Honey bees and other pollinators play a vital role in the food supply with more than one quarter of the nation’s agricultural crops dependent upon pollination. As a major supporter of honey bee health for more than 25 years, Bayer is launching its second annual Bee Care Tour to bring together growers, beekeepers, researchers and others interested in bee health.

The 2014 Tour will engage attendees on the important role pollinators and seed treatment technology plays in creating a sustainable agriculture. Tour stops this year will include Washington State University in Pullman; Oregon State University in Corvallis; University of California in Davis; Commodity Classic in San Antonio; Purdue University in West Lafayette; South Dakota State University in Brookings; and a final stop in Washington, D.C. in June to celebrate National Pollinator Week.

With more than 2,300 visitors last year, including U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, the Tour brought a specially-wrapped vehicle along with an interactive exhibit to agriculture universities throughout the Midwest to provide stewardship workshops and foster discussion about bee health.

“Bee Health is a concern of everyone, but especially among those who understand the critical role honey bees and other pollinators play in sustainable agriculture,” said Dick Rogers, manager of the Bayer Bee Care Center which is scheduled to open this spring. ”Honey bee colony health is impacted by a great variety of factors including disease, mites and habitat. The Bayer Bee Care Tour helps to foster collaboration with stakeholders to improve honey bee colony health and help ensure the availability of pollination services.”  

Specifically, the Tour:

  • provides information on the vital role honey bees play in sustainable agriculture and our food supply;
  • raises awareness of health challenges impacting honey bees; and
  • fosters collaboration among growers, beekeepers and other stakeholders.

The Tour is part of Bayer’s overall Bee Care Program and commitment to honey bee health. Bayer’s bee health initiatives include:

  • a new North American Bee Care Center, which is a state-of-the-art facility that will advance honey bee research, education and collaboration, opening in 2014 at Bayer’s Research Triangle Park, N.C. headquarters;
  • a new Bee Care Fact Sheet in Clayton, N.C., to support Bayer’s research apiary
  • a field staff training campaign, training more than 250 employees as Bee Ambassadors, dedicated to cultivating awareness around topics related to honey bee management and health; and
  • employee, community and Congressional events to increase awareness of pollinator health, as part of National Pollinator Week, including the planting of a bee-friendly garden near Bayer’s Kansas City facility.

Bayer is committed to environmental stewardship and sustainable agricultural practices, including the protection of beneficial insects such as honey bees. For additional information and background, please visit http://www.bayercropscience.us/our-commitment/bayer-initiatives.