Florida citrus star set to retire

IMG Citrus, a family owned, citrus grower, packer, importer/shipper has been a longtime fixture in Florida’s Indian River citrus-producing community, with impact well beyond. The Vero Beach-based company has announced the upcoming retirement of its vice president, Veronique Sallin, after 40 years with the company. According to IMG officials, Sallin’s retirement will officially begin at the end of the 2019-2020 Florida citrus season.

During her tenure with IMG Citrus, Sallin built and maintained strong relationships with customers around the world. She helped establish the IMG Citrus brand and reputation. Sallin will remain involved through this Florida season as a direct consultant to Sydney Allison, who was recently promoted to director of sales.

Allison has been with the company since 2016. She began as Export-Import Program coordinator and then progressed to sales manager where she reported directly to Sallin. As the director of sales, Allison will construct and implement the sales strategy, reporting to IMG Citrus president Michel Sallin.

Allison’s passion for produce started early at her family’s citrus and blueberry farm. Beyond her family’s history in farming, Allison studied agricultural business at the University of Florida, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Food and Resource Economics and a minor in Horticulture Science.

“She’s a great addition to the citrus industry,” said Scott Deyoe, IMG’s National Accounts manager. “She’s always willing to go the extra mile to help a customer or coworker. Her goal is to get the best outcome for our customers.”

Paul Rusnak is the Senior Managing Online Editor for Florida Grower, American Vegetable Grower, American Fruit Grower, and Greenhouse Grower magazines

Can we fight organic fraud?

On the import side of the coin, we currently purchase just over $2 billion in organically certified agricultural products annually from allies and trade partners around the globe. 

Below the surface, however, a looming threat to the USDA-Certified brand hangs like a cheap, ill-fitting suit: Organic fraud from imports. It threatens to squeeze out U.S. producers by weakening the higher prices that make organic production appealing to many growers.  

Just how widespread is this issue? Nearly 60-70 percent of the agricultural products imported into the U.S. under the USDA-certified organic brand have the potential be fraudulent, or so claims the Organic Farmers’ Agency for Relationship Marketing (OFARM). This figure includes all ag products, not just produce. 

So what can you do to help regulators protect your premiums and the organic market from this threat?

To know that, you must first understand how organic fraudsters are gaming the system.  

Most Common Forms of Fraud 

“A lot of our imported, organic vegetables are coming from Mexico or Central and South America. And there’s actually a couple different avenues for fraud in that regard,” John Bobbe, OFARM’s now-retired former Executive Director, says from his office on his farm in Central Wisconsin. 

One method of organic fudging is simply producing an “organic” crop with non-USDA certified inputs (i.e., conventional). Or even contaminated water or fertilizer. Or one might use conventionally grown seed in an organic production system.  

Yet another avenue is importer funny business. In the simplest of terms, a load of agricultural produce — it could be blue maize from Argentina or crates of rainbow papaya from Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula — leaves port as conventional and then shows up at a U.S. port of entry and the accompanying paperwork has magically transformed to being labeled “USDA-Certified.”  

Crazy how that happens, right? 

We Need to Strengthen the Weak Link 

According to Bobbe, the common thread throughout this entire narrative is the very USDA agency tasked with enforcing the standards of the organic program: the NOP.  

“It all goes back to the National Organic Program in the first place, which today is the weak link in the whole entire organic food chain,” Bobbe states. “As far as I am concerned, they are the weakest link in the entire world.” 

At the heart of Bobbe’s issue with NOP’s enforcement efforts is that the mechanism for enforcement — monetary fines — is basically toothless. Think about it. Importers stand to profit sometimes in the millions from a load of organic produce. And the current maximum fine NOP can levy is a paltry $5,000. That’s a spit in the bucket for some of these criminal enterprises.  

“This is small potatoes,” Bobbe says. 

Increased Demand Stresses Ports  

“Our biggest challenge (in organics) is that the demand continues to way out pace the supply, thus incentivizing the very import fraud we’re discussing here,” notes Michael Sligh, who helped draft the original standards that helped shape the USDA-certified organic program. 

Sligh is a founding father of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) and an organic farmer himself.  

That robust consumer demand, he says, is a good problem to have. But it’s also why the U.S. is stuck importing as much produce as we do. And that, in turn, puts increased pressure on NOP and its inspectors at our borders and ports to ensure imports meet the same standards domestically produced products are held to. 

