Public Hearing - Recommendations on Agricultural Burning

posted Apr 27, 2010, 4:38 PM by CVB Admin   [ updated Apr 28, 2010, 8:35 AM ]
The Air District will hold a public hearing on May 20, 2010 at 9:00am

Air District offices
1990 E. Gettysburg Ave.
Fresno, CA.

    The Governing Board will consider adopting the proposed Recommendations on Agricultural Burning Report.  This action will affect open burning of agricultural materials in the San Joaquin Valley air basin.

  The proposed report can be found here:

    Contact Ms. Koshoua Thao ( for additional information or to submit comments/suggestions.

    Pages 3-19 and 3-20 of the proposed report are of interest to beekeepers (excerpted below):

San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District April 14, 20103.3.3 Diseased Bee Hives

3.3.3 Diseased Bee Hives

Summary and Recommendation

Table 3-9 Summary of Analysis

Other Materials Potentially feasible alternative Currently in practice by operators? Incremental Cost, $/acre at 20 acres or more: Percent of Return on Sales Economically Feasible? (less than 10% ROS)
Diseased Bee Hives None. Disease Issues. N/A N/A N/A N/A

*N/A: not applicable


Several key considerations for diseased bee hives are that the diseases could be dormant in the frames and used equipment, as well as develop resistance to chemicals used in the sterilization process. District staff feels that there are currently no operations that appear to be viable alternatives to open burning of diseased bee hives at this time. District staff recommends that diseased bee hives be allowed to continue to be burned.

Description and Findings

Bees are a key component in the growing of crops. The importance of bees was noted in an article in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's science magazine, "Agricultural Research." The author Kevin J. Hackett (ARS National Program Leader, Biological Control, Beltsville, Maryland) noted in the March 2004 issue of Agricultural Research magazine that "The value of honey bee pollination to U.S. agriculture is more than $14 billion annually, according to a Cornell University study. Crops from nuts to vegetables and as diverse as alfalfa, apple, cantaloupe, cranberry, pumpkin, and sunflower all require pollinating by honey bees. For fruit and nut crops, pollination can be a grower's only real chance to increase yield. The extent of pollination dictates the maximum number of fruits." In light of this, it is vitally important to growers that the supply and availability of bees are protected to the highest degree possible.

Artificial bee hives serve two purposes: production of honey and pollination of crops. The hives are commonly transported so the bees can pollinate crops in selected areas. Modern bee hives are usually constructed of wood and consist of several parts which include the following:

Bottom board - this has an entrance for the bees to get into the hive.

Chapter 3: Analysis of Affected Crop Categories and Recommendations Draft Staff Report Recommendations on Agricultural Burning

San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District April 14, 20103.3.3 Diseased Bee Hives

  • Brood box - is the most bottom box of the hive and is where the queen bee lays her eggs.
  • Honey Super - same as brood box, but is the upper-most box where honey is stored.
  • Frames and Foundation - wooden frame and plastic sheet with honey comb impression where bees build wax honey combs.
  • Inner and Outer Cover - As the name implies

Beekeepers have experienced several problems in the past few years. A recent development is the problem of colony collapse disorder (CCD), a phenomenon where bees mysteriously abandon their hives. The UC Davis Department of Entomology website contains an article dated Oct. 16, 2007, about a lecture presented by UC Davis honey bee specialist Eric Mussen . The article notes the following comment: "One-third of America's honey bees vanished this past year due to the mysterious CCD, characterized by almost total hive abandonment. Nearly all adult worker bees unexpectedly fly away from the hive, abandoning the stored honey, pollen, larvae and pupae. Usually they leave in less than a week, and only the queen and a few young workers remain"

Section 29208 of California Code of Regulations Title 3, Food and Agricultural Code, Division 13, Bee Management and Honey Production, requires that "If American foulbrood is found in an apiary, the abatement shall be by killing the bees in the infested colonies and disposing of the hives and their contents, together with any other infested comb, hives, and associated appliances which are found in the apiary, in one of the following ways: If abatement is by burning, the person abating shall act in accordance with applicable air pollution control district or air quality maintenance district regulations and state and local fire control laws. If the regulations or laws prohibit burning immediately, the diseased colonies shall be sealed and placed in an enclosed structure and thereafter burned on the first date allowed by the regulation or law. All the activities shall be reported to the inspector prior to burning, who may require that burning occur only under his or her supervision."

Chapter 3: Analysis of Affected Crop Categories and Recommendations Draft Staff Report Recommendations on Agricultural Burning