50 Cool Ways to Help Feed a Bee

Wednesday, August 5, 2015
Honey bee pollinating purple flower

Earlier this summer, we announced the exciting news that the Feed a Bee initiative achieved its goal of receiving pledges to plant 50 million flowers. Now, we’re coming back to you to share even more good news – we’ve exceeded our goal of 50 official Feed a Bee partners!


Throughout the year, we’ve partnered with many diverse organizations that cover the broad spectrum of people who care about bee health, from businesses to government entities and private growers to nonprofits. Thanks to these collaborations, we can help ensure even more acres are planted to provide bees with the nectar and pollen they need to thrive.


Check out the 50 ways our Feed a Bee partners have helped to feed the bees, and use the hashtag #FeedABee to share how you would help!


1. Turning farmland into a pollinator paradise.
A dairy farm based out of Kansas, McCarty Family Farms has dedicated 10 acres to bee forage with the potential to expand up to 65 acres in future years.  McCarty Family Farms produces milk for The Dannon Company, where yogurt and other delicious dairy foods are made.


2. Working with growers to better bee health.
The nonprofit organization Project Apis m. will provide seed mixes to almond growers in California and apple growers in Washington to plant cover crops across a minimum of 2,000 acres for honey bees before and after bloom and other key seasons.


3. Fostering collaboration with seed companies to repurpose outdated seed.
The National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) Conservation Seed Program takes unpurchased, outdated seed from seed companies for conservation purposes. As part of the Feed a Bee initiative, NWTF will support pollinator conservation efforts, by planting 18 acres of pollinator areas throughout its headquarters in South Carolina.


4-5. Beautifying our highways.
The next time you drive through North Carolina, make sure you admire the beautiful wildflowers and sunflowers blooming alongside the roads and highways, thanks to the North Carolina Department of Transportation as they increase plantings of flowers as part of the Feed a Bee program! Dr. Danesha Seth Carley, a professor at North Carolina State University and co-director of the Southern Integrated Pest Management Center, will enlist her students to assess and share the data from the pollinators at the sunflower patches, as well as distribute seed packets.


6-8. Providing us with fresh fruits, veggies and seed packets to plant our own gardens.
Each week, The Produce Box delivers fresh fruits and vegetables to consumers in North Carolina, supporting more than 40 farmers and 60 artisan food businesses across the state. As part of its collaboration with Feed a Bee, The Produce Box included a seed packet in its weekly produce boxes to encourage its customers to establish new habitat for honey bees. Down 2 Earth Farms provides produce each week for The Produce Box, along with James Taylor, the only celery grower in North Carolina. These growers pledged to establish their own pollinator patch after hearing about the Feed a Bee initiative through their work with the delivery service. Now that’s delicious!


9. Expanding efforts to enhance forage options.
Integrated Vegetation Management Partners, Inc., a nonprofit headquartered in Delaware, will improve habitats for pollinators, birds and other wildlife in upland and wetland ecosystems in sites across eight states: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Oregon, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.


10. Taking science beyond the classroom.
Melanie Waite-Altringer, a biology faculty member at Anoka-Ramsey Community College in Isanti, Minnesota, has planted 15-25 acres of wildflower seed for a project studying pollinator biodiversity. The study will examine the influence of three different types of forage (wildflower, InVigor® canola and restored prairie) on beneficial pollinating insects.


11. Providing the seeds to make it all happen!
Ernst Conservation Seeds in Pennsylvania has been supplying bulk seed to Feed a Bee partner organizations, providing an important source of nutrients for pollinators all season long. In addition, Ernst has provided native transplants for the Bayer Bee Care Center and The Bee Barometer of Catigny Golf in Illinois, another Feed a Bee Partner.


12-13. Making every acre count.
Virginia-based grower Robert H. Powell noticed a two-acre portion of his farm that was not being used and decided it would be an ideal site for wildflowers that would provide habitat for honey bees. North Dakota, lawyer and beekeeper Jonathan T. Garaas will plant an acre of wildflower seeds on his property.


