New online honeybee protection program available locally

By: Terry Harris | Email: Click Here
Posted: March 4, 2020 | 3:45 p.m.

SURRY – LaSonya White, Surry County Office-Unit Coordinator of Virginia Cooperative Extension is on a mission to inform local beekeepers and would-be beekeepers that there is a simple way to help protect honey bees from harmful pesticides that have been decimating the honeybee population nationwide through the free Pollinator Protection Program.

“We have had so many people call in to see if we can find out who has beehives, so they can be protected when farmers are spraying pesticides,” White said.  “And a lot of people didn’t know we have a system where you can register hives and farmers can see them and reach out to you and let you know when they’re going to be spraying.”

The system, according to White, is The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services  (VDACS) Pollinator Protection Plan. She said that the voluntary, proactive approach “focuses on enhanced communication and coordination between agricultural producers, landowners, pesticide applicators and beekeepers as a means to further protect pollinators.”

Besides focusing on communication, she said that the plan also provides “best practices that can be implemented by beekeepers, commercial applicators and agricultural producers.”

“To facilitate communication between beekeepers and pesticide applicators and agricultural producers,” White shared, “VDACS has acquired BeeCheck™, Apiary Registry by FieldWatch® for beekeepers and FieldCheck™ for pesticide applicators and agricultural producers.”

According to White, the on-line system for mapping apiary locations and providing beekeeper contact information to pesticide applicators can be effective if used properly, but cautioned that not everyone uses this program. 

“Face to face or over the phone communication is still the most effective way to facilitate a relationship between beekeepers and producers,” she added.  “Bees are essential to the survival of agriculture and everyone has to work together in order to protect our environment and our way of life. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your local extension office for more information on this program or help with identifying other ways to protect pollinators.”

“We have an increased number of people who have bee hives,” White said, “but are trying to keep that information private. But they NEED to share so they can protect their hives.  It’s a totally voluntary program – not a requirement, but it is so their benefit to add their names to the roster.” 

To register hives, go to https://Vabeecheck.org.  For additional information for pesticide applicators and agricultural producers go to https://va.driftwatch.org/signup#applicator.

Copyright 2020 by Womack Publishing
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