Most people don’t realize it but much of the food they eat comes from crops pollinated by bees. Bayer CropScience wants to make sure those bees stay healthy and it is boosting its capacity to research honey bee health.
Bayer CropScience is breaking ground Monday on its Clayton Bee Care Facility. Sitting on 281 acres in Johnston County, the site will focus on approaches and solutions to bee health.
Besides serving a role in scientific research, Bayer CropScience says the site will have an educational purpose informing people about the role and importance of honey bees in agriculture.
Bayer CropScience executives were not available for comment ahead of the groundbreaking but in May when the company started construction on its RTP bee center, Bayer CropScience President and CEO Jim Blome that the company’s bee research is part of its efforts to improve bee health around the world.
“Our scientists are working to help solve some of the most pressing honey bee health problems, as their importance to the global food supply cannot be overstated,” Blome said.
Bayer CropScience, one of the divisions of German company Bayer, operates its headquarters for the Americas in Research Triangle Park. The company has had a Bee Care Program for more than more than 25 years but some of its investments in that effort are more recent.
Bayer opened its first Bayer Bee Care Center in 2012 at its global headquarters in Monheim Germany. Construction on the North American Bee Care Center in RTP started in May; that site is expected to be finished in the spring of 2014.
For the last three years Bayer CropScience has operated a Clayton research apiary, or bee yard where beehives of honeybees are kept. Internally, the company sometimes refers to the Clayton apiary as “Beesboro.”
The Clayton groundbreaking is the expansion of Beesboro to include a 1,200 square-foot-building with an office, a wintering cold room, and extraction and bee hive maintenance areas. Researchers and developers housed in the building will study honey bee health, including the factors that affect crop pollination as well as ways to treat and prevent diseases.
At 6,000-square-feet, the North American Bee Care Center in RTP will be much bigger. But like the Clayton site, the RTP facility will house honey extraction and workshop space. It will also have a full laboratory, a teaching apiary and an interactive learning center as the company pursues its mission to educate people about the importance of bees to agriculture.
The Clayton groundbreaking is set for 9:30 a.m. Monday. Scheduled speakers include Bayer CropScience CEO Blome and Jim Dempster, manager of the Clayton site.