Northamptonshire Beekeepers’ Association is committed to the encouragement of constructive dialogue between beekeepers and farmers.
Best practice for spraying insecticides that may be harmful to bees or other flying insects is to spray either early morning or late in the evening when the insects are not flying.
For information about the effects of pesticide poisoning on honeybees and the action to be taken in the case of an incident click here
BeeConnected is the easiest way to notify beekeepers of an intended insecticide spraying event you are planning. It’s FREE to join and is recognised by crop assurance schemes such as www.redtractor.org.uk Just log your fields into your database on the website and add a spraying event when you are planning one. It’s simple and quick.
It is recomended that beekeepers be notified 48 hours before you intend to spray pesticides that may be harmful to bees. Read the product label for the most up to date advice on any environmental measures that may need to be taken. This will give the beekeepers time to take any action they may deem necessary to protect their bees. If you have bees on the farm and you have notified your beekeeper, please be aware that bees can fly at least three miles to forage for food and there may be other beekeepers in your area that you don’t know about. Using Beeconnected will give them the chance to protect their bees should they choose to. It may also be helpful to inform beekeepers if your plans change.
Northamptonshire Beekeepers’ Association’s Spray Liaison officer, Steve May, can be contacted by phone on 07966452359 or by email by clicking this link
a first test
The location of your hives is kept a secret to you, so your security is assured. You will receive an email alert detailing timing, distance and direction of the spraying event, also the name of the active ingredient to be used and the basic descriptive information as published in the British Crop Production Council Pesticide Manual including any environmental protection precautions relevant to bees. Included also will be the crop to be sprayed (e.g. field beans) and whether the field to be sprayed has a flowering margin next to the crop. The farmer only knows there are hives within a given radius, e.g. 5km. There is also an email service which enables the beekeeper to contact the farmer should they wish to ask a question.
Putting large amounts of straw or grass in front of the hive to cover and obscure the entrance occupies the bees while they tear it down. They do this without building up heat and tend to stay calm during the process, it occupies the workers and they tend to stay around the hive for quite some time so they don’t go off foraging.
Tenting, covering hives with black plastic, turning day into night can also work, but don’t restrict airflow, and allow the bees to leave if they want. It’s probably best not to leave the hive covered into the warm summer sun as the colony may overheat.
The danger of overheating is great so this should only be done in extreme circumstances and the hive should be closed up for as short a time as deemed necessary. Provide extra space by placing additional supers with comb onto the hive to contain temperature rises. Completely block the entrance so as to stop all light entering the hive. Shade the hive to stop sunlight raising the internal temperature of the colony. Keep the temperature rise to a minimum. Open the hive as soon as the spraying event is finished. DO NOT LEAVE THE HIVE CLOSED FOR LONGER THAN 24 HOURS IN THE SUMMER.
Move your bees away from the spraying event but this might not be practical and don’t forget the three-mile rule.