“This requires greater coordination between USDA, Port Authorities, Food Safety, Foreign Ag Services, and an array of federal agencies and other governments,” he says. And it’s not just the number of agencies and organizations that complicates matters. Each also needs strong agreements, Memorandums of Understandings (MOU), training, and sophisticated instructions to work effectively, he states. 

Fraudsters Take Advantage of the Stressed System

Sligh proposes shifting to a more risk-based fraud prediction model, one that incorporates overseas production data with intra-agency intelligence sharing. He is echoed by Harriet Behar, the current chair of the NOSB, in that regard.  

“Right now, we’re still so busy trying to get caught up on what’s happening. We need to start thinking in terms of 21st century technology and tracking,” she says. 

Today’s method uses an old technology: importers fax a certificate. 

“It is important to remember that these are not just American problems and challenges. They are global ones,” Sligh adds. 

Still, anytime we’re importing billions of dollars of tomatoes and other perishable produce, there are going to be challenges. And temptation. The higher prices organic produce earns over conventional is a big incentive for shady characters to get involved.  

The end goal, all sources contacted for this story agree, is to have very clear, uniform product traceability and labeling requirements from farm to final retail buyer. And that data must be accessible and clearly communicated, as well as understood by inspection teams, at every step of the import process. 

Paper System in a Digital Universe  

Before the advent of digital technologies and wide-scale network connectivity, the organic certification program “kind of grew up on paper” says Behar, who is also a small plot organic herb and vegetable farmer. 

“When most trade was from one state to another, you could call somebody up and check and it was a lot easier, you know? Now, with all of this international trade it is very difficult,” she says. 

First, there’s the language barrier. Certificates from the point of origin generally are in that country’s native language. 

Another challenge is some produce comes from well-established systems that differ from the U.S. Take the E.U. It has different processes and ways of communicating. And well-developed systems like the E.U. tend to be fast-tracked.  

“We have equivalency with them. So, we are saying that if it is European certified organic, then we accept that,” Behar says. 

She sees many of the coming digital technologies helping NOP and agents at the border get out ahead of fraud before it reaches our borders and ports.  

“We’re trying to move toward having some Blockchain technology or electronic certificates,” she says. 

It would be much simpler to have a system where the certified entity contacts the certifier, and then the certifier contacts the buyer and verifies that what is being sold is indeed organic, Behar says. 

Educating Inspectors and Some Help from Congress  

Today, Behar and those at the NOSB are waging battle against fraudulent organic imports on two fronts: by educating U.S. Customs and Border Patrol [CBP] law enforcement officials on the frontlines, and by using the resources and additional funding for standards enforcement provided in the 2018 Farm Bill.  

“We’re just starting to work with CBP to have them understand that when something is labeled as organic and it is coming into the U.S. that it can’t be fumigated. Or if it is fumigated, then the name on that load needs to change to say non-organic,” Behar explains.  

The 2018 Farm Bill expands resources and authority for organic import enforcement. That’s mainly via an extra $5 million in funding for USDA data collection efforts around curbing fraud. 

“There was some really good language [in the Farm Bill],” Behar concedes.  

Still, legislative fix-alls being the rare bird they are, Behar would like to see regulators hold organic import traceability data to the same standards as domestic U.S. producers’ data.  

Currently she sees clear inconsistencies in the level that domestically grown produce is scrutinized as compared to imported produce. Where domestically you have a robust digital paper trail for inspectors to examine, imports are mostly rubber-stamped based on the verification of easily forgetable certificates. 

“I feel pretty good about what happens here in the U.S. But again, I don’t know what is happening overseas,” Behar says. 

National Organic Program Responds  

We reached out to officials with USDA NOP for comment on many of the claims and assertions made throughout this article.  

“Increased federal intra-agency coordination and cooperation among all enforcement agencies is key to protecting that seal, as well,” NOP said in its response.   

If you’d like to read NOP’s full response, we’ve published it on our website, GrowingProduce.com/tag/NOP.  

Consumers May Lose Confidence in Organic Produce  

The ones hurt the most by organic import fraud are America’s end consumers. 

For instance, in the case of a 2016 fraudulent imported pineapples case from Costa Rica, it was American citizens — not the food processors or manufacturers, not the fraudulent importers — that were duped out of $6 million by purchasing fraudulent organic produce. 

