If you like food, you gotta love honey bees. These busy little insects pollinate most of the world’s fruit, nut and vegetable crops. Without bees, almonds – California’s number-one cash crop – would disappear.
In an effort to shore up this small but vital segment of local agriculture, Sacramento County has embarked on two programs to protect and strengthen local apiaries
The Bee Safe program, approved by the Board of Supervisors on Jan. 29, will use funding from the California Dept. of Food and Agriculture to train two county agricultural inspectors on honeybee inspection, theft prevention and pest protection.
The Bee Where program aims to bring together beekeepers and pesticide applicators to track and safeguard hive locations so that bees are not harmed by pesticide exposure.
Here’s how it works:
- Beekeepers are required by law to register their colonies and provide notification about the movement of bees. Not all do. New legislation, however, puts a sting in enforcing the regulations, in the form of possible fines.
- Agricultural pesticide applicators will be made aware of bee hive locations within a mile of their application site, through the Bee Where program, and will be able to notify beekeepers 48 hours before the pesticide application is made. The will give beekeepers the opportunity to move or protect their hives.
“We want to create a GIS-based network of apiaries integrated with pesticide dispersal permits so that beekeepers can protect hives from damage, or the grower can use a different pesticide that is less harmful to bees,” said Agricultural Commissioner Juli Jensen.
“Years ago, we would track hive locations with pins on a paper map. This is a much more efficient way to get beekeepers and growers on the same page.”
The Bee Where program has been sponsored by a partnership between the California Agricultural Commissioners and Sealers Association, California Association of Pest Control Advisors, California State Beekeepers Association and the Almond Board of California.
For more information on Bee Safe and Bee Where, call Deputy Agricultural Commissioner Kevin Martyn at 916-875-6603 or visit the Bee Where website