14. Pulling quadruple-duty.
In addition to providing us with delicious and nutritious kale, Walter P. Rawl and Sons, Inc., based in South Carolina and the largest producer of kale on the East Coast, pledged to plant wildflower fields on four different farms owned and operated by the company.


15. Beekeeping for the greater good.
The Verona United Methodist Church in Verona, Virginia, planted wildflower seeds in a nearby three-acre field that houses the church’s beekeeping ministry, which has grown to 10 hives, with approximately 15 church and community members involved in caring for the hives and extracting and bottling the honey. Proceeds from honey sales go to support the church’s mission trips to Haiti and other locations.


16. Teaching the next generation about beekeeping.
Salem4Youth, a residential school in Illinois for young men, boasts 10 working hives on campus that teach students the ins and outs of beekeeping. A nearby cornfield will be converted into a pollinator patch to support the apiary. Steve McNair, director of development for Salem4Youth, was also the recipient of the first ever Bayer Bee Care Community Leadership Award!


17. Celebrating pollinators with homeowners.
TruGreen, a lawn care company with certified specialists who work to provide tailored lawn care for their customers, distributed seed packets to clients in Massachusetts and New York to celebrate National Pollinator Week this past June. The company also received 10,000 seed packets to supplement its TruNeighbor Restoration program.


18. Spreading the bee-gospel across the nation.
As part of its “Drive Across America,” the American Agri-Women are speaking about pollinator health and distributing wildflower seed packets at various stops during their five month trek across the country. They also planted a community garden in Raleigh, North Carolina, earlier this year and will work with Bayer for an event in California this fall.


19. Bringing new life to an old field.
A member of the Beekeepers Association of Northern Virginia, Eric Darm is turning an old hay field into a pollinator haven.


20. Multitasking.
A family-owned and operated farm producing apples and pumpkins, Half Crown Hill Orchard in Pennsylvania also boasts its own apiary, so they’re able to plant their crops and pollinate them, too! They’re planting extra forage to expand their apiary to 20 hives.  


21. Healing care and pollinators.
A hospital in St. Joseph, Missouri, Mosaic Life Care is putting in a pollinator plot as part of its Prairie Restoration program. The plot will help support the new bee hive in the area.


22. Educating blueberry lovers.
Bennett Orchards in Frankford, Delaware, will establish an eight-acre pollinator strip along its blueberry planting and has pledged to use the strip as an educational opportunity for the groups that come to pick their own blueberries each summer.


23-25. Networking.
The Anson County Beekeepers Association in North Carolina, the Milwaukee-Waukesha Bee Association in Wisconsin and the Florida State Beekeepers Association distributed seeds to member beekeepers in a multi-county area to plant forage to support their hives. The Milwaukee-Waukesha Bee Association also has plans for a seed bomb project at a meeting this winter.  


26. Building a business in bees.
Retired veterans, Don Currier and his wife are trying their hand at establishing a blueberry and bee farm in Nashville, Georgia. Their goal is to plant as many acres of forage along their blueberry fields for the healthiest bees and best blueberries possible.


27. Scouts-honoring the bees.
Girl Scout Troup 456 based out of Tappahannock, Virginia, will work with local wildlife refuge and beekeeping organizations to establish forage areas around the town.


28. Persevering for pollinators.
After losing many of their hives due to a long, harsh winter, Davis Family Farms in Greensburg, Kentucky, will plant additional forage to rebuild their apiaries.


29-31. Keeping track of successes over time.
As part of a partnership with the Minnesota Golf Course Superintendents Association, three country clubs will establish pollinator gardens on their grounds. Somerset Country Club, Medina Golf & Country Club and Bearpath Golf and Country Club will map the success of their gardens, including reactions from golfers and guests, in the hopes of spreading pollinator gardens to golf courses across the country.


32. Harnessing the popularity of the “freebie” to help the bees.
Central East Ag Supply Inc. in North Carolina will give away 2,000 wildflower seed packets to its customers.


33. Establishing urban pollinator sanctuaries.
The University of the District of Columbia recently celebrated the grand opening of its rooftop garden, which boasts a pollinator patch. The green roof provides a great opportunity to do research on pollinator plants and heat indexes in urban areas.


