BeeConnected operates on a very simple, yet efficient, two-way process whereby farmers identify their fields and, in just a few clicks, are able to inform local beekeepers when they intend to spray an insecticide in particular fields.
Beekeepers plot the location of their hives, and will then receive a notification ahead of when a farmer within their locality is planning to undertake a spray event.
The relationship between farmers and beekeepers is a vital one. In the UK around 70 of the crops grown are dependent on, or benefit from visits from bees, a value which is estimated at over £200 million per year.
While the importance of bees to UK agriculture is profound, it has not always been straightforward for farmers and beekeepers to communicate directly with each other.
BeeConnected has been developed to harness modern technology to enable farmers to notify neighbouring beekeepers directly. BeeConnected is a simple, web-based system that can be used via a desktop or laptop computer, tablet or smartphone.
Once registered on the system the farmer, operator or contractor can identify a field they are planning to spray with an insecticide by dropping a pin in the on-screen map.
Then, using the drop down menus, they simply enter the insecticide they will be using, the crop they are spraying, and the date they are spraying, and a basic notification will be sent out to neighbouring beekeepers registered on the system.
Once a beekeeper has registered on the system they will map the location of their hives in the same way and will then decide how close a spray event has to be to them before they are notified, up to a maximum of 5km.
The beekeeper will then receive an alert when a spray event is due to take place within the vicinity of a hive.
The alert will include the actives to be used and any associated environmental protection risk phrases pertinent to bees as stated in the Pesticides Guide, the distance and direction, crop and whether it has a flowing margin.
The beekeeper can then use this information to decide what, if any action to take.
The system is completely anonymous with neither the beekeeper nor farmer learning the others identity unless they wish to share it through an in-system messaging service – BeeMail.
This feature can be used to exchange additional information not contained in the spray alert and we hope this will lead to better communication and relationships between bee keepers and farmers.
BeeConnected is a VI tool funded by the Crop Protection Association.
1. Visit www.beeconnected.org.uk and click on ‘New user? Sign up here’.
2. To register complete the required fields in the form. Next, use these details to login.
3. Now click on ‘Add a field’. Plot your fields by entering the location and dragging the map to place the pin in the centre of each field. Give each field a name. You can edit and delete fields later.
4. Now you’re ready to add a spray event. Click on add a spraying event.
5. Name the date, field and select the crop you plan to make the application to.
6. State if the crop has a flowing margin and then select the product(s) or active(s) to be used by adding each one in turn. When you have finished click on ‘add spray event’.
7. You will then see a list of your upcoming spray events which you can always edit if your plans change.
8. Your spray event has been logged and an alert sent to any local bee keepers. You might get a BeeMail to say thanks.
Visit the BeeConnected website