BeeConnected is an initiative which provides a more efficient and effective way for farmers to inform beekeepers of their intention to apply an insecticide.
The web-based notification system, which will launch in September to coincide with autumn spraying, was on display for the first time at Cereals.
The initiative has been developed by the Voluntary Initiative (VI), the Crop Protection Association (CPA), the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) and the National Farmers Union (NFU).
Chris Hartfield of the NFU said: “Current best practice requires farmers to give notice 48 hours before spraying an insecticide and BeeConnected will provide a far quicker and more efficient method than has been available in the past.”
BeeConnected will operate using a simple two–way communication process. Farmers across the UK will be able to identify their fields on a simple web-based system and beekeepers will be able to plot the location of their hives. Using a drop down list of insecticides on the page farmers will be able to show which fields they intend to spray and with which insecticide. An alert will then be sent to any beekeepers with hives in a radius of up to 5km from the spraying site, notifying where, when and what spraying is planned .
Voluntary Initiative chairman Richard Butler said: “We’re delighted that the pilot we carried out in Hertfordshire proved successful. Farmers are committed to best practice use of pesticides and protecting pollinator health. This voluntary scheme is a simple tool that supports them in that aim. I’d encourage all farmers to sign up and be ready for the nationwide launch in the autumn.”
Once launched, the default option on the website will give farmers the ability to retain anonymity; however, they can choose to communicate directly with their local beekeepers if they wish.
Tim Lovett of the British Beekeepers Association said, “BeeConnected is a timely and hugely important initiative. It is the first scheme of its kind in Europe and I would encourage beekeepers to register now in order to take advantage of it.”
All interested farmers and beekeepers are encouraged to register by visiting www.beeconnected.org.uk.