A next-generation update to an app is hoping to help farmers and beekeepers work together in an effort to better protect honey bee hives from the impact of agricultural activities.
BeeConnected has been developed and now redesigned by CropLife Australia in partnership with the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council (AHBIC), with feedback and contributions from farmers and apiarists across Australia.
It's hoped by improving communication with farmers and contractors, beekeepers can minimise the risk of bees being accidentally exposed to crop protection products which could have a negative impact on their health.
CropLife CEO Matthew Cossey said beekeepers and growers reliant on pollination were facing a tough time in the wake of Varroa mite.
"A thriving healthy honey bee population is crucial for many farming sectors, especially in horticulture, which is why the entire farming sector needs to ensure that everything is done to protect pollinators," Mr Cossey said.
"BeeConnected is a practical way for Australian farmers to support the honey bee industry by not only avoiding unintentional harm but optimising pollination activities."
BeeConnected was originally developed and launched in Australia in 2014, but has since been adopted for use all over the world including Canada, South America, and India.
Farmers can use the app to map the circumference of their properties and log their spray activities, while beekeepers can do the same by registering the location of their hives.
When a beehive is detected near farming activities, both parties are sent an instant confidential notification allowing them to communicate and coordinate for optimal pollination without compromising or identifying specific locations.
Mr Cossey said the industry was welcoming the initiative.
"We know that Australian farmers are proactive when it comes to the adoption of new tools and next-generation technologies to help them farm more productively and sustainably," Mr Cossey said.
"Just like weather, temperature and timeliness of information plays an important role in informed decision making for best-practice product application, spray applicators are urged to make use of this reliable tool to protect Australia's managed beehive colonies with spraying this season."
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