Jan 14, 2016
Delaware releases draft bee protection plan

Delaware officials are seeking public feedback and input on a draft plan to protect and enhance populations of bees and other valuable pollinators in the state. The plan was unveiled Wednesday at Delaware Ag Week.

The Managed Pollinator Protection Plan includes best management practices that beekeepers, fruit and vegetable growers, and pesticide applicators can use to help pollinators thrive. It also includes strategies to increase the quantity and quality of pollinator forage on private and public lands.

Pollinated crops in Delaware include watermelon, cucumbers, strawberries, cantaloupes, apples, blueberries, cranberries, squash and pumpkins. Delaware farmers bring in about 3,000 bee colonies each year to maximize crop pollination, according to the Delaware Department of Agriculture.

One tool to protect sensitive crops is the DriftWatch program, an online initiative that helps farmers and beekeepers alert pesticide applicators about special areas before they spray, said Chris Wade, pesticide compliance administrator at the Delaware Department of Agriculture.

Delaware is also involved in a three-year project to create demonstration and education sites showcasing forage and land management practices supporting bees and promote honey production and develop best management practices for improving bee forage availability and quantity.

Comments on the plan should be submitted by March 15. For more information on the Managed Pollinator Protection Plan or the DriftWatch program, visit the Delaware Department of Agriculture website.

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