Working together to protect bees

BMPS FOR THIS PLANTING SEASON

as the 2013 corn planting season approaches, CropLife Canada is encouraging the entire agricultural community to work together to ensure farmers are able to successfully plant a good crop, while minimizing any potential risk of pesticide exposure to non-target organisms, such as bees.

The majority of corn planted in Canada is treated with a modern class of insecticide called neonicotinoids. Farmers have been using this type of seed treatment for the past decade.

This technology provides targeted and sustainable protection of corn
against insects.

In order to maximize the benefits of this technology and minimize any potential exposure to bees, growers are encouraged to follow a set of best management practices (BMPs). Here is an overview of CropLife Canada’s best management practices:

•    Control flowering weeds (e.g., dandelions) in the field before planting.
•    Communicate with nearby beekeepers and be aware of hive locations near
      your fields.
•    Follow planter manufacturer recommendations when using seed box lubricants
      such as talc or graphite.
•    Properly calibrate your seeder for the conditions.
•    Some countries have looked at the use of deflector retrofit kits to help direct
      the dust and air from planters to the ground. Speak with your equipment
      dealer or manufacturer for more information.
•    Pour seeds carefully out of the bag and do not shake dust or other loose
      material from the bottom of the seed bag into the hopper.
•    Monitor environmental conditions. Dry, windy conditions can carry dust onto
      flowering crops or weeds.
•    Provide pollinator-friendly habitats (e.g., alfalfa or clover) away from active
      fields.
•    If possible, seed at times of day when bees are not foraging, typically early
      morning or evening.
•    Properly dispose of seed bags according to local regulations.

Insecticides used to treat seeds are tested extensively to ensure they can be safely used without harming bees. Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency, which has one of the most rigorous scientific evaluation processes in the world, must approve every product before it can be used.

Both bees and pesticides play critical roles in agriculture. Bees pollinate many important crops while pesticides protect crops from pest damage. As such, the plant science industry is committed to ensuring that they are able to continue to co-exist and help agriculture thrive.

For more information on best management practices for planting insecticide-treated corn, visit www.croplife.ca. •