“I want them to have trust in our label, and know that I am going to be giving them what they’re expecting, using the tools that nature provides to improve soil fertility, crop health, protect against pests and diseases, support pollinators, and improve the natural resources of my farm,” Harriet Behar, the current chair of National Organics Standards Board, says. “All of those are things that they are expecting as organic consumers, and as a certified organic producer I am doing them. When something fraudulent comes along and breaks that trust, it’s hard to overcome that.” 

What’s a Farmer to Do?  

Any organic producer reading this story is likely asking themselves the same question at this point: Ok, but what now? What can I do to make a difference?  

Sligh harkens back to an age-old adage.  

“The old saying ‘the squeaky wheel gets the grease’ remains my best advice,” he says. “Talk to your members of Congress and urge this along.” 

Here are some talking points you may want to raise: 

Apply pressure for NOP to implement new regulations. There has been recent movement to report, with the U.S. House Ag Subcommittee recently hosting an USDA/NOP oversight hearing. Many of the issues were raised with very strong support. Lawmakers repeatedly urged NOP to implement the new regulations from 2018 Farm Bill passage as soon as possible.  

Give NOP more money to implement inspections. Additionally, growers that secure an audience with their congressional rep should request stepped-up funding for NOP and its inspection programs, as well as great coordination between agencies at the border.  

Increase fines for violators. A $5,000 fine for those companies caught committing organic labeling fraud is a minor cost of business for them. It does little to protect American organic growers who comply with regulations. 

For Behar and her cohorts at NOSB, it goes back to striking while the iron is hot. Or, perhaps, when the (organic) hay is in the barn.  

Right now, growers in the U.S. have “an incredible opportunity” to meet the organics market demand, she notes. But being an organic producer is also rewarding. You see your land improve and you’re able to pass on an improved ecosystem to the next generation. 

“It’s very rewarding to work within nature.”

Matthew J. Grassi is the Technology Editor for Greenhouse Grower and American Vegetable Grower

Jimmy Bassetti to Washington: Solve the Labor Issue Now

Editor’s note: In his Grower Achievement Award acceptance speech, J&D Produce’s Jimmy Bassetti called on Congress, Secretary Perdue, and President Trump to act on issues important to growers. Here is a partial transcript of his speech:

Good morning and thank you all for being here today! I can’t think of a better place to receive an award than right here in our nation’s capitol. Just think about all the great women and men who have helped shape American into the great country in the world!

How did I get here today? My wife Diane and I were blessed to come from two amazing produce families. Diane’s family, the Danitos, and my mom and dad were produce people through and through. Our roots in Vineland, N.J., gave us the foundation to be who we are today. Our parents taught us the value of hard work, honesty, how to treat people with respect and to be transparent. Those have been the cornerstones of our success, with both our customers and our growers.

For that, Diane and I would like to say, thank you. We know you are with us here today, and are proud of us for carrying on your legacies. We miss you and love you.

I have never looked at what we did as work. We sacrificed much and worked long hours to build our version of the American Dream. And we did it for the love of the business, not for the money, not for the awards. We did it because it was our passion!

One last thing. While I have the stage at the Washington Conference here in our nation’s capitol, I would like to share one last message with our Secretary of Agriculture and our Congress and with our President. The message is simple: Get something done.

American fruit and vegetable growers are struggling to survive this labor crisis. Make no bones about it. It is a crisis. We understand that imports are a a very important part of our industry. We import product ourselves.

However, U.S. agriculture, fruits and vegetables specifically, are suffering because we do not have adequate labor to harvest our crops. For decades, our industry has been asking for help and seeking solutions to our labor crisis.

If our elected officials cannot cross the aisles and find legislative solutions, we will eventually find ourselves in a position where this country can no long feed itself.

Thank you all again for being here and everything you do. It’s an honor and a privilege to be here. God bless America and God bless the American farmer.

Carol Miller is Editor of American Vegetable Grower

Innovative solutions to biggest farm problems

As a citrus, fruit, or vegetable grower in 2019, the challenges you’re facing feel more pressing than ever. Perhaps you’re struggling to find an adequate supply of high-quality, affordable labor. Or managing through the requirements of a tough, but critically important food safety program. Or dealing with new and familiar trade issues. Whatever the problem, you need real, innovative, actionable solutions. That’s what Growing Innovations is all about.

