There is an increasing buzz around honey bees and other pollinators. Honey bees are important to agriculture and our food supply and in honor of National Pollinator Week we’d like to take this opportunity to address some questions related to honey bees.
Question 1: Why are honey bees important to agriculture?
Think of your breakfast, lunch or dinner today. Did you know approximately 30 percent of all of the wonderful foods we have at our finger tips are brought to us by the relationship among beekeepers, honey bees and farmers? USDA estimates the value of honey bees on … Full Article »
By Dr. Gregory Heck
For Bee Culture Magazine
Monsanto’s Dr. Greg Heck recently wrote an article for Bee Culture Magazine on a future opportunity in bee health – RNAi and what it could mean as a great addition to the toolbox of agricultural solutions.
“RNAi is used by plants, animals and fungi to read the information stored in their DNA and use it to develop actual physical characteristics, called ‘traits,’ he writes. “Our early farmer ancestors saw some of these traits as valuable and bred plants for those desirable qualities – without knowing, needless to say, that RNAi … Full Article »
By Glynn Young
Online Communications Team
Jerry Hayes leads Monsanto’s Beeologics business. He’s known across the beekeeping industry, and there are very few beekeepers he doesn’t know. He arrived at Monsanto from the Florida Department of Agriculture to lead the newly acquired Beeologics business in 2012. And he’s helped to bring into Monsanto a needed perspective on honey bees, pollinators in general, colony collapse disorder, and what needs to be done to address bee health for sustainable agriculture and the environment.
Recently I had the opportunity to tag along and hear him talk with an outside group. Jerry spends a … Full Article »
By Glynn Young
Online Communications Team
Almost two years ago, I happened to mention to Jerry Hayes, business director for Beeologics, that I was doing some home garden renovation.
“Monarda,” he replied.
“What?” I asked.
“Monarda, he repeated. “Plant some. It’s flourishes in Missouri and it’s great for honey bees, not to mention other pollinators.”
Jerry knows what he’s talking about, so I went to the local nursery a few blocks form my house and asked for Monarda. They had it. I bought two plants in six-inch pots.
Today I have a five-foot section of Monarda that bursts … Full Article »
By Alex Inberg
Varroa Project Lead, Monsanto
As I read daily media articles about honey bee health and the importance of honey bees as pollinators to our food supply and the environment, I feel compelled to offer my perspective as a scientist working on finding a solution to improve the health of honey bees. While many explanations for the widely-debated phenomenon of colony collapse have been circulated, to this date, scientists can agree only on the fact that multiple factors contribute to honey bee demise.
Since 2009, I have been involved in research to develop products based on RNA interference … Full Article »
Four recent articles on honey bee health cover a range of subjects – the science behind current research efforts, background on what has been happening with bee health, and what people learned at Monsanto’s Bee Summit in June.
Susan Young at MIT Technology Review wrote about Monsanto’s research efforts involving RNA interference to tackle the bee health problem cited by beekeepers everywhere – the Varroa mite. “A new weapon in that fight (the battle against Colony Collapse Disorder) could be RNA molecules that kill a troublesome parasite by disrupting the way its genes are expressed,” she writes. Today, the only … Full Article »
I’ve been attending the Honey Bee Health Summit, co-hosted by the Honey Bee Advisory Council and Project Apis m. It started Tuesday afternoon here in St. Louis, and continues through lunchtime Thursday.
Until last year, my experience with honey bees was limited to various experiences as a kid (not all positive) and the consumption of honey. I knew that honey bees were pollinators, but I didn’t know much beyond that.
I started learning a lot more after Monsanto acquired Beeologics, and then getting to meet and know Jerry Hayes, who’s our business lead for the bee business.
Coincidentally, … Full Article »
By Larry Johnson
Monsanto Honey Bee Advisory Council
“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” These words from the opening paragraph of The Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens may well describe what it’s like to be in the bee business the last few years.
We have a great number of challenges to face every year in keeping bees healthy. And just when you think you have it all figured out, it can go the other direction in a matter of weeks or even days. Now sometimes we can look at hives and say … Full Article »
Recently we were talking with the president of a regional beekeeping association, and asked him what beekeepers in his association were concerned about.
“No question about that,” he said. “Varroa mites.”
There’s been a lot of speculation lately on what is, and isn’t, suspected of causing or contributing to Colony Collapse Disorder, the serious problem being experienced with honey bees — insects that play a critical role in agriculture. A study published June 8 by Science, “Global Honey Bee Viral Landscape Altered by a Parasitic Mite,” brings some clarity to the subject and points in the … Full Article »
By Jerry Hayes
Beeologics Commercial Lead
The Apiculture/ Beekeeping Industry is recognized as a small industry – vital, important, but small. Not very many companies want to get involved in it as many times research and investment are expensive, with little immediate return that can be projected. Generally beekeepers go to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), universities or private industry looking for help. Sometimes it comes but most of the time it doesn’t.
Now we have a company committed to ag R&D that acquired Beeologics. They know nothing about honey bees, right?
Actually, they do. Monsanto knows that honey … Full Article »