App promises better communication between farmers and beekeepers

Developed in Australia, BeeConnected will aid co-ordination between farmers and beekeepers and keep bees healthy

CropLife Canada and the Canadian Honey Council are teaming up to bring an app to Canada that promises to help bees and crop agriculture coexist.

BeeConnected was developed by CropLife Australia and the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council, to allow farmers, beekeepers, and pesticide applicators to collaborate, anonymously, to facilitate best practices to protect pollinators. The app is now available here for iPhone and Android devices, as well as through a web platform, at no cost.

Piere Petelle of CropLife Canada

Piere Petelle, CropLife Canada
photo: Supplied

“We have heard from a number of farmers and farm groups, aerial applicators, beekeepers, and provincial governments across Canada that better communication between all parties would be helpful and could go a long way to keep Canada’s honeybees healthy,” said CropLife Canada vice-president, chemistry, Pierre Petelle in an email announcing the app’s arrival in Canada.

Bees and pesticides are integral and complementary components of sustainable agriculture, he said. Bees pollinate many important crops while pesticides protect those crops from pest damage and help protect against disease in hives.

Recently CropLife has been hearing from farmers, farm groups, aerial applicators, beekeepers and provincial governments across Canada that better communication would be helpful for all of them and would have a profound impact on keeping honeybees healthy, Petelle added.

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“The plant science industry is committed to ensuring that both bees and agriculture can coexist and thrive,” he wrote.

Users download the free app, and register as a beekeeper, farmer or pesticide applicator. The application allows users to indicate planned agricultural activities or to specify beehive locations. All registered information is only shared with relevant users in their area. The application enables instant messaging between registered users, while maintaining their privacy, to improve overall communication and allow the exchange of important information.

The app helps farmers and beekeepers in the same area notify one another of planned activities while still maintaining privacy.

The application allows farmers to tell beekeepers in their area when they plan to use crop protection products, including pesticide applications and the planting of treated seed. Beekeepers who have registered their hives will receive a notification if they are within five kilometres of the planned activity.

Users enter basic information including their name, username and an email address and only the username appears to other users.

Users then enter locations important to their operations. Beekeepers enter the location of the bee yards. Farmers and contractors enter field sites and then record activities such as planting, and pest control applications relevant to beekeepers.

BeeConnected has a built-in messaging service so that users can co-ordinate or privately share information with other registered users within five kilometres. Users are also able to broadcast messages that allow them to simultaneously contact all relevant registered users within five kilometres of their activity or hive locations.

Farmers and spray contractors can search the map on the app for the locations of nearby bee yards and beekeepers can explore an area to see farmer or crop protection activity.

Beekeepers cannot see the location of other beekeepers’ hives and farmers and pesticide applicators cannot see the activities of other farmers and applicators.

For more information about the app, visit beeconnected.ca.

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