A charter to promote honey bee safety

This section represents the foundation elements of a charter to promote honey bee safety. As a best practice guideline, it outlines what most charters and bee protection guides (and manuals) have detailed through various initiatives globally. For South Africa, this charter was developed by the beekeeping industry and grower bodies, which they have adopted and recognized towards building relations for the protection of our bees. 

This consists of two parts, actions by growers and crop protection agencies, and then commitments from pollinators and bee farmers. 

 

The crop protection industry and growers collectively undertake to

Only recommend and apply pesticides when necessary

Avoid pesticide recommendation or application when bees are foraging

Avoid application during flowering / pollination periods

Avoid using products that have long periods of residual activity that may be toxic to bees, especially during flowering

MORE ABOUT IPM FOR HONEY BEES

Only recommend and apply registered pesticides (under Act 36 of 1947) as prescribed by the label

REFER TO AGRI-INTEL FOR UPDATED LABEL INFORMATION AND MORE

Pay particular attention to warnings and precautions regarding pollinators on product labels

Use the recommended dose rate

Use products according to registered application methods

Only recommend aerial application when necessary and adhere to the Aerial Application Code of Conduct

Do not apply pesticides when there is a danger of drift onto non-target areas

Recommend and use drift-reduction application equipment and methods

Ensure that application equipment is properly maintained and calibrated

NOT SURE WHAT ACTIVE INGREDIENTS ARE BAD FOR BEES & OTHER POLLINATORS? CLICK HERE FOR AN EASY TO FIND GLOBALLY ACCREDITED LIST

Ensure that dust (resulting from treated seed) minimising measures are introduced according to the CropLife SA and SANSOR guidelines. This includes:

Pour treated seeds carefully out of bags

Do not shake dust or loose material from the bag

Ensure that seeding machinery is properly calibrated and maintained to minimise dust losses

Recommend seed film coatings that minimise dust

Avoid spillage of treated seed and clean up spills

Dispose of bags and other waste (including unused seed) properly

Avoid contamination when cleaning equipment

Take care when mixing and loading spray equipment

Ensure proper disposal of waste and used material

Clean up all spills

Avoid contamination when cleaning equipment

Crop advisers must participate in, and comply with, the CropLife SA continuous professional development (CPD) programme and growers must insist on using a CropLife SA accredited crop adviser.

REFER TO CROPLIFE WEBSITE

Avoid spraying when bees are foraging unless absolutely necessary and only with products which are explicitly designed for bee-safe application during flowering:

Minimise sprays during the flowering period

Sprays should preferably be applied after dusk

Growers must control weeds in orchards before the weeds bloom to avoid  bee-toxic herbicides impacting on foraging bees

Enter into a contractual agreement for pollination services or at least a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the commercial beekeeper

Notify the beekeeper when an application is planned

Highlight the planned spray programme when giving permission for beekeepers to put out their hives

Only allow beekeepers who have your permission to place beehives on your property; discourage vagrant beekeeping

Pollinators and bee farmers undertake to

Maintain compliance with statutory requirements in terms of Control Measure R858 Relating to Honeybees

Register annually with DALRRD inspection services

Mark all beehives with the DALRRD registration number

Maintain proper records of all beekeeping activities

Conduct regular inspections of beehives to ensure sound beekeeping management practices

SUMMARY OF THE CONTROL MEASURES

Be a member of SABIO or a local beekeeper association

Adhere to pollination guidelines as drafted by an organised industry body where applicable

Allow SABIO or local beekeeping association to assist in communicating to the pollinator/grower details regarding the placement of marked beehives on landowner’s property

CLICK HERE FOR INFORMATION ON SABIO, REGISTRATION AND MORE SOUTH AFRICAN BEEKEEPING ASSOCIATIONS AND CONTACT DEETS

Enter into a contractual agreement or at least a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for pollination services with the grower

CHAT TO YOUR LOCAL BEEKEEPING ASSOCIATION FOR CONTRACT TEMPLATES

Notify growers formally when hives are placed on or close to their property

Request a copy of the grower’s proposed spray programme

Do not place beehives on landowner’s/grower’s property without their permission

Introduce precautionary measures to avoid the poisoning of hives

Ensure that local farmers and landowners are aware of your night movements

Respect the pollination arrangements between other pollinators and growers; do not encroach on others’ contractual arrangements

Liaise with other pollinators known to be operating on other farms

When placing hives for pollination, ensure that healthy colonies are placed in orchards and fields

Ensure healthy queens with good brood patterns are utilised

Do not introduce diseased or contaminated colonies into pollination areas

Remove and replace any diseased or contaminated colonies during the pollination contract period

Do not overwork hives

CHECK OUT OUR LIST OF CURRENT HAZARDOUS PESTICIDE INGREDIENTS BAD 4 BEES

Only utilise strong, non-leaking beehives of Langstroth brood chamber design when providing pollination services

Ensure suitable internal spacing requirements to reduce swarming tendency during pollination period

Inspect bee activity regularly during pollination period

Keep growers regularly informed and address any concerns during pollination period

 

POLLINATION CHARTER

We engaged with HORTGRO and Dr Tlou Masehela to finalise this easy reference section to support your pollination practice.

It is by no means exhaustive & we encourage you to expand on this in your partnerships as is applicable, with consultation with SABIO and or your local beekeeping association.

HORTGRO focus on production, research and technology, communication, markets, and transformation within the deciduous fruit industry, with a fascinating history that goes back to the first ships from the Dutch East India Company in 1652. 

MORE ABOUT HORTGRO

Dr Masehela holds a PhD in Entomology from Stellenbosch University, and is a published scientist whose work on honey bees is well respected in the industry.  His work and interests cover apiculture, crop pollination, conservation and biosafety.

Tlou consults to The Bee Effect and our project partners on all aspects pertaining to honey bees & honey bee forage.

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