“It will be interesting to see how that affects bee hours. We did get the bees we wanted but I’m hearing rumors that a lot of weak colonies are out there this year. Some people have complained that they’re only seeing 6 out of the 8 frames they wanted. They’d like for frames to be filled but they say there are a lot of hives with only 6 frames and partials.
“The bees that are out there haven’t been too active. At 9:30 a.m. yesterday morning there were no bees flying around. We’ve had temperatures at night around 32 and in the low 50s during the day.
“Looking ahead, we’re trying to make some decisions about using puffers. We may try them in one orchard because the neighbor had puffers last year and he complained because my grower didn’t. We had less damage than he did. But unless everyone puts in puffers, the only guy who has them draws in everyone else’s male moths, and I think that was his complaint.
“I’m a little leery because it’s difficult to synchronize all the farmers around you to do what you want them to do.”
Tony Touma, PCA, Bio Ag Consulting, Bakersfield
“The last two nights (from 2/8) have probably been the coldest this winter. Roofs in my neighborhood were frosty and the grass was white. That was in Bakersfield but it might have even been a little colder out in the country.
“Bloom seems to be running at about the historic norm – not too early, not too delayed. In places, Nonpareils are maybe at 5% bloom and the Sonoras are around 15% in some areas. Other varieties are at early pink bud. For February 8, that’s about right.
“I still have orchards without blooms. As you move toward the Grapevine, things are a bit further along but still not enough to spray. I’m really not in a big hurry to begin applying fungicides.
“There aren’t enough pink buds present yet in our neighborhood, and those aren’t elongated enough yet to get protection into the bloom. And with these cold conditions, we haven’t had the kind of weather to promote diseases.
“If we did want to spray right now, I don’t see how we could fit it in. The forecast calls for rain tonight, then on Sunday and then again on Wednesday and Thursday next week. There’s really no immediate treatment window, so we’re playing it by ear.