State-of-the-Art Facility Dedicated to Improving Honey Bee Health through Research and Development, Education
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – In celebration of Bayer CropScience’s more than 25-year commitment to pollinator health, today the company celebrated the grand opening of its North American Bee Care Center, at its North American headquarters in Research Triangle Park. The $2.4 million center brings together significant technological, scientific and academic resources, with goals of promoting improved honey bee health, product stewardship and sustainable agriculture. A 6,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility, the Center will complement the Eastern Bee Care Technology Station in Clayton, N.C., and a Bee Care Center at the joint global headquarters campus of Bayer CropScience and Bayer Animal Health in Monheim, Germany.
The North American Bee Care Center, part of the company’s $12 million investment in bee health in 2014, brings together some of the brightest minds in agriculture and apiology to develop comprehensive solutions for bee health. This includes entomologists and apiarists, graduate researchers and more, all of whom are invested in the continuation of Bayer CropScience’s commitment to honey bee health excellence. The North American Bee Care Center team includes Becky Langer, Bee Care program manager; Dick Rogers, M.Sc., bee health expert and manager, Bee Care Center Research Program; Dr. Ana Cabrera, pollinator safety and varroa mite research scientist; Sarah Myers, apiarist and event manager, Bee Care Center; Kim Huntzinger, bee health laboratory diagnostic specialist; Sadye Howald, field apiarist in Indiana; and Jim Dempster, apiarist at Eastern Bee Care Center Technology Station in Clayton, N.C.
The center houses a full laboratory with a teaching and research apiary, honey extraction and hive maintenance space; interactive learning center; and meeting, training and presentation facilities for beekeepers, farmers and educators, as well as office space for a full staff and graduate students. On-site honey bee colonies, pollinator-friendly gardens and a screened hive observation area serve to further education and collaboration that will foster significant improvement in honey bee health and stewardship measures and best management practices.
“Honey bees are essential to modern agriculture production, and our North American Bee Care Center will help facilitate the research needed to help honey bees meet the increasing global demand for crop pollination,” said Jim Blome, president and CEO of Bayer CropScience LP. “Healthy honey bees mean a more substantial and nutritious food supply for us all, and we understand the many complex issues affecting honey bees’ ability to thrive, including disease, parasites such as Varroa mites, genetics and more.”
A hub for worldwide honey bee health initiatives, the Center supports scientific research and development, and education of the public on honey bees’ integral role in agriculture. The Center serves as a hub for premier technological, scientific and academic resources to protect and improve honey bee health and sustainable agriculture. Additionally, the North American Bee Care Center is targeting LEED Silver certification. The environmentally sustainable facility will help Bayer CropScience reduce its carbon footprint in an effort to promote corporate environmental stewardship. Products and technology developed at the Center will control parasitic mites in honey bee hives, help manage a Healthy Bees program, assess the safety of crop protection products to bees, and much more. Other activities conducted on-site include a Sentinel Hive monitoring program, varroagate testing and development, Varroa resistance monitoring and varroacide screening.
“Bayer CropScience actively seeks to promote bee-responsible use of Bayer products through worldwide communication activities and education,” said Blome. “What we are developing here will serve not only to protect honey bees and their ability to effectively pollinate crops but will also help us leave a better world, one hive and one harvest at a time.”
As part of the grand opening celebration, Bayer CropScience is launching the “Color Me Bee-autifully” coloring contest, a learning opportunity for educators, parents and students. The contest will include an online component, where students ages 12 and under nationwide can enter their “pollinator-friendly” artwork, which will be displayed at the Center throughout May and June. Locally, students in elementary school classrooms in the greater Raleigh-Durham area will be asked to participate as well, and will have the chance for their artwork to be displayed at the Center during July. The Center will rotate pictures on a regular basis to provide students with an opportunity to have their artwork on a display wall. Local participating classes will have a chance to be chosen for a scientist from Bayer’s Making Science Make Sense program to visit their class and conduct a hands-on science experiment.
For more information on the North American Bee Care Center and Bayer CropScience’s commitment to honey bee health, visit http://www.bayercropscience.us/our-commitment/bee-health.
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