Pesticides can pose risks to managed honey bee colonies. Because both bee protection and crop protection are important to the success of Florida agriculture, the Florida Department of Agriculture (FDACS) has identified practices that growers, beekeepers and pesticide applicators can adopt to protect both crops and honey bee colonies.
Honey Bees in Decline
Over the past decade, increasing attention has been paid to the decline in managed honey bee populations (Apis mellifera). Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), a phenomenon first reported in 2006, is still under scrutiny as continuous scientific investigations have been unable to pinpoint any one factor that has led to the widespread loss of managed honey bee colonies. Honey bee diet, forage, immunity, pests and parasites, as well as pesticide exposure, are among a multitude of stressors that may negatively impact bees.
Information for Growers, Beekeepers and Pesticide Applicators
FDACS, the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, the agriculture industry and pesticide registrants are working together to develop a Managed Pollinator Protection Plan (MP3).
FDACS initially focused on providing beekeeper-grower information for citrus, but we are expanding our efforts to include other agricultural crops as well as ornamental plant production. With the information provided here, FDACS hopes to:
- Foster communicative and cooperative relationships among growers, beekeepers and pesticide users;
- Promote the legal, responsible and effective use of pesticides to promote a productive agriculture industry and protect bee health; and
- Identify steps that parties can take to reduce pesticide risks without overly burdening pesticide users or beekeepers.