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Bloom Timing and Honey Bee Foraging Models  

Wednesday May 20, 2020

Bee pollinator active on pear blossoms
Full bloom in high density apples 

Bloom Timing and Honey Bee Foraging Models  

Why is bloom important?
Activities surrounding bloom timing in the orchards is directly related to the current year's crop set, and subsequently to that years crop return. Accurate knowledge of the conditions leading up to full bloom, and the approximate date of when the bloom timing will occur, allow growers the opportunity to plan ahead for management during this time. Pollination is arguably the most important activity that needs to occur during bloom timing, as without pollination there will be no fruit set. By having foreknowledge about bloom time conditions, growers can plan ahead for organizing beehives, time thinning sprays and plan for petal fall sprays once the optimal bee foraging time has been completed.  
 
How the BC DAS system can help: Keeping you Informed + Equipped
The BC Das Bloom Timing system provides information about the current year's bloom timing based on the apple varieties Ambrosia, Cripps Pink, Gala and Red Delicious in the growers' specific geographic location. Using information from the local weather stations that the grower has selected as being reflective for their orchard, the BC DAS system provides the grower with up to date information regarding when the predicted onset of growth stages are set to occur, from Green Tip through Bloom and onto Petal Fall. Knowledge of these specific timings will aid growers in advance, whereby growers can practice good orchard management and organizing spray schedules and control practices during this busy season.  
The Honey Bee Foraging Model is an important component to be used in conjunction with the Bloom timing models on the BC DAS. Using current weather information such as temperature, rainfall, wind and solar effects, the BC DAS system predicts when honey bees are most likely to be foraging, and provides this information in a chart format. In this way, growers are able to see the conditions over the previous 3 days, information for the today's date, and predictions for the upcoming 2 days, and follow along with the predicted bee activity in their orchard. By monitoring bee foraging, growers are able to make better decisions about when and what to spray, by being informed about the pollenation activity happening in their orchard.  
Additionally, included in the BC DAS system is the Spray Guide which provides information regarding the effects of products on pollinators and beneficials, as well as gives growers recommendations for when to spray, such as in the early morning and evenings. The DAS Spray Guide offers different spray options, rates and timings, allowing growers to plan spray schedules in advance, as well as allowing the grower to select for product options currently registered for either conventional or organic use. Used together, these models on the BC DAS system reflect both the information and the tools required for growers to work more effectively during the bloom time.    
 
Still interested in finding out more? Check out our BC DAS Bloom Timing and Honey Bee Foraging models video on YouTube to connect horticultural knowledge from the field with the online DAS program: