Feed a Bee program grows grant initiatives

The Bayer Bee Care Program has announced $250,000 in additional funding to support its Feed a Bee 50-state pollinator health initiative through the end of the year. With only three grant cycles remaining in 2018, and the initial $500,000 funding already pledged to projects in 45 of the 50-state goal, the funding boost aims to encourage additional entries nationally and to reach organizations in the five states that have yet to be funded: Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada and Wyoming. The latest round of funding awarded grants to 14 new projects committed to providing diverse forage and habitat for honey bees and other important pollinators.

Established in early 2017, the Feed a Bee 50-state forage initiative was created to fund projects nationally that either establish or restore diverse forage options for pollinators, which in turn help produce many of the fruits, nuts and vegetables essential to a healthy human diet. Nearly 300 organizations have applied for an award, which are selected by the Feed a Bee steering committee and range from $1,000 to $5,000 each. Continue reading

Protect Ground Nesting Bees

by Steve Frank, NC State University

Ground bees are active throughout central NC. Ground bees prefer areas with bare ground or thin grass so they have room to dig. The bees create small loose mounds of dirt an inch or two in diameter and up to an inch tall with a hole in the middle as wide as a pencil.

Agents and landscapers may get calls from people who believe they have fire ants or cicada killer wasps or yellow jackets in their yard. If this was the case they would have more reason to try and remove them. Continue reading

Hillsborough to bee hospitable with new hotel

in the Daily Tar Heel

A bee hotel will be all the buzz in Hillsborough, NC, on Saturday, as it is unveiled in efforts to combat the disappearance of bees from local habitats.

“A lot of people are aware of the decline of honey bees in the United States, but fewer people understand the role of native bees,” said Stephanie Trueblood, Hillsborough public space manager.  Continue reading

NC State University student spotlight on pollinator protection

In NC State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences News

by Chelsea Kellner, NC State University

As pollinator gardens grow in popularity, Marisol Mata wants to make sure they are giving North Carolina’s native bees the nutrition they need to thrive.

Her work can also help us glimpse the future — how changes in global weather patterns could affect nutrition for one of our smallest but most important eco-partners. Continue reading

Finding of self-medicating behavior in bees not supported in further research

In Morning Ag Clips

A new study of possible self-medicating behavior in bumble bees conducted by researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst reports that a once-promising finding was not supported by further experiments and analysis.

Doctoral candidate Evan Palmer-Young and his advisor, evolutionary ecologist Lynn Adler, had reported in 2015 that a common parasitic infection of bumble bees was reduced when the bees fed on anabasine in sugar water. Anabasine is a natural alkaloid, nicotine-like chemical found in plant nectar. The researchers had hoped their finding was evidence that bees may use “nature’s medicine cabinet” to rid themselves of the intestinal parasite Crithidia bombi, which can decrease the survival of queen bees over the winter and hamper the success of young colonies in the spring. Continue reading

USDA Invests $6.8 Million for Research and Extension Grants on Pollinator Health

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced seven grants totaling $6.8 million for research and extension projects to sustain healthy populations of pollinators, which are crucial to the nation’s food security and environmental health. The funding is made possible through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

“An estimated $15 billion worth of crops, including more than 90 fruits and vegetables, are pollinated by honey bees alone,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “With the recent declines in pollinator populations owing to various factors, it is imperative that we invest in research to promote pollinator health, reduce honey bee colony losses, and restore pollinator habitats.”  Continue reading

Webinar on Ensuring Crop Pollination in US Specialty Crops starts Jan. 24

This webinar series will provide an overview of pollination requirements and strategies to ensure pollination of different specialty crops. Farmers and gardeners rely on crop pollinators, including honey bees, alternative managed bees like the blue orchard bee, and wild bees. Pollination experts will discuss how to support these pollinators on almond, blueberry, tree fruit, pumpkin, and watermelon farms. Learn how to connect to the webinar series via the Bee Health page on eXtension.org.