Healthy Hives 2020 Aims to Help Honey Bee Colonies Thrive

Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Healthy Hives 2020 Initiative

By: David Fischer, Director of Pollinator Safety, Bayer CropScience

 

There has been good news around bee health over the past several months. The USDA honey bee report shows an increase in the number of hives and a ten-year growth trend. We, at Bayer, are encouraged by this and want to continue our commitment of supporting bee health. We are proud to announce the launch of a new research initiative called Healthy Hives 2020  (HH2020). This initiative, guided by an advisory council of bee health experts, is tasked with finding tangible solutions that will improve the health of honey bee colonies in the United States by the year 2020.

 

The Health Hives 2020 Advisory Council will bring together bee health stakeholders from a variety of backgrounds including academia, government, agriculture, business and the beekeeping community. The cross-section of these communities will be able to better quantify and determine the characteristics of a healthy honey bee hive in order to develop new strategies and concrete solutions to improve colony health.

 

While the overall number of honey bee colonies in North America is stable (or increasing), there are a number of factors and stressors affecting the bees.  These include lack of forage, diseases, and invasive pests, such as the Varroa mite.  The Bayer Bee Care Program is prioritizing bee health research by acknowledging and focusing in on these factors in order to create measurable goals with some of the country’s top pollinator health experts.

 

To kick off this effort, the selected council members will meet in June to define the current status of honey bee health and begin to identify target areas of research. These ideas will then develop into an action plan towards finding solutions to improve honey bee health long-term. Sponsored research through collaborations with Project Apis m., Pollinator Partnership and the Honey Bee Health Coalition will be conducted, as well as research funded directly by the North American Bayer Bee Care Center.

 

While rigorous and thorough research is the top priority of the Healthy Hives 2020 initiative, Bayer’s commitment to bee health does not stop there. Through Feed a Bee, Bayer is working to plant bee-attractant forage, one of the biggest issues facing pollinators. Feed a Bee is working with individuals and organizations across the nation to grow over 50 million flowers and to increase bee forage areas.

 

We look forward to continuing our efforts of finding solutions to help honey bee colonies thrive with the new Healthy Hives 2020 council. For more information about this initiative, as well as other Bayer Bee Care Center programs please visit www.beehealth.bayer.us.

 

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