DECATUR, Ill. — Dwindling bee populations should be a
concern for anyone who eats, as one in every three bites of food consumed
requires pollination from the honey-makers.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a report this year
on honeybee health that found multiple factors play a role in honeybee colony
declines, including parasites and disease, genetics, poor nutrition and
The report specifically highlighted the need for additional
research to determine the risks presented by pesticides, along with the need for
improved collaboration and information sharing.
About the same time the USDA report was published this past
May, Bayer CropScience was breaking ground on its North American Bee Care Center
at Research Tri angle Park, N.C.
The Bee Care Center will house a full laboratory and
teaching apiary; honey extraction and workshop space; interactive learning
center; and meeting, training and presentation facilities for beekeepers,
farmers and educators, as well as office space for graduate students.
Although the North American Bee Care Center will have its
own honeybee colonies for teaching and demonstration purposes, the facility will
be supported by other research apiaries, located nearby the Research Triangle
Park area, to coordinate and extend research projects directed toward bee
“We take bee care quite seriously,” David Hollinrake, Bayer
CropScience agricultural commercial operations marketing vice president, said at
a media event during Farm Progress Show.
The 6,000-square-foot state-of-the-art building will
complement an existing Bee Care Center that was established last year at the
company’s global headquarters in Monheim, Germany.
“Ultimately what we’re trying to do is provide good
scientific support to this epidemic and help understand why bee populations are
declining and really put our money where our mouth is and enable a more
scientific approach such that we can make sure the bee populations get back on
the increase and continue to do our best to support U.S. agriculture,”
The Bee Care Center, a hub to promote worldwide bee health
initiatives, will serve to support scientific research and help educate
stakeholders and the general public about the importance of honeybees to
agriculture by providing pollination of crops that help meet the growing global
demand for a nutritious and abundant food supply.
In order to address food challenge issues, the center will
bring together significant technological, scientific and academic resources to
protect and improve honeybee health and sustainable agriculture.
“The program really formally came into existence in the
spring of last year, but Bayer has actually been conducting various bee
health-related activities for many, many years, and certainly we’ve been
actively promoting stewardship of our products ever since they’ve been on the
market,” said Robyn Kneen, North America manager of Bayer’s Bee Care
“The program really consists of a number of different.
Stewardship is one of them. Another is the Bee Care Center that we’re building
and the research that we’re hoping to do there.
“Also a collaboration, outreach and engagement initiative,
as well, where they’re bringing together the different stakeholders on bee
health to engage in dialogue, also foster collaboration to help meet some of the
challenges affecting bees today.
“As an agricultural company, Bayer recognizes the importance
of bees to agriculture. I think the statistics say that one in every three bites
of food that we eat is pollinated by honeybees.
“Bees are very important to agriculture, but obviously as an
innovation crop protection company we realize that crop protection is very
important to agriculture, as well. So we’re really focused on looking at how
responsible use of crop protection and healthy honeybees can coexist together in
Bayer CropScience also is expanding its Clayton, N.C.,
research apiary, known as “Beesboro,” to include a 1,200-square-foot building
with an office, a wintering cold room, extraction area, beehive maintenance area
and storage areas.