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February 2015

Feed a Bee Campaign Kicks Off in 2015


The Feed a Bee campaign is launching in March with a goal of growing 50 million flowers for bee forage in 2015. To achieve that goal, the campaign will work with consumers to plant seeds and grow flowers and will connect with 50 collaborating organizations to provide urban and agricultural forage habitats for bees. Bees need these additional nectar and pollen sources! Look for more on the campaign coming soon at www.feedabee.com.

Feed-a-Bee logoSeveral partnerships for bee forage area development have begun such as the one with the NC Department of Transportation (NCDOT) to establish pollinator plant habitats along highway rights-of-ways.

Another key partnership is with Project Apis m., a nonprofit organization dedicated to better bee health through its work with growers. This partnership will support the establishment of 2,000-3,000 acres of bee forage in California and Washington to provide food sources to help bees better thrive before and after their pollination of almonds and other crops.

Other key collaborations include:

  • National Wildlife Turkey Federation – Supporting pollinator conservation efforts, including co-labeling of native seed mixes.
  • McCarty Family Farm – Working with this Kansas dairy operation, in conjunction with Project Apis m. and Pheasants Forever, to plant pollinator attractant cover crops.
  • Conservation Technology Information Center – Establishing pollinator habitat in the Midwest/Great Plains.
  • Seeds for Bees: Fresno Fence Row Project – Partnering with Project Apis m. to evaluate plant varieties to plant in almond orchards along the fence rows. (See the August edition of the newsletter.)
  • Golf courses – Partnering with select golf courses to promote and guide establishment of pollinator habitats.

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A Honey of a Video!


Honey HeartA video from the first-ever honey extraction at the Bayer Bee Care Center is available for viewing on YouTube™. Learn how we bring our honey from the bee to the bottle at the Center and enjoy seeing the first use of the brand new extraction equipment. The wildflower honey was extracted by Sarah Myers, Center event manager and beekeeper, in September, National Honey Month.

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Growing Matters Releases Final Two Reports; Stakeholder Group Meets in Washington, D.C.


The final two of 13 reports in the AgInfomatics study have been released, issued as part of the Growing Matters coalition work.

Growing MattersThe report on the yield value of neonicotinoid insecticides outlines average yield increases ranging from 3.6 to 71.3 percent in eight major crops (corn, soybean, wheat, cotton, sorghum, canola, potato and tomato) across North America. The report on the aggregate economic benefit of neonicotinoids cites ranges from $4.0 to $4.3 billion annually in the United States and $150 to $275 million in Canada, with most of these benefits captured by consumers as reduced food prices.

The Growing Matters initiative also spurred a recent gathering in Washington, D.C., of numerous commodity stakeholder associations interested in forming a group to protect innovative technologies and bee health. Watch for more as this group continues to come together and to develop its mission and objectives.

Stakeholder groups attending the Washington meeting included: the Almond Board, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Horticulture, American Seed Trade Association, American Soybean Association, California Citrus Mutual, Delta Council, Florida Fruit and Vegetable, Michigan Farm Bureau, National Corn Growers Association, National Cotton Council and National Potato Council.

Another area where the Growing Matters initiative continues to provide support is in response to the recent publication by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of its Benefits of Neonicotinoid Seed Treatments to Soybean Production. (See related story below.) Having strong, objective data to respond to key points in the EPA document is helping to defend an important tool for soybean growers.

Infographics about the study, the importance of neonicotinoids to Integrated Pest Management, and the value of neonicotinoids for U.S. turf and ornamental uses are available at links indicated.

 

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EPA Comment Period Closes for Input on Soybean Seed Treatments


AgVoice4ChoiceOn Jan. 23, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) closed the period for public comments on its document, Benefits of Neonicotinoid Seed Treatments to Soybean Production.

The agricultural industry mounted a campaign, including a website facilitating comments – www.agvoice4choice.com, to rally growers and others to respond to the EPA. Nearly 3,000 comments were submitted to the EPA about the document, which was part of the ongoing re-evaluation of neonicotinoids under the registration review program.

 

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Center to Host Honey Bee Health CoalitionBee Healthy Roadmap Oct 14


The Honey Bee Health Coalition will hold its spring meeting in Research Triangle Park, NC, including a tour and dinner at the Bayer Bee Care Center. The Coalition brings together beekeepers, growers, researchers, government agencies, agribusinesses, conservation groups, manufacturers, consumer brands and others to improve the health of honey bees. 

