Collaboration Aims to Help Individuals and Organizations Gain Access to Wildflower Seeds to Create Bee Forage.
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. (July 9, 2015) – As part of its ongoing commitment to honey bee health, Bayer CropScience has partnered with Ernst Conservation Seeds to provide bulk seed to individuals and organizations that have pledged to become Feed a Bee partners and dedicate land to the establishment of pollinator habitat. Feed a Bee partners will receive a pollinator seed mix from Ernst Seeds that includes wildflowers that bloom from spring to fall, providing important nutrients for pollinators all season long. Some of the most popular pollinator attractant plants in the mix include slender mountainmint (Pycnanthemum tenuifolium), wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) and purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea). The seed should be planted according to USDA Pollinator Program guidelines at a rate of four pounds per acre.
“The collaboration with Ernst Seeds is an integral part of our Feed a Bee initiative,” said Dr. Becky Langer-Curry, manager of the North American Bee Care Program. “Their participation in the campaign will help contribute to acres of bee forage that we’re aiming to help establish across the U.S. this year.”
Bayer’s initiative with Ernst Seeds is the most recent in a series of collaborations that Bayer is forging as part of its recently launched Feed a Bee campaign (FeedABee.com) that has a goal of growing 50 million flowers and providing additional forage acreage for bees in 2015. One-third of all food eaten by humans is dependent on pollination. Reduced bee habitat has decreased bees’ food options, at a time when a growing world population is putting increased pressure on agriculture. Feed a Bee collaborations will help ensure bees have access to the diverse pollen and nectar sources they need, especially during times when the fruit, nut and vegetable crops they help to pollinate are not in bloom.
Founded in 1964, Ernst Seeds is the largest native seed producer and supplier in the eastern United States. The company sells over 400 species of native and naturalized seeds and live plant materials. Its production operations include more than 8,000 acres in northwestern Pennsylvania, additional farmland in Florida and cooperative growing relationships in Maryland, North Carolina and Oregon.
“We’re proud to partner with Bayer CropScience in the Feed a Bee program,” states Andy Ernst, vice president of Ernst Conservation Seeds. “This ambitious initiative has already seen a remarkable response from groups and individuals who want to improve and increase native habitat for pollinators. With the program still in its early stages, we believe it has tremendous potential to benefit pollinators on a large scale nationwide.”