Feed a Bee is an initiative of the Bayer Bee Care Program with a clear goal in mind: create forage areas with a diversity of pollinator-attractant plants in order to promote bee health, while educating the public along the way. In the USA the program now collaborates with more than 115 partners across the agricultural, university, nonprofit and business sectors, among others.
Over the course of 2016, Feed a Bee has connected with multiple partners across the USA to teach communities about the importance of pollinators and individual actions people can take to protect these important insects. In fact, 200,000 people ordered seed packets through FeedABee.com to establish their own pollinator patches. With additional seeds distributed by The Wildlife Society and our other partners, more than 300,000 members of the public engaged with Feed a Bee in 2016. Thanks to them and the work of our partners, Feed a Bee has planted nearly 2 billion flowers since the initiative launched in 2015.
In March, Feed a Bee teamed up with the Orleans Parish 4-H to establish a pollinator patch in the teaching garden at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School in New Orleans, Louisiana. The students planted pollinator-attractant flowers while learning about the bees’ important pollination services.
200,000 people ordered seed packets through FeedABee.com to establish their own pollinator patches.
“Every new forage patch, no matter how big or small, helps to increase the health of pollinators”.
Dr. Becky Langer, project manager for the North American Bayer Bee Care Program.
Dr Becky Langer, project manager for the North American Bayer Bee Care Program also presented the Orleans Parish 4-H with a $10,000 check: “We wanted to expand pollinator education throughout the city by establishing pollinator habitats in several additional urban gardens.”
During the first annual fall forage tour Feed a Bee together with The Wildlife Society (TWS) initiated the planting of 50 million wildflower seeds to provide food for bees and other pollinators.
Feed a Bee continued to bring hands-on education to students in June at the Binghampton Development Corporation’s Carpenter Art Garden in Memphis, Tennessee. Students had the opportunity to learn about pollinators while decorating full-size hive boxes and painting flower pots to establish their own personal pollinator forage. After the event, they were provided with pollinator-attractant seed packets to plant in their new pots, while Feed a Bee partner Agricenter auctioned off the hive boxes at their Feast on the Farm benefit. With a $5,000 donation from Bayer’s Bee Care Program, Carpenter Art Garden was able to establish pollinator patches for students to continue their bee education.
In fall, Feed a Bee teamed up with The Wildlife Society to kick off its first annual fall forage tour. The number of seeds planted on this tour was decided through social actions. Every time “#FeedABee” was posted, Twitter users helped to dedicate more wildflower seeds that would be used in these fall plantings. The goal for this tour began with planting 25 million seeds, but thanks to an incredible amount of support, 50 million wildflower seeds were planted in Texas, Illinois, Kansas and Florida over the course of six weeks, thereby helping to provide food for bees and other pollinators.
During the tour there were several occasions to promote pollinator health and the research being conducted by graduate students.
The tour began at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, where the Department of Plant and Soil Science hosted an educational field day to teach community members about promoting pollinator health as well as research being conducted by graduate students. Following the field day, Feed a Bee visited the Carolyn Lanier Youth Farm for a special program with the South Plains Food Bank’s Growing Recruits for Urban Business program, which teaches young adults how to plant, grow, maintain, harvest and market their own produce, while also providing classes on nutrition and healthy living. The students were able to view a working hive up close before planting additional forage next to their garden plots.
Feed a Bee also stopped at Salem4youth in Flanagan, Illinois, to host a pollinator workshop for local growers and beekeepers. Additional plantings took place in Scott City, Kansas, at McCarty Family Farms and in Fort Pierce, Florida, where The Packers of Indian River planted 11 acres of forage.
“Every new forage patch, no matter how big or small, helps to increase the health of pollinators,” said Dr. Becky Langer. “It’s been a great joy to work with our outstanding Feed a Bee partners, and we are excited to see the future impacts of this work.”
Find out more about Bayer’s activities in the USA or read more on the 15 Coolest Things that Happened on the Way to Planting 2 Billion Flowers.
Or check our BEENOW story on Blossoms for bees - "Feed a bee" initiative in the USA provides extra food resources.