34. Trying something new.
Ceja Farm in Abingdon, Illinois, will establish their first pollinator strips working under the “Go big, or go home” philosophy – they’re devoting 40 acres to feed the bees.  


35. Going the extra mile.
Hermann Hills Apiaries in Hermann, Missouri, took special care to scout and prepare the perfect areas for bees to forage. By clearing away brush and selecting the most fertile, sunlit locations, they’ve helped to create prime locations that the apiaries’ bees will love.


36. Introducing students to bee health.
An animated character devoted to promoting healthy nutrition awareness for children, Vitamin Bee will also help teach students about the importance of pollinators. Through videos, quizzes, activity sheets, games and hands-on lessons, the program will educate children on the role bees play in producing the fruits, nuts and vegetables we eat daily.


37. Helping queen bees in Queen City.
Pest management company Mosquito Guard will donate seed packets to each of its customers in the Charlotte, North Carolina, metro area.


38. Activating the community.
The Caswell and Alamance Beekeeping Associations in North Carolina frequently host educational events in their communities. Attendees will now receive their very own seed packets and information on how they can help feed the bees.


39. Expanding a community garden.
In community gardens throughout the Durham, North Carolina, area, the Durham County Master Gardeners will plant wildflower seeds to help support the bees that pollinate the nutritious fruits and veggies grown in the gardens. The seeds will also be used in future youth educational events.


40-41. Making saving the bees a social affair.
Donahue Sportsman Conservation Club will provide seeds to its members to be planted at home, in addition to planting forage in the local ballpark. The City of Donahue, Iowa will also lend its support as a Feed a Bee partner by establishing a pollinator plot.  


42. Making the bees very happy.
Bee Happy Apiary in Vacaville, California, will plant two acres of wildflower seeds to support hives on the property.


43-45. Kicking it up a notch.
Cantigny Golf in Wheaton, Illinois, has already displayed its dedication to pollinator health with its Bee Barometer Project and has worked to increase forage even further. Boston Golf Club also already houses hives on its property and educates golfers on the importance of pollinators, and Carmel Valley Ranch Golf Course in California has dedicated forage areas on its land. All three courses have enrolled in the Smart Hives initiative to track changes in colony health and help improve hive management.


46. Making pollinator health an event.  
Each year, Hefty Seed Company hosts the Ag PhD Field Day at its headquarters in South Dakota to teach customers about new and current technologies to increase productivity. This year’s Field Day will feature the planting of a brand new pollinator plot!   


47. Rehabilitating the land.
When a weed known as common tansy overtook part of Peter and Goodie Bees and Blueberry Farm in Minnesota, the owners knew just what to do. They rid the area of the invasive species and pledged to establish a pollinator patch there instead!


48. Spreading the love locally.
South Carolina watermelon producer Watson Farms will distribute seeds and educate customers on pollinators at the local farmers market, in addition to planting forage on four acres.


49. Committing to the bee.
Georgia grower Daniel Forsman pledged to establish at least five acres on not one, but both of his farms in the state.


50. Beautifying headquarters.
SynTech, a leading, Kansas-based research company in the agricultural and food industry, will plant a pollinator garden at its corporate headquarters, creating a beautiful garden that both employees and bees will love!


…And three to grow on:


51-52. Taking Work Home.
Agricenter, a nonprofit organization based in Memphis, Tennessee, that supports economic development through agricultural research, educational programs and environmental conservation, will dedicate an area of their campus to a pollinator garden and a bee hive. The research director for the organization, Bruce Kirksey, will establish even more forage area on his farm, Buzzard Roost Farm.


53. Getting back to their roots.
Former Bayer CropScience President and CEO Bill Buckner will plant a two acre pollinator patch on his brand new farm in North Carolina.


We’re immensely grateful for our Feed a Bee partners and their dedication to pollinator health, and we’d love to have others join us! To learn more about the 50+ partners please click here, and if you’re interested in getting involved in the Feed a Bee initiative, please visit FeedABee.com for more information.






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