One year ago Purdue University entomologists released reports indicating that talc contaminated with seed treatment wafting into the air during planting season could affect honeybee health. The result was interesting point, counter-point discussion, and recommendations for reducing the amount of talc released into the air during planting.
Farmers are urged to be aware that the talc could be an issue. When emptying seed boxes or hoppers, it's advisable to minimize the amount of talc that's released into the air. Particles contaminated with seed treatment insecticides could reach areas where bees do their work and cause harm.
Meanwhile, Bayer Corporation has stepped up its efforts to support protection of bees, and kicked off what it calls the Bee Care Program. Bayer representatives manned a display at the recent National FFA Convention trade show in Indianapolis to tell students and advisors about their efforts at researching new methods to promote bee health.
Bayer has established a Bee Care Center in Monheim, Germany. A second is planned for U.S. headquarters in North Carolina, but it is not yet functional. Existing and future bee health projects are expected to be carried out through the centers.
Part of the effort will be devoted to development of treatments against parasites and diseases that harm honeybee populations. The center will also be used to develop ways for the company to actively promote responsible use of their products to protect surrounding bee populations. The goal besides learning new information is to share it with farmers and beekeepers.
Honeybees have various enemies, including a parasitic mite. Trying to determine why honeybee populations have dipped in many areas must be a joint effort between various groups, Bayer notes. The company considers it good stewardship to take an aggressive, active role in trying to help determine the best ways to protect and promote bee populations.