Back for a second year in Las Vegas, Nov. 13-14, 2019, Growing Innovations is an event where every element of the conference program and every company and product on the expo floor has been vetted to make sure it offers real, grower-tested solutions to the real challenges you deal with every day. You can read more about our agenda and expert roster of speakers at GrowingInnovations.com.

Here are just a few of the sessions that will inspire you to consider new approaches and help you run your operation more efficiently and effectively next season.

How Molecular Diagnostics Can Help You Make Better Pest Management Decisions | Frank Martin, USDA-ARS

Your ability to rapidly and accurately determine which pathogens are present in the field is important for making timely management decisions. Advances in molecular techniques and DNA sequencing technologies have made it easier to develop effective assays, and Frank Martin from USDA-ARS will tell you about new techniques that can literally eliminate weeks of diagnostic time. From a highly sensitive lab-based approach to one that can be done directly in the field in as little as 15 minutes, you’ll see how these innovations may help you make near-real-time decisions to produce the highest-quality crop.

New Uses for Drone Technology in Specialty Crops | Max Jehle, MAX Agricultural Consultants and Matt Koball, Oobus Orchards

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, or drones, have been one of the most visible symbols of precision technology, first in row crops, and now in specialty crops. But applications aren’t limited to field flyovers and sensing imagery. From the labor-saving application of biological control agents to timely pollen delivery during bloom, growers are using drone technology to solve some of their biggest production problems in previously unimagined ways.

Growing Citrus Under Cover | Ed Pines, EIP Citrus

Florida’s citrus industry has been devastated over the past decade by citrus greening, a disease that weakens trees, reduces yields, and leaves fruit unmarketable. With no cure in sight, the Dundee Citrus Growers Association is implementing a truly innovative solution – excluding the vector of citrus greening, the Asian citrus psyllid, by growing citrus in more than 100 acres of protective screen houses. In this session, you’ll get a grower’s take on how sometimes the completely outside-the-box idea can change your business and your market.

State of the Art in the Packinghouse | Ross Williams, Titan Farms

Innovation isn’t only happening in the field. The tools, design, and operation of today’s packinghouse are another critical area for finding efficiencies that help the grower and the supply chain make better use of data, improve recordkeeping and traceability, and enhance margins. In this session you’ll hear from a progressive grower/packer operation on how they’re incorporating the latest technology to enhance the future – and the present – for their business.

An Innovative Approach to Food Safety | George Nikolich, Gerawan Farming

Food safety is one of the most critical issues facing the produce industry. Contamination at any point from the field to the consumer’s plate can lead to dire outcomes for everyone involved. Making changes requires technological advances, but also a willingness among everyone in the supply chain to develop a culture and a commitment to the process. Gerawan Farming’s George Nikolich will share how his company translates food safety science to production realities. You’ll learn how you can, and should, be having a similar discussion in your own operation.

Richard Jones is Executive Editor for Meister Media Worldwide's U.S. Horticulture Group

Making a difference at citrus cariety display events

The fall brings numerous opportunities for the Florida citrus industry to engage with the plant improvement teams at the UF/IFAS and USDA-ARS. While field trials remain essential to answering the questions of productivity, fruit and fruiting characteristics, rootstock selection, and overall tolerance, step one for many selections has been a favorable showing at citrus variety display events.

When growers, nurseries, packers, processors, gift fruit shippers, and marketers gather to sample and discuss the characteristics and potential marketability and suitability of newly discovered citrus selections, their feedback is important to the variety release process. Plant improvement teams are careful to only include those selections that appear to be healthy and productive in the field. It then becomes necessary to conduct a fruit evaluation process.

Participation in variety displays is a commitment. It takes time from your busy schedule to drive to the event, and it then requires about an hour to complete the process. You are generally asked to complete a survey, and these survey responses are the heart and soul of the entire process. The temptation is to come, sample the selections that appear to have the most promise, make some personal notes, visit with friends and colleagues, and then depart.

This practice provides little value to the plant improvement teams and fails to provide them the information to meet the industry’s new variety needs. We strongly encourage attendees to complete the survey sheets and sample as many selections as possible, regardless of whether the selection appears to fit a particular product line.

Processors may find their interest peaks by a selection initially thought to be only for the fresh market. The inverse also can prove true. No special skills are required; only a love for this industry and a willingness to contribute time and experience.

