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April 2015

Happy First Anniversary Bayer Bee Care Center!

Bee Care Center 

On April 27, the Bee Care Center in Research Triangle Park, NC, will celebrate its one-year anniversary. Please share in our excitement and follow the April 27 festivities on Twitter at @Bayer4CropsUS using #BayerBeeCare.

The Center was opened to help foster bee health research, education, partnerships and stewardship and has made truly remarkable progress toward those goals in this first year, including:

  • Scheduled to host more than 3,000 visitors to the Center by the end of April 2015
  • Brought more than 2,400 visitors for an interactive bee health educational experience that toured seven U.S. states and one Canadian province
  • Received CropLife America’s “Stewardship First” award for bee health educational efforts
  • Launched the “Feed a Bee” forage initiative, partnering with at least 50 collaborators in 2015 that include work with Project Apis m. and the NC Department of Transportation.

The next edition of the Bee Care Buzz will feature a full list of the Center’s accomplishments as well as photos and coverage of the anniversary event.

Here are a few events the bee team has scheduled for April:
  • April 17 – Welcome breakfast at the Kansas City, MO, Middle of the Map Fest
  • April 18 – National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame grand opening in Bonner Springs, KS
  • April 27 – Anniversary celebration
  • April 13, April 17, May 18, May 22 – Girl Scout events

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Feed a Bee Campaign Goes Viral

Response to the Feed a Bee campaign, launched March 12, has been astounding with the FeedABee.com website averaging 5,000-15,000 unique visitors per day. In its first two weeks, the campaign met over half of the year-long goal to plant 50 million flowers to increase forage for bees and other pollinators in 2015.

Some statistics from the campaign (as of March 30) include:
  • 122,900 unique visitors to FeedABee.com
  • 24,157 social media shares
  • 119,646 recorded site actions by consumers including:
    • 112,515 seed packet requests
    • 4,558 requests for the Feed a Bee initiative to plant on their “bee-half”
    • 2,573 commitments to plant bee-attractant plants
  • 3,203 retweets generated by 10 #FeedABee tweets on @Bayer4CropsUS

The ticker at www.FeedABee.com tracks progress to the 50 million flowers goal, keeping count of seeds given away or planted on a participant’s behalf (200 seeds for each seed packet) and commitments to grow bee attractant plants.

Feed a Bee website 


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Bayer Pledges $100,000 for NC Roadside Pollinator Plantings

Bayer CropScience recently pledged $100,000 to the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) to provide approximately 46 new acres of bee-attractant vegetation along North Carolina’s roadways to provide multi-seasonal food and habitat for pollinators. NCDOT will plant hybrid sunflowers and canola with the objective of developing self-sustaining pollinator habitats.

“Bayer is dedicated to the establishment of new habitat for honey bees that will allow them to flourish, as they continue to play a critical role in creating sustainable agriculture,” said Jim Blome, president/CEO, Bayer CropScience LP.

Since growing conditions vary, NCDOT will begin initially seeding sunflowers in eastern North Carolina and work westward. The initial planting of sunflowers will be blooming in eastern and central North Carolina during June and July. A second planting of sunflowers in these areas will bloom during mid-October and November.

In western North Carolina, the initial planting of sunflowers will bloom in early July and into August. Following the blooming period, these sunflower beds will be planted with canola that will flower in spring 2016.

Bayer CropScience scientists will evaluate 14 traditional wildflower varieties for their tolerance to four different rates of Bayer agronomic products.

Flowers on 40
Pollinator habitats will be planted by roadways across the state beginning in April.

 

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Bees on the Big Screen

Sundance Film

Check out this short film, accepted into the Sundance Film Festival, that follows Entomologist Dennis van Engelsdorp as he explains the importance of honey bees and the Varroa mite threat.

 

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Live from the Hive

The Bee Care Center’s pollinator garden is waking up with spring colors and flowers. Now in its second year, the two-acre garden provides enough supplemental forage to support two to four hives, with 40,000 to 60,000 bees each.

The Center’s honey bees have noticed the new food choices in bloom, with a steady stream of foragers bringing pollen and nectar to the observation hive. “If you look carefully, you might observe the heavily laden bees crawling into the hive with saddlebag-like yellow bulges on their hind legs,” said Kim Huntzinger, bee health laboratory diagnostic specialist at the Center. “That’s pollen packed into their corbiculae, or pollen baskets.”

Below are some of the flowers that were offering nutrition and forage for the Center’s demonstration hive in March.

Geranium Sanguineum Forsythia Goat Willow
Blue Moon Phlox
Forsythia Goat Willow
Mahonia Bealei Okame Cherry blossom Yoshino Cherry blossom
Mahonia Bealei Okame Cherry Yoshino Cherry

 

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Starting Your Pollinator Garden

Seed Mix

Home gardeners can provide more pollen and nectar sources for bees by growing bee-attractant mixes in areas as small as a deck flower pot. Lawn and Garden Expert Lance Walheim offers tips on planting forage in a blog post and in three videos at feedabee.bayer.us. Download Pollinator Partnership’s Bee Smart mobile app to see the best native plants to attract bees for your area.

