BeeCheck maps hives, protects pollinators
Recent reports of mosquito spraying for Zika virus and other mosquito-borne diseases in other states have led to many N.C. residents asking what can they do to protect commercial and hobby beehives across the state. The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services encourages bee owners to use the BeeCheck mapping software to alert farmers and pesticide applicators to the location of their hives.
“We have spent the past several months educating beekeepers and pesticide applicators about the program,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Since the program launched five months ago, 533 producers and more than 700 beekeepers have registered.”
“This is a voluntary, non-regulatory and free program,” Troxler said. “We are excited to see sign-up for the program has outpaced other states that have had the program a lot longer than us.”
Growers, beekeepers and pesticide users can access DriftWatch and BeeCheck at www.ncagr.gov/pollinators. The website offers detailed instructions on how to sign up and use the mapping tools. Using BeeCheck, beekeepers map their hives using pins and half-acre circles and can choose details of hive information to display on the map. Producers of high-value specialty crops, such as tomatoes, tobacco, fruit trees, grapes and vegetables, can map their sites and provide contact information about their operation on DriftWatch.
Beekeepers can also register their apiaries with the NCDA&CS Plant Industry Division if they would like to be notified of any aerial spraying within a mile of their apiary. The registration form is located on the apiary link on the division’s website. There is a $10 registration fee per site for this notification.
The NCDA&CS Structural Pest Control and Pesticides Division registers pesticides and licenses pesticide applicators. The department is not responsible for spraying for mosquitoes. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Public Health is responsible for detecting, tracking and responding to mosquito-borne diseases. Homeowners and municipalities may also choose to use a licensed pesticide applicator to treat for mosquitoes.
For more information about NCDA&CS pollinator efforts, visit www.ncagr.gov/pollinators.