Beekeepers can enroll in emergency spray notifications
Beekeepers in Michigan can now receive alerts for when emergency aerial pesticide spraying is taking place in their area.
Earlier this year, state Senator Rick Outman of Six Lakes introduced legislation to create a notification system for residents to be alerted when the agriculture department makes emergency pesticide applications as part of a public health emergency, like with Eastern Equine Encephalitis or West Nile Virus outbreaks. The bill is currently in committee, but the department has partnered to create an email alert system for beekeepers.
Director Gary McDowell tells Brownfield, “There’s a real concern about the future of pollinators, and especially in farming you know how important they are, and we’ve got to do everything we can to protect our bees.
Pesticide applicators are currently required to notify people in the area before applications, but notifications are waived during public health emergencies. McDowell says existing resources are being leveraged to notify beekeepers after concerns about emergency spraying were made following applications last year.
More than half of Michigan’s fruit and vegetable industry is reliant on honeybee pollination.