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Industry stepping up efforts to help protect pollinator populations

The health of honey bees is an important subject to many segments of the world’s populations. That is also true of private industry, which has been working hard to come up with answers to why bee populations have been declining.

Pollinator health was a topic at several sessions during the Beltwide Cotton Conferences, including a briefing held by Bayer CropScience’s for the media attending the National Cotton Council’s annual education transfer event. Allen Ayres, state affairs director for Bayer, discussed his company’s efforts in a video interview.

Some stress is placed on honey bees in transferring them from one locale to another for use as pollinator services. Ayres noted the almond crop requires about 1.6 million of the 2.6 million hives in the U.S. each year in California alone.

“Bees are very important to various crops,” he said. “One issue has been habitat and enough forage to keep the bees healthy. This is important because it is very laborious, it’s expensive, it’s difficult for the beekeepers to have to artificially feed them with sugars, and they much prefer to let them forage naturally.”

As part of its ongoing effort to find better ways to provide habitat and improve bee health, Bayer CropScience is building a Bee Care Center in its complex at its headquarters in Research Triangle Park in North Carolina.

“We already have research team that has been working and will be moving into this new facility in the next three or four months,” Ayres noted. “It will bring a focus to the research we’ve been doing these past few years to bring together this collaboration in a more focused approach, and it will give us an opportunity to do this bee research to find better ways to control these pests.”

For more information about honey bee research, click on




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