What is in this article?:
- Mississippi program emphasizes guidelines for protecting bees
- Unified flagging system
- Exchange basic info
- Choose locations carefully
The goal of the Mississippi Honeybee Stewardship Program is for all beekeepers, farmers, and other pesticide applicators to provide added safeguards to protect bees in areas of pesticide use, says Randy Knight, president of the Mississippi Farm Bureau Program, which is leading the cooperative effort with other farm organizations in the state.
COOPERATION between beekeepers, farmers, and pesticide applicators is among the guidelines in the newly developed Mississippi Honeybee Stewardship Program. — USDA/ARS photo
Choose locations carefully
“The beekeeper knows the best honeybee habitats and can help to select a location that (a) uses natural barriers, such as treelines, to mitigate against exposure to insecticide drift, (b) will best facilitate the entranced to hives being placed away from fields, and (c) is not too close to the immediate edges of fields. Beekeepers should discuss the bee yard or apiary location with the farmer and come to an agreement that works for both parties.”
Also, the beekeeper should have a placard on a prominent hive within an apiary that “clearly identifies the owner of the hives, along with emergency contact information.” The placard “should be highly visible from a distance.”
The beekeeper should work with the farmer to select the best area near an apiary to place the Bee Aware flag so it is visible to both ground and aerial applicators.
Both the beekeeper and the farmer should generate and review a comprehensive list of all apiary locations that occur on the farm property each year. “This is especially important if hives are moved from more traditional locations of several years to newer locations. It might be helpful also to pencil in apiary sites on a map.”
Beekeepers are also encouraged to provide GPS coordinates to the farmer and his applicator(s) to show exact locations of hives on the farm property.
Farmers should make their employees or other contractual parties aware of all apiary locations and the associated Bee Aware flags on the farm property, and should notify their aerial applicator of apiaries on the farm.
When possible, farmers should consider applying insecticides as late in the afternoon as feasible on fields immediately adjacent to hive locations in order to help mitigate many of the risks of damage to bees. Insecticide applicators should always follow label guidelines and applications should be made when pests reach economic threshold levels.
Insecticide applications should be made only when winds are blowing away from hive locations.
For specific questions about the Mississippi Bee Stewardship Program, contact Dr. Jeff Harris, Mississippi State University Extension apiculturist, 662/325-2976; Dr. Angus Catchot, MSU Extension entomologist, 662/325-2085; Dr. Jeff Gore, MSU research and Extension entomologist, 662/820-9969; the Mississippi Bureau of Plant Industry, 662/325-3390; or Vicki Morgan, executive director, Mississippi Agricultural Aviation Association, 662/299-7836.
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