The Delaware Department of Agriculture unveiled its plan to protect and enhance populations of bees and other valuable pollinators in the state.
The Delaware 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.
Farming and Pollinators
USDA-NRCS Delaware Conservation Practices:
- USDA-NRCS Delaware Conservation Practice Standard Hedge Row Planting Code 422
- USDA-NRCS Delaware Conservation Cover Code 327 Job Sheet
- USDA-NRCS Field Border Code 386
Information and Education on Bees and Pollinators
Delaware Native Plant and Bee Friendly Plant Lists
Plant Sources Specifically for Native Plants