Jump to content
NZ Beekeepers +
Alastair

Avocado Pollination Questions

Recommended Posts

Alastair    4,329

First time i have hives pollinating avocados and have some questions. Just today checked hives, they are lightish maybe 3 full combs of honey each plus they got fed 9 litres syrup today.

The trees are about to flower what i need to know is how much nectar do they make, will the bees be self sufficient through flowering season? They are a long way from home and hoping to avoid hauling syrup up there if not needed.

 

The other biggy is spray, the owner told me the trees are getting sprayed in a few days for thrips and leaf rollers. He doesn't know what chemicals his contractor will use but said it has not affected rental bees he has had there in the past. Should i be worried?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tristan    2,941

what breed of avo's ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Happy    72

Depending on the season they will either swarm or starve

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Cyathea    351

Last year was not great for us? Feeding quite a bit, especially while the Karaka were flowering, we didn't get much honey

Had to keep a real good eye on the hives.

Year before we had avo honey coming out our ears!! Bees did fabulously, but it was a bumper year all over. So, the short answer, it depends...

As far as spraying, our orchardists either did not spray at all while the bees were in, or sprayed at night. No problems to the bees

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Cyathea    351

I prefer the trees are at 10-20% flowering before the bees go in, otherwise can be feeding a lot.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tristan    2,941
The trees are about to flower what i need to know is how much nectar do they make, will the bees be self sufficient through flowering season?

depends on what type of avo they are. nectar tends to be extremely variable.

some years nothing, some years you can take honey off them, but generally they will look after themselves. like all beekeeping that can be location dependent.

 

usually its the orchard owners that request bees in at 10%. that due to having enough flowers open as they need to have a male flower open as well as a female flower open. in some aeras that also a temp thing. to cold and they do not set.

 

 

The other biggy is spray, the owner told me the trees are getting sprayed in a few days for thrips and leaf rollers. He doesn't know what chemicals his contractor will use but said it has not affected rental bees he has had there in the past. Should i be worried?

it also depends on how they do it. usually find most are very good with spraying. a lot of orchards will spray at night.

most spray damage i've had is usually due to neighboring orchards who will either not get bees in, or get them in late.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Alastair    4,329

Thanks that's the kind of info i need, very helpful. Guess i'll just have to keep an eye on them feed wise.

I did get a vibe from some of them today they might try to swarm in a month or so, have discussed with the orchard owner he will be fine with me splitting them long as all bees stay on site.

Didn't think to ask what kind of avo's they are although i saw some hanging that looked like hass and in another part there are smaller rounder ones. Will ask next time i see him.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pinnacle    331

Seems very early for Avos to flower, even right up north. Even if they're running a little early this year, like other crops down here, I would be surprised if they're at 10% flower before end of September?

 

Avos generally pretty good for bees, but as cyathea said, I would want 10-20% flower before going in, or you might need sugar at the start. Avos often a long flowering period compared other crops, can be as long as 6-8 weeks.

 

Regards sprays I would definitely be concerned enough to to find out exactly what is being applied. Avos are one of the few crops that still use old chemistry organophosphate, synthetic pyrethroid and potentially carbamate products. Find out exactly what is being used, I'm happy to provide some further comment if you let me know what products they want to spray.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
kaihoka    867

Even if they sprayed at night wouldn't a spray residue still be on the plants in the morning.

Could that still harm the bees ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Alastair    4,329

Ok i rang the guy, he now says they are not spraying insecticide at this point, it is a spray on fertiliser.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tristan    2,941
Even if they sprayed at night wouldn't a spray residue still be on the plants in the morning.

Could that still harm the bees ?

havn't found it to be a problem. i assume its absorbed over night.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pinnacle    331
Posted (edited)
Even if they sprayed at night wouldn't a spray residue still be on the plants in the morning.

Could that still harm the bees ?

Depends entirely on the active. Some chemistry is fine once dry - new chemistry like spinosad or some older synthetic pyrethroid like mavrick for instance, taufluvalinate (which might ring a bell - apistan?) is fine once dry. Some like chlorpyrifos or carbaryl, highly toxic to bees next day if foraging, even if dry.

