Recently, Bayer CropScience in RTP broke ground on a new facility to study health issues in honey bees. Lain Kelly, Bee Health Issue manager with Bayer CropScience says the notoriety of Colony Collapse Disorder in bees just made it more obvious that bee health needed extensive study:
“I think we have really been seeing bee health decline in general. Colony Collapse Disorder probably wasn’t the biggest cause of problems that bee keepers were seeing. As a company that is closely involved with sustainable agriculture and the need to use bees in our business we feel there is a need to ensure that we can improve the health of bees as part of our general agricultural system."
Kelly describes Bayer's bee facility plans:
“ It will be about 6000 square feet. We will have laboratory extraction and work shop capability there. We will have a state of the art conferencing center for meetings and also space for graduate students to come in and do work. Part of the purpose of the center is to encourage collaboration between different stake-holders."
But, Bayer isn't waiting until then to get their research underway says Kelly:
“We have Ted Rogers, who has been a bee researcher for many years. He is already part of the staff at a location about 20 miles away where we already have hives and are already doing work. We are not waiting for the completion of the center for the completion of the work that we are doing at the present time."
Kelly says that most of the work they're doing is with the Western Honey Bee:
“The western honey bee is the common hives that we see. They are not the only bee or insect pollinator, but they are very efficient and ones that can be raised by bee keepers, split into different colonies, moved around the country and really are the work horse of our agricultural system from a pollination perspective."
Current projections are for the facility to be completed in the 4th quarter of this year, and be fully staffed and running in early 2014.
Bee Health Issue Manager for Bayer CropScience Lain Kelly.