One Thing Everyone Can Do to Help Pollinators

Most experts agree the top two stressors affecting honey bees are enemy #1, the Varroa mite, and lack of adequate nutrition and forage. Due to a variety of factors, pollinator forage areas in the U.S. are shrinking, and the habitat that does exist often doesn’t have the diversity pollinators need to thrive.

Just like humans need to eat a variety of foods to stay healthy, pollinators need to have access to abundant and varied sources of pollen and nectar for sustainable colony health. We can’t survive on pizza alone (as much as we may want to), and bees can’t survive on one source of nutrition, either.

So what can be done to address this lack of forage in the U.S.? What’s one thing every single person can do to make a difference?

Pollinator Purple Flowers“Pollinators are facing a lack of diverse, abundant sources of food, but one thing we all can do is plant more flowers,” said Dr. Becky Langer, project manager of Bayer North American Bee Health. “Whether it’s acres of pollinator-attractant plants on a grower’s farm or a small potted plant on the back deck of your apartment, every little bit helps.”

One of Bayer’s major ongoing research projects coordinated in conjunction with Project Apis m. is being conducted out of its Fresno Research Station in California. There, scientists are looking into the best plant species and mixes to use in extreme drought conditions in California to support the millions of honey bees that are brought in each year to support the almond bloom.

“Finding the right plant and the right time to ensure forage will be available when the bees need it can be a challenge,” Raksha “Rocky” Kuenen, research scientist at Bayer’s Western Field Technology Station, said. “We’re working to identify a series of appropriate plants and planting times that will produce flowers before and after almond bloom.”

In addition to this and other ongoing research projects, the Bayer Feed a Bee initiative has worked with more than 120 organizations across the country and nearly one million individuals to plant two billion wildflower seeds for pollinators.

Little Boy Holding Tray of Pollinator Flowers“Every seed planted makes a difference for pollinators,” Langer reiterated. “By planting more, diverse forage, we’re feeding the bees and helping them feed us!”

For more information on the best seed mixes and flowers to plant in your area, check out the planting guides available via pollinatorpartnership.org.