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Beekeepers & Farmers

Farmers and beekeepers: working more together

Beekeeping and agriculture can work well together because both sides - the farmers as well as the beekeepers - depend on the health of bees.

Honey and wild bees play a significant role in the pollination of some important crops. In 2005 the total economic value of pollination worldwide amounted to 153 billion € or about 10% of total agricultural production worldwide.

Sustainable agriculture requires effective pollination and the responsible use of pesticides. Therefore pesticides must be used correctly and appropriately.

By using flower strips or bee-friendly catch crops, there are numerous ways to improve bees' food supply of nectar and pollen during the growing season.

Benefit for Bees

Beekeepers want to maintain strong and healthy bee colonies to pollinate and produce honey. By doing so, they also make use of agricultural land as an important source of food for honeybees.

They conduct regular inspections of beehives throughout the season to ensure their health and the survival of the bee colony.

Both a regular exchange of information and close cooperation between farmers and beekeepers are desirable and should be a means of expressing mutual understanding.

Working in partnership, farmers and beekeepers are important factors in providing sufficient pollination areas for the bees and ensuring the health of bee colonies.

As with many areas where cooperation is helpful, there are examples of best practice which can help increase success.

What beekeepers can do:

  • Monitor colonies and apiaries regularly and frequently.
  • Management (ensure the needs of the bees are met; i.e. food , shelter, safety).
  • Mite Control (Varroa mite is honey bee enemy number one).
  • Local communication with growers.
  • Register hives, restrict bee foraging at planting, move into areas after planting.
  • Practices adapted to local conditions (e.g. protecting winter bees).

What growers and farmers can do:

  • Communicate planting activities to neighboring beekeepers when practical, and be aware of beehives adjacent to the planting area.
  • Communicate openly and honestly with beekeepers - Keep local beekeepers informed.
  • Appreciate that beekeepers are facing a tough challenge to keep their honey bee colonies alive and productive.
  • Participate in research related to improving and protecting bee health.
  • Follow the label and be aware that bee attractive plants where bees are foraging may be treated.
  • Be Aware of wind speed and direction during planting, particularly in areas with flowering crops.
  • Ensure seed is planted correctly. To help protect the environment, clean planters and seed boxes in a way to minimize dust release and ensure treated seed is planted at the proper depth.

Further information:

Our bigger picture interactive tool from the south Tyrolean area of Italy provides useful insights into how farmers and beekeepers are working in close partnership to create win-win solutions for bees and crops. More

There are informative brochures which give useful information about stewardship around bees. .

Bayer CropScience promotes The CARE Stewardship Program, designed to help growers use products responsibly and support the health of honey bees nationwide.

Videos

Beekeepers and Farmers: Working Together 

Pesticides and Pollinators

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