Bayer AG, the parent company of Bayer CropSciences, recently launched a global bee care program to address the plight of the honeybee.
The program will bring bee research, knowledge and education under one umbrella within the company, says Dick Rogers, Bayer CropScience principal scientist and apiologist based in Research Triangle Park, N.C.
As part of the program, Bayer plans to open two Bee Care Centers later this year, Rogers says.
One will be in Bayer AG's hometown of Monheim, Germany; the other in Clayton, N.C.
The centers won't address colony collapse disorder persay, Rogers says.
Colony collapse disorder is being blamed for increased honeybee colony death during nearly the past decade.
Beekeepers typically report about 10 percent mortality during the winter.
Since the onset of colony collapse disorder, some beekeepers report death rates of 30 percent or greater.
Scientists theorize that no single pathogen or agent is responsible for colony collapse disorder.
Instead, many agree that several stressors conspire to weaken the bee, allowing another agent or complex of agents to eventually kill it.
Grouped in the suspected stressors are neonicotinoid insecticides, which includes Bayer's Admire Pro.
Bayer's bee care program will evaluate products on their effects on honeybees and develop ways to apply them in "bee responsible" ways.
It also will look at management practices, such as planting flowering plants, that will help beekeepers and enhance pollinator habitat.
"Bee health is a solution made up of many parts," Rogers says. "We want to bring all of those components together from all of the stakeholders. All of the stakeholders have a roll to play."
For example, Bayer has a process for wax purification, he says.
A company could use that technology to clean pesticide residues from the waxy foundations used by beekeepers and sell them back, a type of recycling, he says.
What Rogers also is excited about is the bee education center planned for the Clayton research farm.
Once the bee center is completed, it will include a kind of show-and-tell stage where visitors can watch a beekeeper at work.
Visitors will be protected behind glass but will be able to see a real-life apiary.
"It will be highly interactive," Rogers says of the bee education center. "It's something different."
Along with the bee health centers is Bayer's new bee health website.