Have you heard of BeeConnected?
28 April 2023
BeeConnected is an online tool that does what it “says on the tin” – connects beekeepers with farmers and vice versa.
Developed in association with the BBKA (British Beekeepers Association) and Croplife UK, BeeConnected is funded and administered by the Voluntary Initiative, an organisation that encourages UK farmers to adopt an integrated pest management approach to sustainable crop production. BeeConnected is free, quick and easy to use and anonymous in that beekeepers cannot see the location of individual fields and likewise, farmers cannot see the location of individual hives. When a farmer is considering applying an insecticide to a field, they can set-up a “spray event”, the BeeConnected system searches for beekeepers with hives within a 5km distance of the field and sends them an alert message. The beekeeper and farmer are then able to communicate (again completely anonymously) using the BeeConnected BeeMail internal messaging service.
Launched a few years ago, BeeConnected currently connects 3440 beekeepers (with 5466 hives) with 1794 farmers (across 11,036 fields). So, what are the pros and cons of using BeeConnected? We asked the current 2022/23 Farm Sprayer Operator Of The Year (FSOOTY) Champion Steve May, since Steve is also liaison officer for Northamptonshire Beekeeping Association what he liked and didn’t like about the scheme?
Steve mentioned that as a sprayer operator, we sometimes have to control insects that are causing economic damage to our crops, generally using insecticides. Use of insecticides is not taken lightly and they are not applied until thresholds for the particular pest are met. BeeConnected gives me the best chance of warning local beekeepers that an insecticide may be applied and when it’s going to happen, allowing them to take any action. It creates an invaluable link between local farmers and beekeepers.
We asked Steve why this was useful? He continued that, as the spray Liaison officer for Northamptonshire he didn’t have the phone numbers for many farmers or beekeepers, mainly due to GDPA rules. Steve explained, Beeconnected allows the two parties to come together without the unnecessary middleman, not forgetting that there may be multiple beekeepers in any one application area. It’s also much quicker and can give more precise information on crop protection products being used and the area they are being used in.
The BeeMail service is particularly good as the beekeeper can ask questions and this allows dialogue to strike up, which can lead to better understanding on both sides.
To register for BeeConnected or to find out more information, visit: