Mississippi farmers, beekeepers and protecting bees

June 25, 2015

From: ScienceDaily.com

Source: Mississippi State University, Office of Agricultural Communications

Summary:Researchers are looking at the relationships between pesticides and row crops, farmers and beekeepers, and factors influencing honeybee health. This story focuses on the Mississippi Honey Bee Stewardship Program.

Pitting farmers against beekeepers does little to solve the problems facing pollinators.

“In some cases, anti-pesticide groups are using the challenges facing bee health as an opportunity to set up a very black-and-white, good guy versus bad guy scenario when it comes to agricultural production,” said Angus Catchot, an entomologist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “In the long run, this could hurt the average beekeeper in our area because that is the only story farmers are hearing in the media. It makes them wary of having beekeepers on their property or fearful of losing important crop production tools, such as neonicotinoid seed treatments.”


“For the most part, nobody was talking to each other,” he said. “Essentially, a beekeeper would ask a farmer if he could put out hives on the farmer’s land, a farmer would say yes, and that was the end of it. Out of sight, out of mind.” That is how Mississippi Honeybee Stewardship Program began, said Jeff Harris, bee specialist with the MSU Extension Service.

This voluntary program outlines cooperative standards for farmers and beekeepers.

“Most of the language is common sense, but the primary goal was to promote awareness,” Harris said. “[The program suggests] simple stuff, like letting the farmer help choose a location for the hives where drift from a pesticide application is less likely to occur. The farmer should avoid spraying when bees are active or take special precautions when near beehives. Beekeepers and farmers should have each other’s contact information and communicate.”

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