It’s one of the most pressing topics on the lips of the nation’s conservationists: the decline of the British bumblebee population. As agricultural techniques have evolved to serve the ever-increasing demand for food, the ecology of the British countryside has been drastically altered, and it’s our native bees that are feeling the heat from the increased use of pesticides on our native crops.
Connected To The Environment
But one initiative created by Code Computerlove is using the power of digital to help protect the nation’s bees. BeeConnected is an innovative new web-based system allowing farmers and beekeepers to communicate and manage their pesticide use to protect the local bee population. Farmers will be able to upload on the system the details of a field which will be sprayed with pesticides, and this information will be sent to all registered neighbouring beekeepers in a 5km radius. It will also allow beekeepers to communicate with farmers directly.
The solution has been created by The Voluntary Initiative in partnership with Code Computerlove, with support from the Crop Protection Association, and can be used via smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer. It is hoped that this network will promote cooperation between farmers and beekeepers to explore the safest and most environmentally-friendly methods to protect both crops and bees. Richard Murdoch of Code Computerlove says: “While social networking and dating sites like Tinder are connecting consumers all over the globe, changing the way we interact and live, this is an innovative way of allowing British farmers and bee keepers to connect and work together for the greater good of the honeybee.
“Applying digital techniques in clever and relevant ways, to reduce the risk to bees, is a strong move forward. We’re seeing lots of traditional professions, like farming, embracing exciting new apps and systems to make their job easier and with longer term greater benefits.”
Futureproofing Our Practices
The app also holds a database of currently-approved pesticides, which users can search through by name or active ingredient of a particular chemical through a drop-down list. But there are plans to further explore the app’s potential and grow its capabilities for connecting farmers and beekeepers with the latest bee-friendly developments. Richard added: “At present the website is focused on the spray notification system. In due course the website may offer further, relevant information to both farmers and beekeepers to encourage best practice in protecting pollinators. We will adapt the site and introduce new features as we learn from both farmers and beekeepers on the best ways to apply the technology based on their usage and experience preference.”
With the power of digital leaning into the fight, there may be hope for the nation’s bee population yet!
To find out more, visit www.beeconnected.org.uk