Honeybees and Vineyard Spray

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VinesnBines

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I usually spray my vineyard in the morning so the spray has time to dry. I don't have any beehives near my main vineyard so I have just hoped the bees will stay out until the spray dries.

I'm putting a small number of vines in my backyard where I keep bees. I'm concerned about the toxicity to the bees. I'm considering spraying in the evening after the bees have returned to the hives. I also have dogs and since they are inside at night they will be protected too. Our summers are quite dry so I'm not worried about the spray not drying overnight.

Does this sound plausible? Does anyone have bee hives near their vineyard? Organic is not an option with vinifera in Eastern Virginia.
 

BigH

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My neighbor has bees. I don't really see them in the vineyard when the JBs are swarming. Keep dandelions and clover cut short in the vineyard to avoid attracting them.

Harvest is a different beast. I place 5 gallon buckets with discarded grapes and skins around the property away from the vineyard. It helps draw bees away from the vineyard.

H
 

distancerunner

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Honeybee foraging range is a two mile radius from the hive.

If there is a viable nectar or pollen source they will find it and harvest. That includes bird damaged fruit. They will also forage on any vineyard companion plants. If there is overspray they will take it back to the hive. Once there it will contaminate the wax.
 
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David Violante

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I use stylet oil on my vines throughout the season and it doesn’t seem to impact my bees at all. I also use manzate but only early on and in the evening when they’re back in for the night, as is the pooch. I’m also on one acre with 10 vines and two hives.
 

VinesnBines

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Thanks all. Since I'm just putting the vines in this spring, I'll be able to see what / if any impact the lower toxicity chemical like stylet oil, manzate and captan have on the hives. I'll be spraying with a hand sprayer so I'll need to learn to control overspray. I know the bees won't be pollinating the bloom but they will seek out water on the leaves. Since the bees go to bed early, I should be able to manage evening sprays. I'll be reading up on bees in the vineyard. There seems to be several good ag school articles.
 

balatonwine

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I much appreciate your concern about bees. I feel the same.

Do note, there are many solitary bees that have nothing to do with honey bee hives. So local proximity of honey bees is not the only concern. I never see a honey bee in my garden, for example, as all bee pollinators are native solitary bees. And I see hundreds of those in my garden, and thousands in my vineyard pollinating my cover crops.

Also, over spray will be a problem, even after it is dried. Direct contact on bees is trivial compared to the dried chemicals on the pollen the bees harvest. Hand spraying can help. Recommend a "downward" spray if possible (not always possible) to avoid drift in the spray. And spray only when there is no wind.

Do note the most problematic chemicals are pyrethroid and neonicotinoid insecticides. Ideal if you can avoid those.

It is complicated. But with good management and diligence, which you seem wanting to do, you can definitely reduce bee impact. The world is not perfect, and every action we all do has conflicting and in some cases damaging issues. But doing the best we can do to prevent damaging issues always helps.


Hope this helps.
 

VinesnBines

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Thanks for the link and the encouragement balatonwine! I hate killing insects (outside mostly). Everything has a place in the ecosystem. Honey bees and all pollinators are at risk; I first intended to grow grapes as no or minimal spray. I still try to get by with minimal spray and I'm working on managing a responsible spray schedule rather than just blasting chemicals all over the vineyard. I think this is doable without harming the ecosystem.
 

VinesnBines

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Mosquitos, ants and flies. The rest I try to send outside, albeit in mid winter. 🤔
 

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