 

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Bayer Partners with Carolina Hurricanes for ‘Go Green Night’

Bayer CropScience partnered again with the Carolina Hurricanes professional hockey team in Raleigh, NC, on March 28, for “Go Green Night,” a salute to sustainability. Fans received discounts for donating recyclables, and were encouraged to bike to the game, and use stairs, rather than elevators, at the arena.

Hurricanes go Green
Pictured are Bayer employee Asif Iqbal’s children (left) and family friends (right) posing with bee-related props at a booth where fans could learn more about bee health.

 

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Arizona Elementary Students Learn About Bees

The Bayer Bee Care Team took time out from the 2015 Ag Issues Forum in Phoenix, AZ, to discuss bees with second and fifth graders at nearby SanTan Elementary School. Students were given seed packets to grow flowers at home as part of the Feed a Bee campaign.

Arizona Elementary School

 

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Third Annual Bayer Leadership Award: Meet the Judges

The application deadline for the third annual Bayer Bee Care Community Leadership Award has been extended to April 17. The award provides a $5,000 grant to the winner to be used in support of a community beekeeping project. To obtain an application, go to www.pollinatorweek.bayer.com.

The winner of the award will be announced during National Pollinator Week June 15-21. Below are the four judges who will be selecting the winner.

Elina Lastro NiñoElina Lastro Niño
Extension Apiculturist, University of California, Davis
Elina is an internationally recognized honey bee researcher known for her expertise on honey bee queen biology, chemical ecology and genomics. She conducts honey bee research, works closely with beekeepers and growers to develop sustainable bee management, and provides outreach to backyard beekeepers.



Kim FlottumKim Flottum
Editor, Bee Culture magazine
As a beekeeper, Kim focuses the magazine on practical issues for backyard and professional beekeepers, the current honey market, and beekeeping politics. Kim has written three beekeeping books – Backyard Beekeeper, Honey Handbook and Better Beekeeping.



Tim TuckerTim Tucker

President, American Beekeeping Federation (ABF)
Tim has been involved in beekeeping since 1991, and currently has about 400 colonies, providing Tuckerbee Honey products to 42 stores across Kansas.



Becky Langer-CurryBecky Langer
Project Manager, North American Bee Health, Bayer CropScience LP
Becky, who joined Bayer in 2010 as North American biosafety site manager, ensures the success of the North American Bee Project Team and directs and manages Bee Care strategy and activities.



 

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Bee-utiful Brassica

Fresno Fence Row Project Brassica

Brassica was in full bloom in February at Bayer’s Western Bee Care Technology Station in Fresno, CA. The Brassica is part of the Seeds for Bees: Fresno Fence Row Project, a collaboration between Bayer and Project Apis m. to assess food sources for bees in almond orchards.

 

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It’s Planting Time!

Planting season is well underway in many parts of the country and it’s important for growers and beekeepers to work together. Through Bayer CropScience’s CARE program, growers are encouraged to:
C – Communicate planting activities to neighboring beekeepers when practical, and be aware of beehives adjacent to the planting area.
A – Be aware of wind speed and direction during planting, particularly in areas with flowering crops.
R – Help reduce potential risk to pollinators by using Fluency Agent, a seed lubricant for corn and soybeans that reduces dust during planting.
E – Ensure seed is planted correctly. To protect environments that are attractive to pollinators, bees and mammals, clean planters and seed boxes and ensure treated seed is planted at the proper depth.

Beekeepers also are encouraged to follow best practices during planting season to ensure the health of their bees. Beekeepers should:
  • Pursue open communication with growers in the vicinity of their hives, seeking to mutually understand expectations and needs.
  • Register hives with the county agricultural commissioner by January 1, each year, or upon moving hives to a new location. Growers, custom applicators and aerial applicators take note of this information prior to pesticide applications and can provide advance notice to beekeepers.
  • Ensure bee hives are positioned near flowering forage, especially when crops they are supposed to pollinate are not yet in bloom.
  • Immediately report any suspected bee incidents to the county agricultural commissioner and area growers.

 

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In the News

The USDA recently released its Honey Report, which stated that honey production in the U.S. increased 19 percent in 2014 and that honey bee colonies increased by 100,000 or 4 percent. That’s good news according to Bayer Bee Care research manager Dick Rogers. Check out his blog post. Also read an article in the Huffington Post.

Bloomberg ran a story about a new study released finding that honey bee colonies were not seriously affected by neonicotinoids when label instructions are followed. The story affirms that multiple factors affect bee health and cites Bee Care Project Manager Becky Langer.
Bee Death Study Clears Bayer’s Insecticide as Sole Cause

An article about a bee forage presentation by Marla Spivak, University of Minnesota.
Marla Spivak: To grasp our bees' plight and prospects, stay focused on food

Articles published in the Financial Post that challenged the Ontario, Canada, government and Sierra Club of Canada's neonicotinoid position.
Junk Science Week 2015: The big bee scare
Junk Science Week 2015: Government honey for beekeepers
Junk Science Week 2015: Big bucks for Sierra in big bee scare

 

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