Good Fruit Grower

March 15

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5 The Top Five Top five pollination tips What growers can do to improve pollination success. by Richard Lehnert H "The best measure of the number of colonies available for pollination nationwide is what they look like going into and coming out of the almond crop." Photo courtesy of mary ann frazier oneybees are under unprecedented pressure, besieged by parasitic mites, viruses, diseases, and pesticide residues. So, what can orchardists do to assure they will have pollination success during the bloom period, this year and years in the future? Maryann Frazier, senior extension associate for Penn State University and part of its' Center for Pollination Research, offers these five tips for a successful pollination season. Get quality bees and place them at the right time. Have an ongoing relationship with your bee suppliers and realize they are having tough times, she said. Inspect the bees you receive. A strong hive of bees should be at least two stories (two boxes deep), have a laying queen, four to six frames of brood, and enough adult bees to cover eight to ten frames. While that's ideal, much depends on how well bees come out of winter. With average losses of 30 percent, and many beekeepers losing 50 percent or more of their colonies each year now—an unsustainable level—understand that compromises may have to be made. The best time for placing bees is to move them in at 10 to 25 percent bloom, or earlier if king bloom set is most important. Eliminate competing flowers on the orchard floor, like dandelions. Inspect the bees you receive. A strong hive Place colonies in groups of four to eight (or even larger groups in large should have enough adult bees to cover eight orchards) in sunny, wind-protected spots. Entrances that face east or southeast —Maryann Frazier to ten frames. encourage bee flight. Have a pollination contract. A pollination contract is very useful to both grower and beekeeper. Frazier provides a model contract for Pennsylvania growers in the Pennsylvania Spray Guide (available as a PDF on the MAAREC Website: https://agdev Pollination_Contract.pdf). The contract outlines responsibilities of the beekeeper and of the grower. The beekeeper agrees to provide a number of hives of certain strength, for a certain specified period, to open a few hives for the grower's inspection, and to place them properly. The grower agrees to provide accessible sites for the SED colonies, not to apply pesticides while the bees are being URPAS UNS used as pollinators, and the contract has space for listing R ZINC FOLIA which pesticides and methods of application the grower CE! N may use. FORMA PER The grower agrees to dispose of pesticide solutions in such a way that bees won't contact the material when searching for water, and to provide watering facilities for the bees if none are available within a half-mile of the hives. Should the grower need to spray hazardous materials, he/she should give the beekeeper 48 hours notice and pay for the cost of moving the bees away. The contract should also state the rental price. Communicate with your bee supplier. Communicate with your bee suppliers, not only to advise them of your bee needs for the upcoming season but to hear their assessment of the survival and strength of their colonies. The first real test of how the nation's colonies fared over the winter comes with the almond pollination seaJust because you put a foliar zinc on doesn't product on the market today, getting the zinc son, when more than 1.5 million colonies of bees trek to mean the job's done. Some zinc products are into the tree where it is needed. For the best California. "The best measure of the number of colonies so ineffective they are better suited as sunvalue for your nutritional dollar, choose available for pollination nationwide is what they look like screens or paint. In trial after trial, TECHTECH-FLO® ZETA ZINC 22. going into and coming out of the almond crop," Frazier said. FLO® ZETA ZINC 22 (22% Zinc) has been In mid-February, there was indication that the numshown to be the most effective foliar zinc ber of hives available for almonds was down by some 100,000 to 200,000 colonies. "That's a bad sign," she said. ASK YOUR P.C.A. OR CALL NUTRIENT TECHNOLOGIES Protect your pollinators. TOLL-FREE: 877/832-4356 FOR THE DEALER NEAREST YOU. Much work by several collaborating members of Penn State's Center for Pollinator Research has focused on 1 2 …PUTTING ZINC ON PUTTING ZINC IN… 3 TECH-FLO® ZETA ZINC 22 4 18 March 15, 2013 GOOD FRUIT GROWER

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