​​Mitigating Insect Management Effects on Pollinators

August 2016 | 9 min., 30 sec.
by Scott D. Stewart
The University of Tennessee


Insecticides and pesticides in general are receiving much blame for real and perceived declines in pollinator health. Cotton has been classified as a high-risk crop for pollinators, and regulators are looking closely at insecticide use in this crop. Both cotton farmers and beekeepers need to work together to protect pollinators but also protect themselves from unnecessary regulation that may negatively affect all involved parties. This presentation will outline some simple practices that farmers, pesticide applicators, and beekeepers can take to mitigate the negative effects of insecticides, and pesticides in general, on pollinators. To protect managed pollinators, primarily honeybees, those involved need to communicate so that hive locations are known to those applying insecticides and to place beehives where exposure to pesticides in less likely. Insecticide applications should only be made according to label instructions and following good IPM principles. In high-risk scenarios where beehives are located near agricultural fields, particularly those that are flowering, pesticide applicators should take extra steps to reduce drift and make applications late in the day. These practices will also reduce the exposure of native pollinators to pesticides. Beekeepers in the immediate can be notified when bee-toxic pesticides will be applied, giving them the opportunity to move hives placed in high-risk locations. Beekeepers have a responsibility to manage their hives to maintain good bee health, including the appropriate treatment of varroa mites and other pests. These simple steps can greatly reduce the potential exposure of pollinators to pesticides.​​

About the Presenter

Scott D. StewartScott D. Stewart is the Extension IPM Coordinator and Professor of Entomology at the University of Tennessee. He is located at the West Tennessee Research and Education Center in Jackson. His expertise is in row crops entomology with emphasis on cotton, corn, soybean, sorghum and wheat. Before his current position, Scott had research, teaching, and extension responsibilities in row crops IPM at Mississippi State University. Scott received his bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Northern Iowa. He completed his MS and PhD in entomology from Texas A&M and Auburn University, respectively. Scott develops and presents educational programs related to row crops IPM and also performs applied research including the evaluation of insecticide efficacy, GMO technologies, and other IPM tactics.​

Contact Information:
Email: sdstewart@utk.edu


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