With the agricultural season getting into full swing, this means that pesticides will be being applied throughout the county. With that in mind, I would like to remind applicators, specialty crop producers, and beekeepers to stay in communication with one another, as the best way to avoid conflict is to talk to each other prior to applications being made. One great tool that helps with this process is the website DriftWatch, which can be accessed at: https://in.driftwatch.org/ The DriftWatch website is a voluntary tool in which specialty crop producers (usually fruit and vegetable growers) and beekeepers can register their production sites on a map. Pesticide applicators can then check the map prior to applications so that they are aware of these sensitive sites and can take the necessary precautions to avoid overspray or drift.
DriftWatch is a voluntary mapping program created by the Purdue Department of Agriculture and is run by the non-profit company FieldWatch Inc. The site is free to use and is viewable by the public; however, the tool should only be used by specialty crop producers, pesticide applicators and beekeepers. Applicable specialty crop producers are those that are considered commercial producers and have at least one half acre under production.
Aside from checking DriftWatch and staying in communication with neighbors, the most important thing pesticide applicators can do to avoid any potential conflict is to always read and follow label directions of the product they are applying. Many labels will have special warnings if the product is particularly sensitive to a certain crop or bees.
Another great tool to check out it is Purdue’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) website at: https://extension.entm.purdue.edu/fieldcropsipm/ Here you can access information on common corn, soybean, small grains and forage pests. The website features a scouting calendar for each crop letting you know when to be looking out for a particular pest, what the damage will look like, and when a treatment is necessary.
The purpose of IPM is to take into account different control methods before a chemical control is used. Examples of these controls would be: cultural, biological, and mechanical. Once these options are eliminated, then a chemical control can be suggested, but only once the pest has reached a level where it is economically beneficial to control. Adopting an integrated approach to pest management is the best long term solution for pest control and economic feasibility.