 

The odd one like Abamectin, used at this time of year in Avos, purported to be safe to bees but when you look closely, I am not at all sure that is the case...

 

foliar fertilisers are fine.

Edited by Guest
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
kaihoka    867

Generally if I have to spray an insecticide it's not on anything the bees would visit and I am reluctant to spray even at night on flowering plants they use.

But I do use fungicides like copper and sulphur which I assume do not harm the bees.

But lately I have used thiram on garlic for rust.

I do not know how bees react to fungicides.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Cyathea    351

It does seem very early for them to go in, we are just now chatting to orchardists about placement (new contracts) and the trees (hass) are just budding. We don't expect to move any hives until mid to late October, however the exact time will be dictated by the tree, and the night time temps, the trees need to have approx 18 degrees for a certain period for the flowers to turn from female to male, allowing pollination to take place

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Alastair    4,329

OK, thanks. I know nothing about avocados, the owner told me he wanted the bees in during August, so that's what I did. I have a suspicion he asked for this cos he apparently had problems with his last beekeeper and was worried I would not deliver.

 

When I was there a couple days ago he said they will start flowering in a couple of weeks. However incase he is wrong I'll keep tabs on the feed situation till I actually see flowers. Just, it's a long drive and the less I have to go there the better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kiwi Bee    385

@Alastair, how many hives did you need to have minimum? Singles or doubles? Only your hives in the orchard or there are others too?

I heard many versions but not from pollinator bkpers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Alastair    4,329

I don't know what minimum and maximum hive numbers are for avocados, someone else will probably know though. The guy wanted more but I could only spare 32 hives for this, I see it as a learning experience and may commit more hives next year. The hives I supplied are doubles with single brood box with an excluder. I don't know what normal hive configuration is for avocados someone else may chip in. There were other hives the other beekeeper had left there but I told the owner I cannot move in if someone else is there so the other hives are gone.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
yesbut    3,477

What's actually the appeal of trying this ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tony    1,853

I actually leave hives in a local avo orchard all year round, there is a really nice warm sheltered corner in this orchard and the bees do very well, I have had no issues with spray the owner is  responsible its a win win situation for us I get a awesome site plus some avos and he gets pollination and honey.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Alastair    4,329
Posted (edited)

<<What's actually the appeal of trying this ?>>

 

So that the little avocado flowers can have a special hug, which makes little baby avocados, which become big avocados, which get sold for money, in anticipation of which, the owner gives the beekeeper, some money.

Edited by Alastair
  • Like 2
  • Haha 8

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tristan    2,941
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Kiwi Bee said:

@Alastair, how many hives did you need to have minimum? Singles or doubles? Only your hives in the orchard or there are others too?

I heard many versions but not from pollinator bkpers.

there is no set standard.

there is a published guide line but i've never heard of anyone crazy enough to actually follow it.

it seams to be made for one part of the country and with unlimited budget.

just like beeks, avo guys all have their own ways and there own reasons.

 

in the north i think many are just happy to get any beek they can afford. many have been dropping pollination in favor of honey crop.

 

Edited by tristan
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Alastair    4,329

Agreed, that's what the guy told me, he said the beekeepers have told him they can make far too much money from manuka to put hives on his place unless he pays a very high price. He was careful to not tell me what that very high price was though. >:(

 

So I'm flying blind, what are typical rates for avocado pollination?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Cyathea    351
Posted (edited)

Around $200 a hive seems the ballpark figure and the orchards that seem to consistently do the best have a hive per acre of trees, but some guys want far less, so it is up to the individual, but if we are asked we suggest a hive per acre.

Edited by Cyathea
  • Thanks 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ChrisM    597

I was recently asked about this subject by a friend in the Pongakawa area (between Te Puke and Whakatane). I said that because he was adjacent covered kiwifruit it was likely that the bees for those would be mostly in his avo's and avoiding the kiwifruit as much as possible. with Hicane being splashed around right at the moment and bees coming in later for pollination, the question is whether he really needs to get in extra bees before kiwifruit pollination kicks off. I don't do pollination so I have no vested interest either way. I suppose if he has flowers in October, he should buy some bumbles (?).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×