticides play a role. Last year the nation lost 40% of its hives. Beekeepers had to scramble to make new hives to pollinate the nation’s crops. The annual loss has been[Read More…]

​During the past two weeks, I am aware of two beehives that were almost decimated when insecticides were used nearby.  In both cases, the commercial applicators had used the DriftWatch program before spraying to look for sensitive crops or bees near the targeted crop.  However, neither hive was recorded in DriftWatch.  DriftWatch is a web-based program to help growers of sensitive crops and bees to map their location.  Pesticide applicators can bring up maps of the area to be sprayed, warning them of potential issues. DriftWatch is free of charge.  Sign up at https://in.driftwatch.org/map.  Growers and beekeepers provide information such as name, address, phone number, and the location of the field or hive.  You do not need to have an email address to sign up for DriftWatch.  Simply call Beth Carter at the Office of the Indiana State Chemist, (765) 494-1585, to get an account set up.  If you do not have a computer at home,[Read More…]

​As you all know, many of our vegetable crops are dependent upon pollinators to move pollen from flower to flower. The cucurbits, muskmelons, cucumbers, watermelons, pumpkins, and squash, are completely dependent on insect pollination. Eggplant, okra, lima beans, and peppers will set fruit without pollinators but can have increased yield if pollinators are present. Honey bees are likely the most important pollinators for most of these crops, but other pollinators such as a number of species of native bees and other insects can also provide useful pollination services. In recent years, there has been a lot of attention given to larger than normal die off of honey bee colonies, commonly referred to as colony collapse disorder. There has been a great deal of discussion in the scientific community and in the public about the cause or causes of these colony deaths. Some of the suspected causes include new disease organisms,[Read More…]

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