Almond Board of California Addresses Impact of Fungicide Iprodione on Honey Bee Health in Honey Bee Best Management Practices
The Almond Board of California values peer-reviewed research that brings forth new information to help the almond industry better understand honey bees and how farmers can support their health, including the new study about the effects of almond protection fungicides on honey bee forager survival conducted at the Department of Entomology at Texas A&M University. The study indicates that the fungicide iprodione, an important pest management tool for almond growers during bloom, may impact adult foraging honey bees.
However, there is an important element missing from this conversation: the California Almond community has always worked to ensure almond orchards are a safe place for honey bees and for the past five years has been adapting its practices to avoid the use of fungicides, including iprodione, when bees and pollen are present in orchards.
To this end, the Almond Board developed the Honey Bee Best Management Practices (BMPs), a comprehensive guide for farmers and other pollination stakeholders to protect bees during the almond pollination season and beyond.
In fact, these guidelines specifically discuss iprodione, reiterating a University of California recommendation to avoid its use during almond bloom due to research showing it can affect young, developing bees. Of course, if iprodione is used, it should be applied following the larger fungicide recommendation from the Honey Bee BMPs – that is applied in the late afternoon or evening when bees and pollen are not present.
In the study’s paper published in the Journal for Economic Entomology, the author concludes that “when considering the use of fungicides during the almond bloom, cautious fungicide application in almond orchards is recommended…applying fungicides during times of low honey bee forager activity, such as late evenings, would help mitigate the direct and potential secondary effects of fungicides to honey bee colony health.”
The Almond Board agrees and has been communicating this principle to the industry for over five years through the widely distributed and adopted Honey Bee BMPs, which recommend only applying necessary fungicides in the later afternoon or evening when bees and pollen are not present.
The California Almond community has invested in more than 100 research projects focused on improving honey bee health since 1995 – funding more than any other crop or commodity group. We will continue to actively engage with beekeepers, researchers and other pollination partners to understand and translate research findings to the field with a focus on bee safety.
 Gene Brandi. Vice President, American Beekeeping Federation.
About the Almond Board
Almonds from California are a natural, wholesome and quality food. The Almond Board of California promotes almonds through its research-based approach to all aspects of marketing, farming and production on behalf of the more than 6,000 almond growers and processors in California, many of whom are multi-generational family operations. Established in 1950 and based in Modesto, California, the Almond Board of California is a non-profit organization that administers a grower-enacted Federal Marketing Order under the supervision of the United States Department of Agriculture. For more information on the Almond Board of California or almonds, visit Almonds.com or check out California Almonds on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and the California Almonds blog.