This website is provided by two divisions within the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS): The Division of Plant Industry and the Division of Agricultural Environmental Services. The purpose of this website is to provide Florida growers and beekeepers with information relating to agricultural pesticide usage that can help both industries to coexist and thrive.
Over the past 10 years, increasing attention has been paid to the potential for pesticides to harm honeybees (Apis mellifera). Colony collapse disorder has been identified as a bee health problem of great concern, and scientific investigations are underway to determine the factors that may lead to the widespread loss of honeybee colonies. At this point, there is not a clear single cause for colony collapse, but pesticide exposure is included among a multitude of stressors that may negatively impact bees.
The goal of this website is to provide information to Florida growers and beekeepers on the risks that pesticides can pose to bees and to identify measures that growers and beekeepers can adopt to protect both crops and honeybee colonies. With the information provided here, the department hopes to:
- Identify steps that parties can take to reduce pesticide risks without overly burdening pesticide users or beekeepers;
- Foster communicative and cooperative relationships among growers, beekeepers and regulatory authorities; and
- Promote the legal, responsible and effective use of pesticides to promote a productive agriculture industry and protect bee health.
FDACS, IFAS, the citrus industry and pesticide registrants are working to collect scientifically valid data on the actual risks posed to honeybees by pesticide usage under Florida conditions. Initial efforts are focusing on soil-applied neonicotinoid insecticide residues in citrus blossoms. As the results of these and other investigations become known, this website will provide updated guidance that takes into consideration the new information. The website will initially focus on beekeeper-grower information for citrus, but will be expanded for other crops in the future.