AHBIC warns on damaging aphid control methods

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With aphids impacting canola crops in parts of the country, a warning has been issued about the damage some control methods can cause to bees.

Beekeepers have become aware that some growers are looking to spray flowering canola with dimethoate to control the pests.

While peak industry body, the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council (AHBIC), recognises the need to control aphids in canola crops, dimethoate kills honey bees.

As AHBIC chairman Ian Zadow explains, dimethoate label instructions are clear about the impact the chemical has on bees.

“The label reads ‘Dangerous to bees. DO NOT spray any plants in flower while bees are foraging’.

We are concerned use of dimethoate, contrary to label instructions, could result in the loss of beehives,” he says.

Mr Zadow says growers should take the time to confirm that dimethoate is registered for the intended use.

“It makes sense – pollination by honeybees can increase yields in canola so it is to the growers benefit to make sure that honeybees are not killed,” he explains.

BeeConnected, a new phone app, is an excellent way to connect beekeepers with growers and spray applicators to communicate and make sure honeybees are not inadvertently killed.

“This app allows growers and beekeepers to register and receive updates about activities near them which may impact their operations.

For example, a grower can be alerted that beehives are being set up in their area, and a beekeeper can find out through the app that a grower is spraying near their hives – we encourage all to utilise this service,” Mr Zadow concludes.

Both AHBIC Chairman Ian Zadow (0429 433 125) and Executive Director Trevor Weatherhead (07 5467 2265) are available for interview.

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