Monday, May 29, 2023

Farmers and beekeepers create a buzz by sharing spraying news

Farmers and beekeepers are better connected thanks to an online tool called BeeConnected, which connects beekeepers with farmers.

The free app, currently connecting more than 3,000 beekeepers with almost 2,000 farmers, is designed to send anonymous notifications to surrounding beekeepers whenever crops are sprayed with insecticides.

It has been developed in association with the NFU, the British Beekeepers Association, and Croplife UK, and is funded and administered by the Voluntary Initiative. and .

The system works when triggered by farmers, who set up a ‘spray event’ when they apply insecticide to a field. This ‘event’ searches for beekeepers with hives within a 5km distance of the field and sends them an alert message.

The beekeeper and farmer can also use the platform to communicate anonymously using the BeeMail internal messaging service.

Beekeepers cannot see the location of individual fields and likewise, farmers cannot see the location of individual hives.

The VI Farm Sprayer Operator Of The Year, Steve May, who is both a sprayer operator and beekeeper explains the benefits of the scheme: “BeeConnected gives me the best chance of warning local beekeepers that an insecticide may be applied and when it’s going to happen, allowing them to take any necessary action. It creates an invaluable link between local farmers and beekeepers.”

Steve is also the spray liaison officer in his local area and explained that, as he doesn’t have the phone numbers for many farmers or beekeepers due to GDPR rules, BeeConnected allows the two parties to come together without the unnecessary middleman.

“It’s much quicker and can give more precise information on crop protection products being used and the area they are being used in. The BeeMail service is particularly good as the beekeeper can ask questions and this allows dialogue to strike up, which can lead to better understanding on both sides.”

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