Program Designed To Prevent Bee Colonies From Accidental Pesticide Exposure

Program Designed To Prevent Bee Colonies From Accidental Pesticide Exposure

During the past few decades, the loss of pollinators including honey bees, native bees, birds, bats, and butterflies has posed a threat to agricultural stability and economics. In the presidential memo released last year, “Creating a Federal Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators,” the White House stated that this rising loss requires immediate attention in order to “ensure the sustainability of our food production systems, avoid additional economic impact on the agricultural sector, and protect the health of the environment.”

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Clemson University has tapped Kelly Registration Systems
Already working with the departments of agriculture in several states, Kelly Registration Systems has developed an application to map beehives and allow pesticide applicators to notify beekeepers of applications in the area to help prevent the accidental exposure of honey bees to pesticides. The official program is available next month and is being rolled out in other states as well.

With Kelly Registration Systems, once beekeepers, farmers, and pesticide applicators share their information, the program matches hive locations with areas that will receive pesticide applications. Using alerts, it lets applicators know which areas to avoid and helps beekeepers prevent or mitigate potential exposure.

The program is currently being used by The Clemson University Department of Plant Industry and The Clemson University Extension Service to map as many of the estimated 25,000-30,000 hives in South Carolina as possible. It has been designed and developed with the ability to map bee hives, hive registrations, organic farms and vineyards, as well as other sensitive and protected areas. Beekeepers are able to update GPS locations and submit online applications, while pesticide applicators are able to map multiple layers of data and save field coordinates for re-mapping.

“The challenge of developing pesticides that are not toxic to honey bees is difficult, however, we have the ability to limit the exposure of honey bees to pesticides through education and communication. This program creates an interface between the beekeepers and pesticide applicators and the communication between these groups is key for protecting our honey bees,” says Dr. Jennifer Tsuruda, apiculture specialist at Clemson University.

Stuart Edmondson, chief technology officer at Kelly Registration Systems, says “Clemson started using one of our hosted solutions last year to file mobile reports on plant nursery inspections, and we were able to leverage the development of that program to build this application.” He adds, “We have included a lot of new functionality and hope other states will benefit from the application as well.”

The program features e-mail and text notifications to beekeepers and applicators, and it can even keep track of beekeepers’ license fees and payments to the state. The system is secure and keeps hive ownership and location information confidential because of their sensitive nature. This information is only made available to the state and to authorized pesticide applicators.

Says Edmondson, “From what we have heard in industry meetings and the feedback we’ve received on the program, we feel this offers a solution for states with voluntary as well as required programs.”

Source: Kelly Registration Systems press release