Initiative Exceeds Goal to Grow 50 Million Flowers for Forage to Provide Pollinators with Food as They Work to Feed a Growing World Population
Just 12 weeks after its launch, the Feed a Bee campaign has exceeded its goal of receiving pledges to plant 50 million flowers in 2015. Feed a Bee, a major initiative sponsored by Bayer CropScience, works with organizations and individuals to increase forage for honey bees and other pollinators, helping to provide them with the food they need to survive and thrive. Almost 200,000 people…
have visited www.FeedABee.com and supported the campaign by requesting a free seed packet to plant in their local community, committing to grow a bee-attractant plant or requesting to have the Feed a Bee initiative “plant on their bee-half.”
Almost all experts agree one of the major health factors facing honey bees is a lack of forage areas. With the world population expected to grow to over nine billion people, 70 percent more food will be needed by 2050; bees, therefore, need more food to help them pollinate these crops.
“That fact that the Feed a Bee initiative has already met its goal to plant 50 million flowers is a testament to the passion of individuals and organizations to support pollinator health,” said Jim Blome, president and CEO of Bayer CropScience LP North America. “While this is a great initial step for Feed a Bee, we know there is more work to be done to allow these amazing creatures to thrive, and we don’t plan to stop here.”
Throughout the rest of the year, individuals are encouraged to continue supporting Feed a Bee by coming back to share their planting photos using #FeedABee on social networking sites, like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr. Individuals will have the opportunity to view their planting contributions on an interactive tool on www.beehealth.bayer.us/feed-a-bee.
Individuals can also still visit www.FeedABee.com to have the Feed a Bee initiative plant forage on their behalf or commit to planting a bee-attractant plant on their own. The campaign website features tips for creating bee-attractant habitats and planting seeds and plants for pollinators. The campaign will also host activities and events in cities across the country where individuals can get involved in planting bee forage in their community.
The Feed a Bee campaign is also close to reaching its goal of working with 50 partners to plant thousands of acres of flower-producing crops this year. To date, the initiative has secured more than 30 collaborators, including groups like NC Department of Transportation (NCDOT), Project Apis m. and Integrated Vegetation Management Partners, Inc.(IVM Partners).
“Feed a Bee is working with a group of diverse organizations to distribute seeds to individuals to plant in their gardens and to plant forage in various locations, like fields adjacent to crops and public rights-of-way,” said Dr. Becky Langer-Curry, manager of the North American Bee Care Program. “The Feed a Bee collaborations are a demonstration of how we can all work together to improve pollinator health.”
Initiatives like Feed a Bee, which include public and private partnerships to address lack of forage, align with the recently announced White House Pollinator Health Task Force’s comprehensive strategy. Bayer is especially pleased that this directive will address critical bee health stressors including parasites, diseases and loss of forage habitats. Bayer is aligned with and participating in the directive’s focus areas of research, data-sharing, public-private partnerships and on-going evaluation of neonicotinoid insecticides.
Feed a Bee is one of several programs sponsored by Bayer’s Bee Care Program, continuing its nearly 30 years of supporting bee health. Other programs include: • Opening the North American Bee Care Center last year in Research Triangle Park, N.C., as a focal point for education, research and collaboration to improve honey bee health; • Welcoming more than 3,600 visitors to the Center since it opened in April 2014; • Conducting two mobile bee care tours that reached 4,750 people and traveled more than 8,300 miles to promote bee health; and • Creating an annual award to recognize beekeepers who have used beekeeping to improve their local communities.