Think carefully about whether to use pesticides especially where pollinators are active or nesting or where plants are in flower. Consider control methods appropriate to your situation and only use pesticides if absolutely necessary. Many people choose to avoid chemicals and adopt methods like physically removing pests or using barriers to deter them. If you choose to use a pesticide, always follow the label instructions.
Gardeners, allotment holders and amenity managers
Only use pesticides if absolutely necessary or use non-chemical alternatives where possible. In particular, avoid using pesticides on flowering plants or where pollinators are active or nesting. You could protect your plants by removing pests by hand or building barriers around vulnerable plants, such as netting or cardboard barriers, or by companion planting such as marigolds to ward off aphids.
Farmers, growers and large-scale amenity managers
For a balanced approach to managing pests on a larger scale, you should increase use of Integrated Pest Management (IPM). You could also consider husbandry methods such as organic farming if they suit your business needs and circumstances. IPM entails the use of a range of approaches to prevent or suppress harmful organisms. These may include: crop rotation; appropriate cultivation techniques; balanced fertilisation, liming and irrigation; hygiene measures; protecting beneficial organisms; and using resistant or tolerant cultivars and certified seed and planting material.
Good practice in relation to pest control includes the following actions:
• Monitor your crops regularly to identify any pest problems, and take action as necessary based on the results;
• Use pest thresholds, where possible, to determine the need for plant protection measures. Take action only when the thresholds have been exceeded;
• When measures are really needed use biological, physical and other non-chemical methods where possible;
• Where pesticides have to be used, choose products that are as specific as possible and have the least side effects. Plan to use as little as possible and only what you need.
For further advice on IPM please visit: Linking Environment and Farming (LEAF), The Voluntary Initiative or The Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board.
Organic farming limits the use of pesticides, encouraging the use of alternative non-chemical methods. These include rotation of crops, increasing genetic diversity, use of resistant crops and biological pest control.
For further advice on organic farming go to:
Note: Government experts and a wide range of interested parties have helped to inform the development of these actions and the supporting advice. It is intended as good practice advice and should not be regarded as official guidance. The Bees’ Needs is hosted by The Bumblebee Conservation Trust on behalf of Defra in support of the emerging National Pollinator Strategy. The Bumblebee Conservation Trust does not own or endorse any content other than as a contributing stakeholder to the National Pollinator Strategy along with many other organisations and individuals.
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