22 Aug 2009

Beekeepers' Association raises fears about pesticide spraying

7:02 am on 22 August 2009

The National Beekeepers' Association has issued a plea to growers and rural contractors to consider the health of honey bees when they use pesticide spray.

Beekeepers head into the busy time for pollination. Large numbers of hives will be placed in orchards, starting with pipfruit.

The bees will perform the essential role of pollinating trees and vines to produce the next season's crops.

Beekeepers association chief executive Jim Edwards says it is the most vulnerable time for bees to be caught by spraying.

He says losing bees can affect many businesses as "often the bees are moved from one location to the next with successive pollination programmes."

Mr Edwards says the association is working with agri-chemical industry body AGCARM to provide guidelines on safe spraying. AGCARM has also widened its "Bee Smart, Spray Safe" education campaign.