Insecticides are designed to control insect pests and therefore also present a risk to many other insects, including bees. Direct exposure to some insecticides can result in bee death, which can sometimes occur after the bee has returned to the hive, presenting a risk to the entire hive through indirect exposure.
We know it’s an offence to spray crops in flower whilst bees are foraging, so here are some tips to help ensure healthy bee populations whilst achieving control of unwanted insect pests:
- Spray flowering crops at night when bees are not present, preferably with no surface temperature inversions in place ( i.e. need some cloud cover and win
- Use quick drying formulations like solutions and emulsifiable concentrates which don’t leave a powdery residue, avoid wettable powders and dusts for this reason
- Use selective chemistry that is softer towards beneficial insects like bees and natural enemies. If these aren’t available or practical then use an insecticide with a shorter residual or potency period to bees, so that they can safely return to the crop the next day.
- Consider potential spraydrift profiles, putting in place appropriate buffers between sprayed crops and beehives downwind, remembering that spraydrift can only reliably be estimated from drift models out to about 800m for aerial application and 300m for ground application
- Download the BeeConnected App and register for notifications from beekeepers on beehives positioned near your crops.
- BeeConnected is a nation-wide, user-driven smart-phone app that enables collaboration between beekeepers, farmers and spray contractors to facilitate best-practice pollinator protection. BeeConnected is free and available on iPhone, Android and desktop computers.
Through BeeConnected , farmers and contractors can register to receive notifications when a registered beekeeper positions beehives near their properties or near a proposed crop protection product application activity that the farmer is undertaking.
Likewise registered beekeepers will also receive notifications alerting them when a registered farmer or contractor enters a proposed nearby crop protection application activity. The tool also enables instant messaging between registered parties to assist beekeepers, farmers and contractors to work together to keep Australia’s honeybees healthy, whilst maintaining privacy through the use of a restricted in-App messaging service.