Bayer program generates buzz

The line at the pollinator all-you-can-eat buffet is a little longer this year thanks to the contributions of consumers and partners joining Bayer’s Feed a Bee initiative to plant more than 65 million flowers in 2015. More than 250,000 consumers joined the initiative to feed pollinators as the Feed a Bee website and #FeedABee hashtag went viral.

Bayer program generates buzz

The line at the pollinator all-you-can-eat buffet is a little longer this year thanks to the contributions of consumers and partners joining Bayer’s Feed a Bee initiative to plant more than 65 million flowers in 2015. More than 250,000 consumers joined the initiative to feed pollinators as the Feed a Bee website and #FeedABee hashtag went viral.

By the end of the year, more than 70 organizations joined in pledging thousands of acres of land to the pollinator potluck dinner, all while educating the community about the role bees play in producing fruits, nuts and vegetables.

“When we talk to the public, the most common question we hear is, ‘What can I do to help bees?’ ” says Becky Langer, manager of the North American Bee Care Program. “Providing pollinators with abundant, diverse food sources is one of the most important things we can all do to promote bee health. We created Feed a Bee to make it easy for folks to be involved. We’re delighted with the overwhelming response and look forward to getting even more people involved this year.”

Ample food aids bees

Studies show when bees have access to adequate, diverse food sources they are better able to withstand the stress caused by the devastating varroa mite, as well as other mites and diseases. Through Feed a Bee, Bayer is working to increase forage options for bees and other pollinators at a time when agriculture is relying on them more to help produce enough food to feed a growing world population.

The first year of the Feed a Bee program set the bar high, and Bayer aims to generate even more buzz in 2016 by establishing national partnerships and educating more consumers about what they can do to get involved and help pollinators thrive. Through online activations and events throughout the year, Bayer hopes to reach new audiences to surpass the milestones Feed a Bee achieved in 2015.

“We’ve seen some great news in pollinator health in the past year from increasing population numbers to heightened involvement from consumers and other stakeholders,” says Jim Blome, president and CEO of CropScience, a division of Bayer. “We still have much more work to do to ensure the future health of our honeybee colonies, but we hope the foundation we have from Feed a Bee will continue to bring more partners to the table.”

Broad support

Feed a Bee continues to attract partners from the nonprofit, public and private sectors, most recently the Pheasants Forever wildlife conservation group. Other partners signing on in 2015 span across individuals, industry sectors and geographies.

“We look forward to building on the success we had in 2015 as we take the Feed a Bee program into 2016,” says Langer. “None of this would have been possible without the support of everyone from the individuals who planted the wildflower packets they received to our partners who planted acres of additional forage.”

Feed a Bee is one of several programs sponsored by Bayer’s Bee Care Program, continuing nearly 30 years of supporting bee health. For more information, visit beehealth.bayer.us. You can follow on Twitter @BayerBeeCare, Facebook at facebook.com/BayerBeeCareCenter and view photos on Flickr.

Bayer is committed to bringing new technology and solutions for agriculture and non-ag uses. For questions concerning the availability and use of products, contact a local Bayer representative, or visit CropScience, a division of Bayer, online at bayercropscience.us.

Source: Bayer CropScience

Beekeeping classes available

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey is encouraging Iowans interested in beekeeping to consider enrolling in one of the beekeeping schools that will be held around the state in 2016. A record number, 27 courses, will be held across Iowa for both the beginner and advanced beekeeper.

“We continue to see interest grow in beekeeping, both among hobbyists who may just have a hive or two, and commercial producers who can have a thousand or more hives. These courses are an excellent opportunity for new beekeepers or those who are interested in getting started to learn from experienced Iowa beekeepers who understand our seasons and our environment, and know how to successfully raise bees,” Northey says.

If interested, enroll early to help reserve the class. Early enrollment for many of these courses is important, so courses can meet minimum enrollment numbers. Fees vary by location. For more information, refer to the Iowa Honey Producers Association website and online monthly newsletter at abuzzaboutbees.com. Or contact Andrew Joseph, state apiarist with the Iowa Department of Agriculture, at 515-725-1481 or [email protected].

Note that not all of these courses are sponsored by the Iowa Honey Producers Association, and information presented by the instructors isn’t necessarily endorsed by IHPA. Additionally, none of the courses are sponsored by the Iowa Department of Agriculture, and the information presented by the instructors is not necessarily endorsed by the state ag department.

Iowans have more than 45,000 colonies of honeybees. There are currently about 4,500 beekeepers in Iowa that manage more than 45,000 colonies of honeybees, says Joseph. These honeybees produce about 4 million pounds of honey annually, valued at over $8 million. Honeybees are also responsible for the pollination of many Iowa crops. Field and horticultural crops, home gardens and plants eaten by wildlife are dependent on bee pollination for production of their fruits, nuts and seeds. The economic value of honeybees as crop pollinators in Iowa has been estimated at $92 million annually.

A list of 2016 course locations and details are on the Iowa Department of Agriculture website at iowaagriculture.gov.

Source: Iowa Department of Agriculture

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IOWA HONEY: The Iowa Honey Producers Association has an informative, educational website. Their Buzz Newsletter has information and other articles about beekeeping and honey production, which are also posted on the site.

This article published in the February, 2016 edition of WALLACES FARMER.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2016.

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