 

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Bayer Supports Education on Watermelons and Bee Health


watermelon logoBayer Horticulture, Vegetable Seeds and Bee Care will all play a role in supporting the National Watermelon Promotion Board this spring. Bayer supports the National Watermelon Promotion Board Queens Program, which enlists honorary queens to communicate the benefits and promote the consumption of watermelon. “Bayer is helping to provide educational opportunities to the queen participants by offering a tour in April of our Bee Care Center, where they will learn the importance of honey bees and how we are creating sustainable solutions for bee health,” said Caitlin Tierney, produce chain marketing manager. Honey bees are key pollinators for cucurbits which include melons, cucumbers, gourds, squashes and pumpkins.

 

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Helping Students, Helping Bees


Always looking for ways to guide more students into careers in science and agriculture, Bayer CropScience is happy to announce a commitment of $50,000 to the National FFA Organization, the student-run organization supporting ag education. The money will support grants that promote career paths in science, specifically challenging students to contribute to advancements in improving honey bee health. As part of the donation, Bayer also is providing educational materials about the importance of bees and bee health for the FFA website.

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Bayer Bee Care Center Has Welcomed More Than 2,000 Visitors


Bee Care Center 200th Visitor! 

On November 20, the Bayer Bee Care Center welcomed its 2,000th visitor which included more than 30 students from Carter Community Charter School, a K-8 grade school in Durham, NC. They were treated to a cupcake celebration in honor of the milestone.


Bee Care Center Demographics

The Bee Care Center opened on April 15, 2014. Since then, the Center has hosted approximately 2,500 visitors. Plans to celebrate the first anniversary in April 2015 are underway. Click here to learn more and sign up for a tour.

 

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Land Surrounding Bayer Bee Care Center Is Evolving


The two-acre plot of land surrounding the Bayer Bee Care Center continues to evolve. A 60-solar panel system has been installed to help the Center be more energy efficient and continue on the path toward LEED Silver certification. The environmentally sustainable facility will help Bayer CropScience reduce its carbon footprint in an effort to promote corporate environmental stewardship.

solar panel system 
The solar panels are arranged in two 30-panel arrays. A sign provides educational information to the public about the benefits of solar power.

 

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Dick RogersLive from the Hive


Hives should not be opened in cold weather to check the colony and food supply. So one of the best ways to gauge what’s going on inside the hive is by remotely monitoring weight change and brood temperature as well as other hive conditions. Bee Care Center staff installed a scale under the demonstration hive at the Center in November.

 “Our demo hive is now truly a ‘Smart Hive,’” says Dick Rogers, research manager for the Center.

The scale has sensors inside and outside of the hive to allow for remote monitoring. Data is uploaded and displayed on a monitor inside the Center. Sensors monitor not only hive weight, but temperatures and humidity inside the hive which can help make inferences regarding foraging activity, colony development, brood state and queen status. Smart Hives are planned for California, Indiana, New York, Ontario, and possibly other locations.

online monitoring

Smart Hives can be monitored from any Internet-connected computer, device or mobile phone. Have a look for yourself at http://www.arnia.co.uk/.
Account: BayerBeeCareNA
User: BeeGuest / Password: BeeGuest

 

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BEENOW Bayer Bee Health Magazine Launches


 BEENOW cover

In late 2014, Bayer launched its first global bee health magazine, “BEENOW.” The magazine presents Bayer’s efforts to unite partners from around the world, including research institutes and universities, beekeepers, farmers, and industry partners, to jointly tackle the various challenges bees are facing.

 

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Dick RogersLive from the Hive


Hives should not be opened in cold weather to check the colony and food supply. So one of the best ways to gauge what’s going on inside the hive is by remotely monitoring weight change and brood temperature as well as other hive conditions. Bee Care Center staff installed a scale under the demonstration hive at the Center in November.

 “Our demo hive is now truly a ‘Smart Hive,’” says Dick Rogers, research manager for the Center.

The scale has sensors inside and outside of the hive to allow for remote monitoring. Data is uploaded and displayed on a monitor inside the Center. Sensors monitor not only hive weight, but temperatures and humidity inside the hive which can help make inferences regarding foraging activity, colony development, brood state and queen status. Smart Hives are planned for California, Indiana, New York, Ontario, and possibly other locations.

online monitoring

Smart Hives can be monitored from any Internet-connected computer, device or mobile phone. Have a look for yourself at http://www.arnia.co.uk/.
Account: BayerBeeCareNA
User: BeeGuest / Password: BeeGuest

 

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IN THE NEWS


Beekeepers Going Extinct?
“We're not worried about the bees going extinct. We’re worried about the beekeepers going extinct.”
Dennis van Engelsdorp, bee researcher, University of Maryland, in a recent Wall Street Journal online article about the increasing numbers of beekeepers considering early retirement or being forced out of business by rising costs.

Bee Populations Increasing!
“Contrary to what some environmental activist groups are claiming, data… shows that bee populations even in intensely farmed areas of the world are increasing rather than rapidly decreasing.”
A story from AGProfessional examining historical data of bee populations in various parts of the world.

 

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