27 Oct 2011

Beekeepers worried about spray threat in orchards

9:35 pm on 27 October 2011

Beekeepers in Hawke's Bay are pleading with pipfruit growers to hold off spraying until they've removed their hives from orchards.

Beekeepers who supply pollination services to growers still have thousands of hives in apple orchards.

Normally they are gone by Labour Weekend, leaving growers free to spray the trees with carbaryl, an insecticide which is used as a crop thinner.

But Tom Taylor of the Pollination Association says pipfruit flowering has been running more than a fortnight late this year, leaving the bees at risk of being wiped out by spray before they're removed to safety.

He says there are still about 7000 beehives in Hawke's Bay orchards and they may not be able to be removed until the end of next week.

Mr Taylor is asking growers to check with beekeepers, as well as neighbouring orchardists, to make sure they are clear of hives before they start spraying.