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Beekeepers, Citrus Growers Come Up With Plan To Deal With Pesticide Worries

Creative Commons

Beekeepers and citrus growers have come up with a plan to deal with concerns over bees and pesticide exposure in groves.

State officials brought beekeepers and citrus growers together during a series of public meetings.

The historically symbiotic relationship between the two hit a few bumps last year. Because of citrus greening, growers have been forced to increase their use of pesticides. Since beekeepers winter their bees in groves, there has been worry of massive bee kills.

Steven Dwinell with the Florida Department of Agriculture said the situation was a “perfect storm.”

“It could have been a very bad situation where the beekeepers where putting their bees in hives in situations where they were real dangerous,” he said. “Really the only way out is to talk to each other and work together and that’s what they did.”

Dwinell said both beekeepers and growers agreed to start writing down agreements, as opposed to what he calls “hand shake agreements,” which were the norm in the past.

Both groups also agreed to initiate more one-on-one communication—making sure beekeepers know when growers plan to spray pesticides.

Dwinell said the state has created an online tool where apiarists can list the location of their hives for growers. He said about 70 beekeepers have already started using the system.

Ashley Lopez is a reporter forWGCUNews. A native of Miami, she graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a journalism degree.
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