Keith Bennett, CGCS
Grass Roots Turf Products, Inc.
There have been a lot of questions asked regarding the beekeeper notification legislation. Below is a set of guidelines that will hopefully help detail some of the responsibilities of the pesticide applicator and help them to navigate through the requirements of the legislation.
1) Read the legislation. It is not long and has information that you should be aware of. Two examples being an exemption for applications less than 3 acres and provisions for emergency applications. It can be found at this link: http://www.nj.gov/dep/enforcement/pcp/regulations/Subchapter%209.pdf
2) Have a pollinator plan in place and be prepared to share it with beekeepers in your area. This can be as simple as creating a policy to not spray weeds while flowering and not spraying in high winds where spray may drift into non-target areas. These management practices can greatly decrease the chance that pollinators will be affected and may be practices that are already utilized. Explaining these policies to beekeepers may help to correct the perception that many lay people have regarding the dangers of chemical applications.
3) Find your local beekeepers and reach out to them. Look through the state list of registered beekeepers and figure out who is within 3 miles of the application site. If there is doubt whether a beekeeper falls within the range or not, err on the side of caution and add them to your contact list. Sifting through the list and determining who falls within your contact zone will be the most challenging and tedious part of the entire process. A link to the list follows: http://www.nj.gov/dep/enforcement/pcp/bpo/2017DEPNotificationList.xlsx
Once you have formulated a list, reach out to each beekeeper individually for an initial introduction. Explain who you are, what you do, and what your plan is to keep their pollinators safe. If the beekeepers choose to not be contacted prior to each regulated application, there is a standard waiver detailed in the beekeeper legislation that stays in effect until withdrawn by the beekeeper.
Inform your beekeepers that they will be notified via email prior to all applications in accordance with the legislation. This is generally the most convenient of approved methods of communication and provides a documented history in case any questions arise later.
4) Read your labels! Notification is only needed for products that are labeled to be toxic to bees. In general this includes all your commonly used insecticides. Note that granular insecticides are not labeled as toxic to bees and therefore do not require notification.
5) Notify everyone on your list at least 24 hours prior to applications in accordance with the legislation. As mentioned earlier, there are provisions to include emergency applications that may arise. Set up all your apiarists on a group email. This will save time prior to applications, especially if you have a lot of hives around you. Be sure to include all recipient email addresses as a blind carbon copy (BCC). BCC’s hide who is on the email list and make it impossible for someone to send a message back to all other recipients.