Crops Lifestyle News

Bees in the News: Cheerios, Bayer, and Ohio State research

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Have you picked up a box of Honey Nut Cheerios lately and noticed Buzz is missing? It’s all part of the cereal brand’s latest campaign #BringBacktheBees to build back the population of bees.

According to their web site, “Buzz is missing because there’s something serious going on with the world’s bees. Bee populations everywhere have been declining at an alarming rate, and that includes honeybees like Buzz.”

Cheerios is pledging to give away 100 million wildflower seeds, in partnership with Veseys Seeds, to get the movement started.

Cheerios isn’t the only company buzzing about bees … This week Bayer Crop Science announced it is seeking nominations for its fifth annual Bee Care Community Leadership Award.

New in 2017, the program will recognize a partnership between a beekeeper and a grower, researcher, golf course superintendent, or other stakeholder whose collaboration protects pollinators and benefits their community, as well as recognizing a young beekeeper undertaking pollinator-focused initiatives in his or her school or community.

This year’s award, an initiative of Bayer’s North American Bee Care Program, provides the winning partners a $5,000 prize to continue their valuable collaborative work to promote and protect pollinators in the community. A $1,000 prize will be awarded to a young beekeeper to research ways to improve pollinator health, establish an apiary on his or her school campus, or amplify existing beekeeping efforts.

“We’ve found that growers, researchers, golf course superintendents, and similar stakeholders play an essential role in helping beekeepers provide pollinators sustainable habitats and diverse food sources, and youth are critical to promoting and preserving the overall health of pollinator species for generations to come,” said Dr. Becky Langer, project manager for the Bayer North American Bee Care Program. “We’re passionate about celebrating these strategic partnerships and young beekeepers and supporting the valuable work they’re doing in their communities.”

Bees may be picky about where they pollinate, according to latest research from The Ohio State University…

In a recent study, Ohio State researchers positioned honey bee colonies in an apiary in a central Ohio cemetery smack in the middle of where urban residential development transitions into farmland. They left the colonies to forage for nectar and pollen wherever they preferred.

The bees, studied from late summer to early fall, overwhelmingly went for the agricultural offerings instead of the assorted flowering plants in and around the urban neighborhoods nearby, said lead author Douglas Sponsler, who was a graduate student in entomology at Ohio State when the research was conducted in 2014. Throughout the study, the honey bees’ haul always favored plants from the agricultural area, and hit a high of 96 percent of the pollen collected at one point.

“Honey bees didn’t seem to care that much what the floral diversity was. What they wanted was large patches of their favorite stuff,” said Sponsler, who now works at Penn State University.

While farm fields themselves aren’t attractive to the bees, the countryside features wide swaths of unmowed wild plants (also known as weeds) along roadsides and in field margins, Sponsler said.

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