One year after Florida citrus growers and beekeepers joined in a voluntary partnership, the program has become a model for other states researching how to garner cooperation between beekeepers and agricultural producers.
Florida will be a key part of a nationwide effort to improve cooperation and coexistence between growers and beekeepers. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) has been asked by EPA to partner with four other states to promote voluntary programs like the one instituted in Florida.
In a series of public meetings, FDACS assembled citrus growers, beekeepers, the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, and other interested stakeholders to identify how to lower risks to honey bees while allowing citrus growers to continue important practices to combat citrus greening and other pests and disease.
Some of the recommendations included:
- Beekeepers should develop and maintain one-on-one communications with citrus growers who have groves where they would like to place their bees.
- Beekeepers should work with growers to reach written agreements providing permission to place hives in groves.
- Beekeepers should inform growers of hive locations, status, concerns and be willing to remove hives promptly if the need arises.
- Growers should consult the department’s online tool to identify beekeepers with hives in their areas.
- Growers should develop formal agreements with beekeepers detailing the responsibilities and liabilities of each party.
- Growers should develop a pest management plan that accommodates the likelihood of bees foraging during bloom.
Click here to view the full list of recommendations.