Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Bee Protection: Information for Growers

Contact Us

Pollinator Protection Outreach:
Brandi Simmons
(352) 395-4828 (Office)
Brandi.Simmons@FreshFromFlorida.com 

Good land managers, farmers and ranchers understand that promoting honey bees and other pollinators is crucial to an economically viable fruiting crop and that pest control and pesticide must be kept to a minimum and strategically applied.

Agricultural Producer Guidelines

Communication

  • Consult the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) online map to identify beekeepers with hives in your area.  
  • Be proactive about forming relationships with beekeepers.
  • Participate in the Citrus Health Management Area (CHMA) program.
  • Define the communication chain, timing and delivery method for information regarding pesticide applications, including product labels, particularly in/around bloom, when bees and other non-target pollinators are likely to be exposed while foraging.
  • Discuss agreements and contracts with beekeepers.

Agreements

When allowing or inviting beekeepers to place hives on or adjacent to your property, either for honey production or for contracted pollination services, it is highly recommended that you develop a written agreement with the beekeeper detailing the responsibilities and liabilities of each party. The agreement should include provisions that address:

  • The best means to quickly contact one another if urgent issues arise;
  • Where hives will be placed so that they will not interfere with grove management and will be less likely to be exposed to pesticides;
  • How hives and bee yards will be marked by the beekeeper as required by law and to include any contact information requested by the grower;
  • The quantity and strength/size of hives;
  • Hive maintenance including supplemental feeding and in-hive pesticide use (for the control of honey bee pests and diseases);
  • The duration of stay for the hives (identify a window during bloom when pesticide exposure is least likely; please see Determining Percent Bloom in Florida Citrus Groves [ Adobe PDF Document 213.33 KB ] from the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS);
  • Identification of temporary holding areas, if available, where hives may be relocated during pesticide applications; and
  • Circumstances pertaining to liability of grower or beekeeper.

This list is not exhaustive; please consult the UF/IFAS Sample Pollination Contract document for more detailed information.

Planning

  • Consult with your county extension specialist (crop advisor) or other Integrated Pest Management (IPM) professional for help identifying species of crop pests, their abundance and life cycle. A crop- and season-specific approach to pest management may reduce the overall need for chemical pesticide applications.
  • Do not treat prophylactically; make pesticide applications only when pest pressures warrant it.
  • Develop a pest management plan that carefully considers the likelihood of bees foraging during bloom, that only sprays before abundant bloom and after last petal fall, when bees typically move (or are moved) off (away from) the target crop.

Practices