28 Oct 2011

Fruitgrower rep reassures beekeepers about spray use

11:02 am on 28 October 2011

A Hawke's Bay fruitgrowers' representative has assured beekeepers that growers won't be spraying their trees until hives providing pollination services have been removed.

Normally, beekeepers try to have their hives out of the orchards by Labour Weekend, but with flowering running up to a fortnight late this season, there are still thousands of hives on site, mainly in apple orchards.

Beekeepers are worried that growers who are used to spraying at this time of the year might start using insecticides that are lethal to bees and other insects.

Hawke's Bay Fruitgrowers president Leon Stallard says growers are well aware that the season is late and his members are holding back on spraying insecticides.

Beekeepers are particularly concerned about carbaryl sprays - insecticides used by growers at this time of year to thin the crop by destroying weaker flowers.

Mr Stallard says growers are moving away from these sprays and turning to sulphur-based sprays that are safe for bees to do this job.