Good Fruit Grower

March 15

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Page 14 of 47 GOOD FRUIT GROWER MARCH 15, 2016 15 C ome pollination season, orchardists are at the mercy of factors they can't control — weather, cold and varroa mites to name a few. However, Eric Olson of Olson's Honey in Yakima, Washington, suggests several things growers can control to make sure their bees have the best chance to set a lot of fruit. He shared them in December at the Washington State Tree Fruit Association annual meeting in Yakima. "There really is no mystery to pollination," said Olson, one of the largest commercial bee- keepers in the nation. The healthier the hive, the more work the bees will do for you. —Use 12-paneled hives. The larger, denser hives will foster up to 36,000 bees, and half of the bees will be devoted to forage. A six-paneled hive will support maybe 6,000 bees and spare only 20 percent of them for forage; the rest will have to stay home to keep the brood warm and tend to the queen. —Place beehives in open areas with lots of sun. Too many orchardists worry too much about spreading out colonies for coverage and end up with hives in the shade or with trees blocking the entrances. Overall hive health and warmth is more important than spacing. —Don't use windbreaks. "Waste of time," Olson called them. They just block the sun and do more harm than good. Besides, they only fool the bees for a few seconds; once the bees have fl own above or around the break, they realize how windy it is and return to their hive. —Place hives on top of bins or take other measures to keep them warm and dry. This is especially important for growers who use irriga- tion water for frost control. If hives get wet, they will spend the entire day drying out, which cools them down and keeps them home. Again, bees need to be warm to leave the hive. —Make sure hives have fresh water. Bees like leaky irrigation faucets and trickling sprinkler heads. They also like mud. If you set out buckets, change out the water routinely and lay burlap over the water surface to prevent the bees from drowning. —Make sure they have a nectar source. Bees fi nd protein from the pollen in your trees but they need nectar for carbohydrates. Dandelions are a good source. "Obviously, I really believe in dandelions," Olson said. • PLAY Eric Olson shares how to get the best pollination out of your bees. Watch the Good Fruit Grower video at W W W.W I L L A M E T T E N U R S E R I E S .C O M ( 503 ) 263-6405 TOLL FREE: ( 800 ) 852-2018 Prunus avium/P. mahaleb M.106/M.7/M.26/B.118 Gisela Series Kyrmsk Series OHxF Series Geneva® Series M.9 Clones CANBY, OREGON are planted with the most popular seedling, semi-dwarf and dwarf varieties: Like our rootstock, our service will grow on you. All Fruit tree rootstock is Oregon certified virus-free. We also grow a great selection of rootstock varieties for apple, peach pear and plum including: MALUS ANTONOVKA MALUS DOMESTICA PRUNUS PERSICA 'LOVELL' PRUNUS CERASIFERA PRUNUS MARIANA PRUNUS MYROBALAN PYRUS CALLERYANA PYRUS COMMUNIS PYRUS USSERIENSIS PROVENCE QUINCE APPLE PEACH PLUM PEAR TECH-FLO ® ZETA ZINC 22 ASK YOUR P.C.A. OR CALL NUTRIENT TECHNOLOGIES TOLL-FREE: 877/832-4356 FOR THE DEALER NEAREST YOU. Just because you put a foliar zinc on doesn't mean the job's done. Some zinc products are so ineffective they are better suited as sun- screens or paint. In trial after trial, TECH- FLO ® ZETA ZINC 22 (22% Zinc) has been shown to be the most effective foliar zinc product on the market today, getting the zinc into the tree where it is needed. For the best value for your nutritional dollar, choose TECH-FLO ® ZETA ZINC 22. UNSURPASSED FOLIAR ZINC PERFORMANCE! …PUTTING ZINC ON PUTTING ZINC IN… PUTTING ZINC IN…

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