National Pollinator Week 2014
Friday, June 13, 2014
By Kim Huntzinger, Bayer Bee Care Program researcher
Happy National Pollinator Week!
National Pollinator Week (June 16-22), offers Bayer CropScience and the Bayer Bee Care Program a special time to join with others in recognizing pollinators and their incredible contribution to the world’s food supply and plant variety.
Our goal for the pollinator gardens surrounding the Bayer Bee Care Center in Research Triangle Park, N.C., is to provide pollen and nectar sources for a variety of bee species and other pollinators (beetles, butterflies, bats, hummingbirds) and to develop nesting habitats. Bees use both the pollen and nectar to survive and to feed to their developing young.
At the Center, it’s easy to see the change in seasons from spring to summer. The nectar flow in the surrounding landscape has slowed and the supplemental sugar-water feeder attached to our hive is depleting at a much higher rate than it was in April when there was a big nectar flow from tulip poplars and other sources. The queen has slowed her egg laying as we enter summer’s dearth period. Our bees have several frames full of honey, which is good for this dearth period.
You can join in celebrating National Pollinator Week by planting pollinator-friendly plants that serve as good nutritional source for bees because not all flowering plants provide the nourishment bees need. Find out what pollinator-friendly plants grow well in your area and know the foraging months for bees in your area. Here in RTP, N.C., bees might be foraging at any time of the year, although certainly less so in the two coldest winter months. By learning about and planting a variety of pollinator-friendly plants that bloom across all seasons, you can help foraging bees in your own backyard.
Bees are fascinating creatures and I learn more about them every day. We’re looking to enhance our garden as a diverse habitat for pollinators by adding more plants that are known bee attractants with large sources of pollen and nectar. Bees work hard and we want to make their foraging trips worthwhile and encourage new bee species to move into our area. Honey bees are just one of over 4,000 species of bees in North America. Bees come in all shapes, sizes and colors, but all bees are important pollinators.
Find tips for improving your habitat for pollinators by visiting us on Twitter at @BayerBeeCare, on our website, or visit us here at the Bayer Bee Care Center.
Kim Huntzinger, a researcher in the Diagnostic Lab at the Bee Care Center, is passionate about bees in the lab and in the garden. She studies solitary bees and honey bees and their attractants. Most bees are solitary, meaning there are no workers to divide the labor of foraging, guarding and honey making. The lone bee forages and lays eggs which means she does not have time to make honey or guard.
For more information about National Pollinators Week please visit www.pollinatorweek.bayer.com.