Honey Maker Farm

Using Pesticides Well

You can use many (not all) pesticides around bees without causing significant injury to the colony if you follow a few simple rules:
1.  Spray only the leaves - NOT THE FLOWERS!  Bees are not attracted by the greenery but do come to the flowers which, if sprayed, will cause death to them and maybe to the whole colony if they take the poison back to the hive.  Watch out for the wind drift onto flowers as well.

2.  Spray ONLY LATE IN THE DAY!  Honey bees go to work in the AM just like us and they go home in the evening, also just like us.  They do not stay out overnight unless caught by weather.  If you spray in the morning you will undoubtedly kill bees, but if you wait until they go home for the day you will only be killing the creepy crawly night critters, and unfortunately some of the pollinators that do stay out overnight like bumblebees.

3.  Select the FORM OF THE PESTICIDE manufactured in the following order:  Large Pellets (look like fertilizer pellets in your pots, can't be carried by a bee)  - then Granules (looks like kitty litter, also too big to fit in their pollen baskets) - then Wetable Powders (they leave a dry thin film on the leaves that looks like water spot on your glassware).

4.  DO NOT EVER USE DUSTS (like Sevin and so forth) or "microencapsulated" poisons as they look just like pollen to a bee who gets covered with it from head to "toes" (remember bees are fuzzy and everything sticks to them) and will take it back to the hive and feed it to the young brood killing the whole hive in short order.

5.  Spray WHEN IT IS DRY outside and not likely to rain or be misty so the poison does not collect in water or droplets on the leaves with which the bee will come into contact.  Besides, wet weather only wastes your pesticide dollars by diluting it anyway.

6.  NEVER clean out and pour leftover poison from your sprayer out into the driveway or make a puddle - pour it into the grass.  Bees need water and are attracted to puddles and such.  The poison on the driveway will also dry out in the sun turning to dust (which looks just like pollen) and is very deadly to bees.

7.  Lastly (for now) PICK A POISON THAT ACTS RAPIDLY AND THEN GOES AWAY QUICKLY.  Don't pick a systemic one that "Keeps on killing for weeks"   like Imidocloprid or the other neonicotinoids (do a Google search or read the labels for more info), or SEVIN which can last 7-10 days. The longer it stays active the more bees you will kill even after the other pests are gone.  The bees will keep coming back to pollinate for you, that's their job afterall and they love to do it,  but everytime they do you will be killing them for their service.

If you do these simple things you will save many bees the agony of a poisoning death. YOU CAN DO THIS! It only takes a few minutes of your time and a little thinking ahead to save the bees.  YOU REALLY CAN DO THIS!

Don't kill everything that you do not like the looks of -
Live and let live if you possibly can -  Without the ugly munching caterpillars you see in the spring, you will have no beautiful butterflies to marvel at in the summer.