BeeConnected App Protects Pollinators
Australia has one of the world’s healthiest honey bee populations, which pollinates roughly 65 percent of the nation’s crops. And it works hard to keep it that way using new technology, such as the BeeConnected app.
CropLife Australia – in partnership with the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council and with the support of national farming organizations – created the novel smart phone app in September 2014, which enables collaboration between farmers and beekeepers. BeeConnected is a user-driven communication and coordination tool that uses GPS capability to allow farmers to easily log the location of their properties through Google Maps. Beekeepers can also use the same functions to log the present and future locations of their beehives. When a beehive is logged near a farmer’s property, users within the area are sent automated notifications and can chat about their activities via a secure messaging service.
The great thing about the app is that farmers and agricultural service contractors can share information about the time and location of a crop protection product application. They are then connected with beekeepers in their area by the same alert and messaging system. This communication protects bees by ensuring they are not pollinating during application times.
Since its launch, all of Australia’s state farmer organizations and several key agricultural producer groups have joined the BeeConnected initiative as official supporters and promote the use of the smartphone app among their members. Following the success in Australia, the app has been licensed in Canada and India, and there are plans for it to spread even further.