Selections are generally divided into the general categories of processing orange and orange-like, orange and orange-like for fresh, grapefruit and grapefruit-like, pummelo and pummelo-like hybrids, tangerine/mandarin and specialty hybrids, and occasionally some acid fruit selections. Attendees are increasingly finding that some of the most promising fruit selections no longer fit into our traditional category descriptors. This will present come challenges in classification and marketing, but it’s a good problem to have.

There is much work to be done this fall. Please share this information with your friends, staff and colleagues.

New Varieties Development & Management Corp. extends its appreciation to the UF/IFAS and USDA-ARS teams who make these display events possible. The extensive preparation that goes into these productions does not go unnoticed.

Citrus Variety Display Events 2019/2020

UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center (CREC), Lake Alfred (all 10 a.m.)

• October 15

• November 14

• December 10

• February 14

UF/IFAS Indian River Research and Education Center (IRREC), Fort Pierce (10 a.m.)

• January 16

UF-Gainesville Field Day and Facility Tour

• November 1 – 10:30 a.m. – Teaching Orchard

As outlined in my recently published article, Dr. Jose Chaparro’s program has undergone significant change to make some of the on-campus citrus land available for other University purposes. Many of the new selections had to be buck-horned back, catalogued, and moved. Therefore, there is a very limited amount of fruit available for sampling. However, despite the longer drive this may require, this is a good opportunity to tour the facilities and see the work being done to contribute to the plant improvement process. Those in northern counties also would benefit from this tour, as much of the material in this smaller program was originally bred for cold tolerance.

USDA-ARS – Whitmore Foundation Farm

• December 5 – 10:30 a.m. (variety sampling and optional farm tour)

• Followed by a Florida Citrus Research Foundation board meeting

The CREC and USDA-ARS plant improvement teams were asked to provide a glimpse into what they expect to include in their fall displays (through December). New discoveries are made each year, as fruit matures, so this is not a comprehensive list. There will be some surprises in the coming weeks.


• The most interesting selections from the past three years, from each fruit category, will be displayed.

• Fresh Selections in the FAST TRACK program are displayed whenever fruit is available.

• Juice samples will be available in November and December, but not likely for October. Most of the juice will likely be unpasteurized, except for promising juice blends available in larger quantities, which may be pasteurized.

• Triploid mandarins with good early brix and color will be shown. A couple of these will be available in October, the rest will be available in November and December.

• Canker-tolerant, early maturing grapefruit, and grapefruit-like.


• The team hopes to show two of the orange-like hybrids growing in Polk County.

• ‘US Sundragon’ – HLB tolerant orange-like selection recently released into public domain

• A white grapefruit-like selection that appears to have some HLB tolerance (contains seeds)

• A red grapefruit-like selection that will be a little ahead of its maturity (contains some seeds)

• A range of sizes of early maturing, seedless tangerines

• Several more seedless tangerines that will either be in their peak season or slightly ahead of their maturity window. One tangerine is showing useful HLB tolerance, which will be shown in original and low-seeded form.

• Low-seeded ‘Fortune’ x ‘Encore’ crosses that have generated a lot of attention. They will not be fully ripe on Dec. 5, but it’s a good chance to see them.

Peter Chaires is executive director of the New Varieties Development & Management Corp.

Promoting better pollination in Southern Highbush blueberries

Southern highbush blueberry is dependent upon pollinating insects for adequate fruit set. Some Florida growers have reported cases of low fruit set in recent years, which may have been due in part to poor pollination. Symptoms of insufficient pollination include low ratios of fruit to flowers, delayed petal fall, petals turning brown while still on the bush, small berries, and a low number of seeds per berry.

Implementing pollination best practices can help minimize the likelihood of poor pollination.

Blueberry Pollinators

The primary insect pollinators of southern highbush blueberries in Florida are managed honey bees and bumble bees. Although honey bees are the most commonly used pollinators, certain foraging behaviors can make them less-effective pollinators. For example, workers generally collect nectar but not pollen from blueberry flowers, and will sometimes “rob” nectar through slits in the petals, which minimizes contact with the flower’s reproductive organs.

