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Posted 28 May 2015. PMN Crop News.


Bayer Welcomes Release of National Pollinator Strategy


Source: Bayer CropScience Press Release. www.bayercropscience.us


Research Triangle Park, North Carolina (May 19, 2015)--Calling it a “balanced and multi-faceted approach,” Bayer CropScience today welcomed the release of the President’s Pollinator Task Force’s National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators. Bayer commended the call for extensive new research into all aspects of pollinator health and the unprecedented commitment to increase pollinator habitat and forage.

 

For almost 30 years Bayer has worked to study and improve pollinator health, particularly managed honey bee colonies important to ensuring an abundant and affordable food supply. Specifically, Bayer has focused on collaborating with researchers to understand the factors affecting honey bee health, helping beekeepers control the dangerous Varroa mite, expanding education and outreach on pollinator health, and increasing forage for all pollinators.

“This strategy is a strong statement in favor of a balanced and multi-faceted approach to improving pollinator health,” said Dr. Becky Langer, head of Bayer CropScience’s North American Bee Care Program. “While bee populations are not declining, they face many complex challenges, some of which we’re only just beginning to fully understand. Improving honey bee health will take a concerted effort from all stakeholders, including the public, and this strategy will help provide a framework for our collective response.

Jim Blome, president and CEO of Bayer CropScience LP added, “We are particularly encouraged by the specific commitment to invest more into research to improve our understanding of pollinator health. Everything from grower decisions, consumer choice and regulatory actions must be based in sound science and the strategy’s call for more research will ensure that we have the best science available. We are proud to be contributing new studies and understanding population dynamics.”

Many of Bayer’s on-going pollinator initiatives mirror specific recommendations included in the national strategy. Some specific highlights include:

• The Feed a Bee initiative is working with people across the country to grow 50 million flowers and to increase bee forage areas by working with at least 50 government and nonprofit organizations and businesses to plant thousands of acres of flower-producing crops grown between regular crop production periods for bees.

- The NC Department of Transportation (NCDOT) will work with Bayer CropScience to create bee-attractant habitats along highway rights-of-ways.

- Project Apis m., a non-profit dedicated to better bee health through its work with growers, will work with Bayer CropScience to establish up to 3,000 acres of bee forage in California and Washington.

- Bayer has invested over $100,000 in a project with Integrated Vegetation Management Partners, Inc., (IVM Partners) designed to improve and expand pollinator and wildlife habitats, including monarch butterfly habitat, on public rights-of-way through integrated vegetation management.

• Bayer has been actively involved in finding solutions to improve honey bee health by developing products and services through research including:

- Smart Hives & Stock Improvement: Remote, non-invasive monitoring of honey bee colonies and hive/environment conditions using digital sensor technology can provide early alerts to undesirable changes and responses in hives. This will contribute to timely hive management, better understanding of timelines and causes of colony impacts, and better assessments of stock improvement programs.

- Bee Repellents: Bee repellents will be comprised of both natural and synthetic products that repel honey bees from foraging over a period of time until any residual insecticide risk is minimized. This new commercial concept has potential use for agricultural and non-crop uses.

- Varroacides: The varroa mite, Varroa destructor, considered by the majority of scientists to be number one enemy of honey bees. It is prevalent in almost every hive and must be managed. There is a need for new varroacides with different modes of action/application, as well as a better understanding of mite susceptibility patterns and resistance development/management.

- Healthy Hives 20/20: The initiative seeks to improve the health of honey bee hives by convening a group of leading experts to identify and conduct specific research projects that will have a tangible and measurable impact on improving the overall health of honey bee colonies in North America by 2020.

• Bayer has been an industry leader in public and stakeholder outreach on pollinator health including hosting more than 3,000 visitors in the first year since opening the North American Bee Care Center, participating in nearly 100 bee-keeping events and working to improve communication between bee keepers and growers through its CARE program.

• Bayer launched Fluency Agent, a seed lubricant designed to reduce dust when planting treated corn and soybean seeds, helping minimize potential risk of exposure to foraging honey bees and other pollinators

Additional resources:

Bayer Bee Care Center Annual Report (pdf)

Bee Now – Bee Health Magazine.

• For more information on Bayer’s bee health initiatives, please visit: beecare.bayer.com.