Article originally created October 7th, 2014.
The Louisiana Pollinator Cooperative Conservation Program (LPCCP) has been established to foster cooperation among bee keepers, pesticide applicators and agricultural producers for the purpose of preventing honey bees and pollinators from the unreasonable exposure to pesticides through education and stewardship recommendations in the state of Louisiana.
Beekeepers, farmers and applicators are encouraged to cultivate and maintain open communication between all parties involved in cooperative activities concerning farming and beekeeping. Farmers, beekeepers and applicators should exchange contact information with one another to facilitate a strong level of communication that should be present in any partnership. Basic information should include: name, telephone number (cell and home), hive locations on the property, agricultural and non-agricultural commodities grown in fields adjacent to hive locations, and information regarding the pesticides applied on these commodities or areas and application timings throughout the growing season.
The LPCCP has elected to adopt Mississippi’s “bee aware” flag to clearly identify hive locations adjacent to an agriculturally managed crop or area. The “bee aware” flag was developed by the Mississippi Farm Bureau to increase awareness of hive locations to farmers, applicators and beekeepers. The use of Mississippi’s “bee aware” flag creates a unified recognition system that is highly visible to pesticide applicators and farmers that manage commodities across state lines. The flags should be placed in an area that is easily visible to aerial and ground applicators and serve as a reminder that bees are in the vicinity and consideration should be taken when making pesticide applications. Farmers and beekeepers should work together in deciding on flag locations so it is visible to both aerial and ground applicators. Flag ordering information can be found here: http://www.mississippi-crops.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Bee-Aware-Order-Information.pdf
Hive location is an important consideration that should be discussed between farmers and beekeepers. Farmers are very familiar with their property, equipment and areas that may offer a natural refuge from accidental exposure to pesticides, while beekeepers know the best habitats for bee yards, appropriate orientation of hives so the opening is not directly facing an agricultural field and areas that are easily accessible to beekeepers to facilitate honey collection and hive transportation. Farmers and beekeepers should discuss apiary locations and bee yards that are acceptable for both parties.
Beekeepers should make every effort to establish GPS coordinates of their hives and provide this information to the farmer and his applicator to establish precise hive locations on farm property.
Beekeepers are strongly encouraged to place visible placards on at least one hive that provides contact information in case of an emergency or if an issue arises. The placard should clearly indicate the owner of the hives and should be visible from a distance. Farmers should work with beekeepers in selecting the best location for placement of the bee flag so it is visible to ground and aerial applicators. The LPCCP strongly encourages all beekeepers commercial and hobby to register their hives with the LDAF.
The farmer should make every effort to notify his employees of apiary locations and related bee flags on farm property. Farmers should also notify contractual parties and aerial applicators of apiary locations and related bee flags as well.
Farmers and beekeepers should annually review hive locations on farm property. This is especially important if an accustomed apiary location is moved to a new location on farm. Physical locations on a map or pinned locations on a smart phone may help facilitate this process.
Farmers and applicators should consider applying pesticides to areas immediately adjacent to hives as late in the afternoon as possible. Most honey bees have ceased foraging by late afternoon (3 pm) and late applications will help reduce many risks of bee injury. Pesticide applications should only be made when wind conditions are blowing away from colonies and bee yards. Label guidelines should always be followed and applications should only be made when an economic threshold is met.