Farming For Bees

There are three actions that farmers and landowners can take to help bees and other pollinators:

  • provide sites for managed honey bees
  • use pesticides with care
  • provide food sources and suitable habitats.

Removing the honey crop at a farmland apiary site [Photo: David Wainwright]


Sites for Honey Bees

Making suitable sites (known as apiaries) available has mutual benefits for both the farmer/landowner and the bee farmer. Sites may be permanent or temporary, used only at certain times of the year.

A good site also has following features:

  • good source(s) of nectar for all or just some of the active season
  • accessible by vehicle (4×4)
  • away from public rights of way
  • protected from prevailing winds
  • well-drained, free from risk of flooding
  • away from frost pockets
  • away from deep shade or overhanging trees
  • protected from livestock and other animals
  • not too close to other apiary sites.

If you have a suitable site you would like to offer, we may be able to put you in touch with a local bee farmer. Please contact the Membership and Administration Officer.

Pesticides

The Bee Farmers’ Association recognises the use of pesticides is a necessity for many farming businesses. There are a number of steps farmers can take to minimise the risks to honey bees from pesticide spraying:

  • know where there are beehives located and to whom they belong
  • inform the bee farmer or beekeeper that you are planning to spray
  • spray in the evening, early morning or on a cool cloudy day when bees are not flying
  • avoid pesticide drift into beehives due to wind or indiscriminate spraying
  • use products as directed in product information.
Food Sources and Habitats

Management practices which seek to provide food and habitats for wild pollinators will also benefit managed honey bees.

Further Information

The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) publishes a range of information and guidance on farming for bees and other pollinators.