A major endeavor is under way to educate soybean farmers about helping save honeybees. The Honey Bee Health Coalition this month unveiled a management plan for growers. Adam Dolezal, assistant professor at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, did the research for the report. He told us several factors have led to massive bee die-offs, including pesticide use and loss of habitat.
“Surely there’s no question that farming huge amounts of land with one or two crops throughout areas that used to not be cropland has an impact on pollinators, but I think farmers are interested in seeing recommendations to reduce any impacts that they might have.”
Recommendations for farmers include spraying fields at night when bees are least active, avoiding applying pesticides during bloom time, and determining where hives are located around the farm. Nearly 2 million acres of soybeans are planted each year in Michigan and contribute $1.5 billion to the state’s economy each year.