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Protect honeybees when spraying insecticides

Larry VanLieshout, Pesticide and fertilizer management, Minnesota Department of Agriculture Reviewed by Tana Haugen-Brown, Extension educator and Private Pesticide Applicator Program manager and co-coordinator 

A number of insecticides that are applied to agricultural crops are toxic to honeybees. The labels of these products carry warnings such as, “This product is highly toxic to bees exposed to direct treatment or residues on blooming crops or weeds” or “Do not apply this product or allow it to drift to blooming crops or weeds if bees are foraging in the treated area.” 

To protect honeybees from foraging on treated crops, use the FieldWatch Map to see it there are beehives within 2 miles of your application area. Pins on the map mark the self-reported locations of beehives. 

Selecting a pin brings up additional information about that site, including contact information for the beekeeper. Use this information to inform local beekeepers of a planned insecticide application so they can move, cover, or screen their hives. Minnesota does not have a required notification; however, North Dakota requires beekeepers within 2 miles of the treatment site to be warned at least 48 hours in advance of an application. This is a reasonable goal. 

Be aware that not all hives are shown on the map. You must register as an applicator to see all registered sites. A free mobile app is available to access this information from your Apple or Android device.
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