RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC
The line at the pollinator all-you-can-eat buffet is a little longer this year thanks to the contributions of consumers and partners joining Bayer's Feed a Bee initiative to plant more than 65 million flowers in 2015.
More than 250,000 consumers joined the initiative to feed pollinators as the Feed a Bee website and #FeedABee hashtag went viral. By the end of the year, more than 70 organizations joined the fight pledging thousands of acres of land to the pollinator potluck dinner; all while educating the community about the role bees play in producing the fruits, nuts and vegetables we enjoy every day.
'When we talk to the public, the most common question we hear is, 'What can I do to help bees?' said Dr. Becky Langer, manager of the North American Bee Care Program. 'Providing pollinators with abundant, diverse food sources is one of the most important things we can all do to promote bee health. We created Feed a Bee to make it easy for people to be involved, and we are delighted with the overwhelming response. We look forward to getting even more people involved this year.'
Studies have shown when bees have access to adequate, diverse food sources they are better able to withstand the stresses caused by the devastating Varroa mite, as well as other mites and diseases.
Through Feed a Bee, Bayer is working to increase forage options for bees and other pollinators at a time when agriculture is relying on them more and more to help produce enough food to feed a growing world population.
The first year of the Feed a Bee program set the bar high, and Bayer aims to generate even more buzz in 2016 by establishing national partnerships and educating more consumers about what they can do to get involved and help pollinators thrive. Through online activations and events throughout the year, Bayer hopes to reach new audiences to surpass the milestones Feed a Bee achieved in 2015.
'We've seen some great news in pollinator health in the past year from increasing population numbers to heightened involvement from consumers and other stakeholders,' said Jim Blome, president and CEO of Crop Science, a Division of Bayer. 'We still have much work to do to ensure the future health of our honey bee colonies, but we hope the foundation we have from Feed a Bee will continue to bring more partners to the table.'
In addition to enlisting consumers to plant additional forage, Feed a Bee partnered with several national organizations, including the National Wild Turkey Federation, American Agri-Women and Project Apis m. Headquartered in North Carolina, Bayer also partnered with local organizations to increase forage in the state, including produce delivery service The Produce Box and the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT).
Throughout the year, the Feed a Bee initiative has also helped create additional forage in major urban areas. In June, Feed a Bee enlisted the help of the residents of Atlanta to plant the first pollinator garden in the city's Piedmont Park to provide food for the bees in the Park's apiaries. The University of D.C., an official Feed a Bee partner, also planted flowers for forage in its new rooftop garden, providing bees and other beneficial insects in the nation's capital with additional habitat and food resources.
Feed a Bee continues to attract partners from the nonprofit, public and private sectors, most recently Pheasants Forever, a wildlife conservation group. Other partners that have signed on in 2015 span across individuals, industry sectors and geographies, including:
10 CAN, Inc. (Newberry, Florida)
AgriCenter International (Memphis, Tennessee)
Anoka-Ramsey Community College (Coon Rapids, Minnesota)
Bearpath Golf & Country Club (Eden Prairie, Minnesota)
Bee-Haven (Okanogan, Washington)
Bill Buckner (Raleigh, North Carolina)
Blackberry Hill Farm (Newark, Ohio)
Boston Golf Club (Hingham, Massachusetts)
Buzzard Roost Farms (Memphis, Tennessee)
Cantigny Golf (Wheaton, Illinois)
Carmel Valley Ranch Golf Course (Carmel, California)
Chris Vario (Jefferson Hills, Pennsylvania)
City of Donahue (Illinois)
City of Largo, Parks Division (Largo, Florida)
Colton Gorges (New London, Wisconsin)
Cookson-Proctor Cemetery (Cookson, Oklahoma)
Daniel Forsman (Lawrenceville, Georgia)
Department of Plant and Soil Science, Texas Tech University (Lubbock, Texas)
Down2Earth Farms (Rougemont, North Carolina)
Eric Darm (Lorton, Virginia)
Florida State Beekeepers Association (North Port, Florida)
French Lick Resort (French Lick, Indiana)
Girl Scout Troup 456 (Tappahannock, Virginia)
Hefty Seed Company (Baltic, South Dakota)
James Taylor (Clayton, North Carolina)
K&L Acres (Bracey, Virginia)
Lake Marion Golf Course (Santee, South Carolina)
Laurie Scott (Jeannette, Pennsylvania)
Medina Golf & Country Club (Medina, Minnesota)
Nathan Gulbis (St. Petersburg, Florida)
North Carolina State University Southern Integrated Pest Management Center (Raleigh, North Carolina)
Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy (Williamsport, Pennsylvania)
Oak Meadow Country Club (Evansville, Indiana)
Oakland Beekeepers Association (Macomb, Michigan)
Occoneechee Council Boy Scouts of America (Raleigh, North Carolina)
Peter & Goodie Bees and Blueberry Farm (Baxter, Minnesota)
Powell Farms (Branchville, Virginia)
Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School (Rabun Gap, Georgia)
Ratcliff Beekeeping (Bedford, Indiana)
Somerset Country Club (Mendota Heights, Minnesota)
SynTech Research Laboratory Services (Stilwell, Kansas)
The Red House Ranch (London, Ohio)
Union County Beekeepers Association (Marshville, North Carolina)
Verona United Methodist Church (Verona, Virginia)
Watson Farms (Kershaw, South Carolina)
'We look forward to building on the successes we have seen this year as we take the Feed a Bee program into 2016,' said Dr. Langer. 'None of this would have been possible without the support of everyone from the individuals who planted the wildflower packets they received to our partners who planted acres of additional forage.'
Feed a Bee is one of several programs sponsored by Bayer's Bee Care Program, continuing its nearly 30 years of supporting bee health. For more information on Bayer's bee health initiatives, visit: http://beehealth.bayer.us. Follow and share with them on Twitter @BayerBeeCare, on Facebook at facebook.com/BayerBeeCareCenter and view photos on Flickr.
Bayer is committed to bringing new technology and solutions for agriculture and non-agricultural uses. For questions concerning the availability and use of products, contact a local Bayer representative, or visit Crop Science, a division of Bayer, online at www.bayercropscience.us.