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Petal fall set to be declared north of 7th Standard Road Thursday

Posted at 6:00 PM, Apr 24, 2024

SHAFTER, Calif. (KERO) — The declaration allows citrus growers and pesticide operators to spray their fields, but advises them to stay in contact with beekeepers operating in the area.

  • On Thursday at 12:01 a.m., Kern County Ag Commissioner Glenn Fankhauser put out a press release signifying 75% petal fall north of 7th Standard Road. The declaration "serves as a signal to the bee industry that the use of pesticides toxic to honeybees may be made to citrus 48 hours or more after April 25, 2024, without advanced notification to the beekeeper," per the release.
  • 23ABC spoke with Casey Creamer, the President and CEO of California Citrus Mutual, said the practice of waiting to apply pesticides that are toxic to bees while groves are in bloom is a great partnership between growers and beekeepers.
  • According to the release from Fankhauser and in talking with Creamer, the declaration still requires pesticide operators and growers to stay within pesticide regulations and advised both to notify beekeepers of their intent to spray pesticides toxic to bees in areas where bees are active.
  • More information about Petal Fall restrictions in Kern County can be found on the Kern County Ag Commission website.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

I'm Sam Hoyle, your Shafter neighborhood reporter on Thursday, the Kern County Ag Commission will declare Petal Fall north of 7th Standard, which may seem like an innocuous mishmash of words to the average person, but for citrus growers and farmers across Kern County, it's an important point in time as they look to preserve their citrus groves and their partnership with beekeepers across Kern County and beyond.

With Petal fall being declared on Thursday, citrus growers and pesticide operators can spray for pests like citrus thrips which caused millions of dollars in damages last season. According to Casey Creamer from California Citrus Mutual, though they can spray they do need to be cognizant of bees and beekeepers operating in the area and work within the letter of the law.

"Depending on the chemistry that's that's there. You're gonna have some additional restrictions whether it's complete petal fall or you know, different sorts of guidance. It's in the label is the law. And there's very strict enforcement of that. So it is really it's it's it's grower, the PCA working, understanding the labels and the law working with the county commissioners, irregardless of the bloom districts," said Creamer.

But citrus doesn't need pollination to flourish. So why are bees out there? According to Creamer, growers and beekeepers work in tandem to provide access to the crops while they're in bloom to help the health of hives across the state.

"Bees are a very important part of pollination for many crops critical to agriculture and for the food supply. And — but citrus doesn't need bees in its fields, but it's very advantageous for bees and beekeepers to be in, in citrus fields during bloom. That's the time when they come and feed and it just provides them a really healthy diet. So it's a beneficial partnership between us and the beekeepers," said Creamer.

To learn more about the restrictions that citrus growers and farmers are required to abide by when it comes to non toxic pesticides to bees. We'll have links to those in the story on our website.


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