Iowa implements new rule to protect bee colonies - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa implements new rule to protect bee colonies

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -- The Iowa Secretary of Agriculture says worldwide reports of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), where whole hives of bees just disappear, is alarming for Iowa where bees are vital to the state's agricultural productivity.

Bees help pollinate crops and as a result, the Secretary of Agriculture estimates the economic impact of honey bee pollination in Iowa is $92 million annually.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship recently published an updated "Bee Rule" that is designed to better protect the health of the 30,000 colonies of bees that are located across the state.

The updated rule limits the application of insecticides labeled as dangerous to bees in areas near registered apiaries around the active foraging hours of honeybees. The applications must occur prior to 8:00 a.m. or after 6:00 p.m. These times are designed to prevent application directly to foraging bees and also allows chemicals to settle and dry onto plant surfaces outside the primary hours of active bee foraging.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey is urging all the apiaries in the state to register with the Sensitive Crops Directory so that pesticide applicators have the most up-to-date information possible. In an effort to keep the directory as accurate as possible, the information will be purged every year on Dec. 31, so it is vital that those on the directory re-enter their information every year to remain active.

The new "Bee Rule" came from meetings held by Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship officials, Iowa Honey Producers Association board members, pesticide applicators, Iowa State University experts and beekeepers.

The previous "Bee Rule" had been in place since 1979. Recently the Administrative Rules Review formally invalidated the old rule on the grounds the Department lacked that statutory authority to implement it. This action made enforcement of the old rule impossible.

Online Producer: Jenn Jarvis

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