With another growing season underway across corn country, the National Corn Growers Association encourages farmers to complete a mental check list and assess your farming operation and any potential impact for pollinators like honey bees.
If you are using treated seed, remember to consider the following five basic steps for stewardship of treated seed during planting season:
Follow Directions: Follow directions on treated seed container labels for handling, storage, planting and disposal practices.
Eliminate Flowering Weeds: Eliminate flowering plants and weeds in and around the field prior to planting.
Minimize Dust: Use advanced seed flow lubricants that minimize dust.
Bee Aware: Be aware of honey bees and hives located near the field, and communicate with beekeepers prior to planting when possible.
Clean and Remove: Completely clean and remove all treated seed left in containers and equipment used to handle harvested grain and dispose of it properly. Keep all treated seed out of the commodity grain channels.
Likewise, as you plan summer spraying of insecticides, consider best management practices on your farm. This is especially critical if you have bee hives on your farm or on neighboring land. It’s all about awareness and communication.
Always refer to the pesticide label for application requirements. It is also advisable to identify any risks of pesticides to be used and discuss the best timing and management practices with any nearby beekeepers. You can find more information related to seed treatments at seed-treatment-guide.com and bee friendly practices at honeybeehealthcoalition.org.
NCGA also encourages growers with marginal land not in production to also consider habitat development projects like those being offered by The Bee and Butterfly Habitat Fund. It has partnered with Project Apis m. and Browning’s Honey to offer landowners a conservation program, the Honey Bee and Monarch Butterfly Partnership, designed specifically to allow land owners access to free pollinator and monarch habitat seed.