Managed bumble bees can be more efficient pollinators of blueberry flowers than honey bees due to their ability to cause increased pollen shed through sonication (vibrating the flower by rapid wing movement), active blueberry pollen collection, and higher rates of visits to blueberry flowers. Research has shown that it takes four visits by a honey bee to deposit the same amount of pollen as one queen bumble bee. In addition, bumble bees can pollinate up to six flowers in the same time it takes honey bees to pollinate one flower. Bumble bees also are typically more active than honey bees during cool or wet weather. However, options for purchasing managed bumble bees are limited, and the activity of these pollinators may depend on the quality of commercial colonies.

While other bees pollinate wild blueberries in Florida, including the native specialist bee Habropoda laboriosa (the southeastern blueberry bee), wild bumble bee species, carpenter bees, sweat bees, and mining bees, the activity of these pollinators on southern highbush blueberry is minimal. This is likely due to a combination of the very early bloom time for southern highbush blueberry as well as commercial farm landscape and management practices that may reduce wild insect populations.

Poor Pollination Contributors

Too few bees: General recommendations are four to eight honey bees foraging on each blueberry bush during peak bloom and the warmest part of the day. Fewer numbers may result in a lower level of pollination. However, if more effective pollinators, such as managed bumble bees, are present and active on blueberry flowers, fewer bees overall may be needed. In some cases, growers may bring in a high density of managed bees but see little activity on blueberry flowers. This might be due to the size or health of the colonies, competition for bees between blueberry flowers and other flowering plants in the region, or low attractiveness of the blueberry field (due to low flower density, pesticide applications, or availability of nectar and pollen, for example).

Wet or windy weather: Cloudy, cool, windy, or rainy weather can minimize bee activity, resulting in low pollination. Also, flowers may not shed pollen as easily when conditions are humid, making them more dependent on bee sonication, such as that provided by bumble bees, for pollen release.

Self-incompatibility and single-cultivar plantings: Although southern highbush blueberries are generally capable of producing fruit when self-pollinated, cross-pollination with a different variety may result in higher fruit set, larger fruit, and earlier fruit maturity. Therefore, large blocks of single southern highbush blueberry cultivars may not achieve optimal fruit set.

Flower thrips: A heavy thrips presence during bloom can significantly reduce pollination through damage to flower reproductive organs.

Best Practices for Improved Pollination

Pollinator density: Current recommendations are four or more honey bee hives/acre for a standard density planting (around 1,700 plants per acre). These recommendations will increase for higher density plantings. In addition, if there is a concentrated bloom or poor weather, a greater number of bees may be required for adequate pollination. Alternatively, if managed bumble bees are used or if there are significant populations of wild bees, fewer honey bee hives may be needed.

Honey bee hive placement timing and location: Bee hives should be placed in the production field at or after 10 percent bloom but before 20 percent bloom. Placement too early when blueberry flower density is low may result in honey bees searching outside of the field for flowers and reduced foraging within the farm throughout the season. Hives should be placed in multiple locations around the farm to the extent possible without hindering production operations, facing east or southeast so they are exposed to morning sun and sheltered from strong winds.

Honey bee colony health: Growers should check the health of bee colonies upon delivery and throughout the bloom period. Eight or more of the 10 frames in a hive should be covered with adults), and six or more frames should have brood in the cells. A healthy colony will have steady activity into and out of the hive during good weather.

Mixed-cultivar plantings: Current recommendations are to plant at least two unrelated cultivars with a similar bloom period in the same general area. Although there is no specific guidance on the ideal number of alternating southern highbush blueberry rows, planting large solid blocks of a single cultivar is not recommended for optimal pollination.

Managed bumble bees: Growers should consider adding managed bumble bee colonies to supplement honey bees for successful pollination. The recommended density for managed bumble bees, which are typically sold in four packs known as quads, is one quad per acre when used along with honey bees at the recommended rate. Bumble bee colonies should be placed at least 25 feet away from honey bee colonies and also distributed throughout the farm to reduce negative interactions with honey bees.

Careful pesticide use: Pesticide selection during bloom is important in protecting bees. Delegate WG (spinetoram, Corteva) and Entrust (spinosad, Corteva) are toxic to bees for three hours after application (until it has thoroughly dried), but are relatively non-toxic to bees thereafter. Neonicotinoid insecticides should be avoided during or shortly before bloom. The best time to spray any pesticides is late evening when bees are not foraging and the residue has time to dry before bee activity begins the following morning.

Dr. Rachel Mallinger is an Assistant Professor, Pollinator Ecology and Conservation with UF/IFAS


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