I'm trying to treat my azaleas for lace bugs without harming my honeybees. I'm especially concerned since it's not just wild bees. I've started a hive.
I've been looking into it and my local AG Extension website shows three chemicals I'm interested in. One is 'Acephate' which is a foliar spray that is systemic. I think the effects my last 1-3 weeks. The other two are 'Imidacloprid' and 'Dinotefuran'. The last two are either granular or a drench, but they're also systemic and are supposed to treat for an entire season.
I'd love to use one of the latter two, but I'm worried for my bees. A couple of my azaleas try to grow every year and end up damaged and poor looking. I'm almost positive it's lace bugs after doing some research this year. A lot of last years leaves are yellow and spotty and have dark spots like insects or insect poop on the underside.
I know the systemic poisons can be harmful to bees, because it can travel up and enter the pollen and nectar. However, I was hoping someone could tell me if it's harmful to them if applied after flowering has stopped. If they aren't flowering, then they won't have nectar and they bees won't ingest the poison.
I know, however, that azaleas start growing the following years flowers when the ones from this year drop. So, will they systemic poison applied after flowers drop this year, pollute the nectar for next years flowers?
Thanks for any help or info on this. I'd like to see my azaleas do well this year without harming my bees. I'm open to other suggestions on treating for them, but I'd like something that's fairly effective. I don't want to have to go out and coat every square inch of leaf surface with neem oil every too days. It would be ineffective, time consuming, and I'd probably miss a lot of the undersides of the leaves, leading to a reinfestation. Thanks for the help.