Delaware Managed Pollinator Protection Plan Draft

The Delaware Department of Agriculture is seeking public feedback and input on a draft plan to protect and enhance populations of bees and other valuable pollinators in the state.

The Managed Pollinator Protection Plan includes best management practices that beekeepers, fruit and vegetable growers, and pesticide applicators can use to help pollinators thrive. It also includes strategies to increase the quantity and quality of pollinator forage on private and public lands.

Pollinated crops in Delaware include watermelon, cucumbers, strawberries, cantaloupes, apples, blueberries, cranberries, squash and pumpkins. Delaware farmers bring in about 3,000 bee colonies each year to maximize crop pollination, adding to the work of the state's 270 registered beekeepers who have between 2,000 and 3,000 hives.

One tool to protect sensitive crops is the DriftWatch program, an online initiative that helps farmers and beekeepers alert pesticide applicators about special areas before they spray.

Delaware is also involved in a three-year project to engage specialty crop growers and beekeepers in the development and implementation a pollinator protection plan, to reduce bees’ risk of pesticide exposure. We also plan to develop and model best management practices for improving the availability and quality of bee forage, which are key to improving honey and native bees’ nutrition. Both efforts combined will improve the health and vitality of bees, which will in turn enhance specialty crop pollination and allow for increased production of honey.

Comments and feedback on the plan are welcome, and needed by March 15, 2016. They may be sent via email or by mail to:

Chris Wade, Pesticides Administrator
Delaware Department of Agriculture
2320 South DuPont Highway
Dover, DE 19901