Just recently Monsanto was recognized by the Illinois State Beekeepers Association (ISBA) for the company’s commitment to honey bee health and its efforts to support honey bees in a time when disease is threatening their very existence.
One of the many highlights during last month’s Monsanto-sponsored Honey Bee Health Summit was the recognition, which took place during a dinner event at the St. Louis Zoo. The Monsanto-hosted summit was a three-day meeting that brought together researchers, thought leaders and honey bee health experts to get further direction, training and to build relationships critical to improving honey bee health.This recognition is an indication of the beekeeping industry’s strengthening relationship with Monsanto, who entered into the bee health industry in 2011 with the acquisition of Beeologics, an international firm focused on developing products to address the well-being of bees.
“Getting to a place where we are being recognized by important state beekeeping associations is a big win in my mind,” said Jerry Hayes, Beeologics commercial lead. “We’re dedicated to improving the health of bees and know we can’t do it without the support of beekeeping associations and experts like ISBA.”
Monsanto’s efforts to improve honey bee health include the recent formation of the Honey Bee Advisory Council (HBAC), a panel of industry experts that will partner with Monsanto to address the challenges of the beekeeping industry. One of the top challenges bees face is the Varroa mite, a carrier of various viruses harmful to honey bees, and a potential contributor to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Led by the counsel of the HBAC, Monsanto is focusing the majority of its bee health research on finding a way to control the Varroa mite.
Tami Craig Schilling, director of technology communications, accepted this first-of-its-kind award on Monsanto’s behalf from Jim Belli, ISBA president. In a statement the ISBA noted, “The ISBA recognizes Monsanto’s commitment to research and development toward non-chemical, non GM honey bee health solutions.”
“As an Illinois resident and farmer’s wife, I’m thrilled that an organization in my own backyard is recognizing Monsanto’s efforts to improve bee health,” said Craig Schilling. “Honey bees play such an important role in agriculture as pollinators. I’m proud of the research we are doing to address challenges that beekeepers face and in turn affect the crops of farmers, just like my husband.”