It’s easier than ever to ‘BeeConnected’

The future of sustainable and productive agriculture to ensure global food security will require the continued judicious use of crop protection products while protecting pollinators like honey bees.

This highlights how crucial it is that the honey bee and plant science industries, together with the broader farming sector approach this challenge in a cooperative and coordinated partnership, says CropLife Australia, CEO Matthew Cossey.

“Pollination is a critical part of farming, so too is the use of crop protection products – with as much as half of the world’s food supply threatened by destructive pests, invasive weeds and fungal diseases. Real solutions, based on science, that protect pollinators while still enabling modern farming practices must be embraced,” he said.

“Australian beekeepers and farmers will now be even better equipped to protect our precious pollinators after the launch of an updated and improved BeeConnected app, developed by CropLife Australia in partnership with the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council.

“Australia continues to have one of the healthiest honey bee colonies in the world. BeeConnected is an award‑winning and globally recognised example of what the Australian plant science and agriculture industry is doing to keep it this way,” Mr Cossey said.

Chair of the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council, Trevor Weatherhead AM said the organisation is proud to partner in such an innovative tool that enables beekeepers and farmers to work together to promote efficiencies and collaboration in their valuable work.

“The importance of bees and other pollinators cannot be taken for granted. Honey bees enable up to $14.2 billion of value to be created in the Australian economy annually. BeeConnected aims to give beekeepers an assurance that farmers and spray contractors are committed to a cooperative approach as they all go about their work.”

“BeeConnected helps to improve communication and collaboration between farmers and beekeepers to reduce the risk of exposure of bees to any product used as part of normal farming practice that may have the potential to negatively impact bee health,” Mr Weatherhead said.

CropLife Australia, in partnership with the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council, launched BeeConnected in September 2014. The second version of the app has been significantly improved following user feedback.

“BeeConnected is a crucial part of CropLife’s Pollinator Protection Initiative and another example of the plant science industry’s commitment to protecting the significant role pollinators play in Australian agriculture and the environment more broadly,” Mr Cossey said.

“The initiative provides resources for Australian farmers to ensure that pesticides are used responsibly and in a manner that minimises risk to pollinators, something our members are deeply committed to.”

How it works

BeeConnected is a nationwide, user-driven smart-phone app that enables collaboration between beekeepers, farmers and spray contractors. The app allows farmers to easily log the location of their properties through a Google Maps-based platform with GPS capability.

Beekeepers can use the same functions to log the present or future locations of their beehives. When a beehive is logged nearby a farmer’s property, both users are sent automated notifications and can chat further about their activities via a secure internal messaging service.

“In the six years since its launch, the support of farmer and grower associations from across Australia has been invaluable to the app’s success,” Mr Cossey said. “Since we launched the app in Australia, it has also been rolled out in countries across three continents and in five different languages.”

BeeConnected can be downloaded from Google Play and the App Store.

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