Fall is a time of pumpkin pie and hot apple cider, but neither of these would be possible without the hard work of pollinators. To honor the efforts of these busy creatures, Bayer is celebrating fall with their Feed a Bee program and the planting of wildflowers and dedicated forage areas.
Feed a Bee and The Wildlife Society (TWS) are on a mission to create pollinator forage across the U.S. Currently they’re making their way to four locations: Lubbock, Texas; Scott City, Kansas; Flanagan, Illinois and Fort Pierce, Florida, over the course of six weeks to plant 50 million wildflower seeds.
“The Feed a Bee program is tackling a really important need for pollinators by conducting plantings across the nation this fall,” said Ken Williams, chief executive officer of TWS. “At TWS, dedicated chapter members in each region are working now to identify the optimum mix of wildflower seeds to plant in each location to ensure pollinators have access to a wide variety of diverse nutrition sources when bloom occurs in the spring.”
The original goal established for the Feed a Bee program this year was to generate enough social actions through “Tweet a 🐝, #FeedABee” to plant 25 million pollinator-attractant wildflower seeds. Each share of the bee emoji and #FeedABee online triggered additional, real wildflower seeds being tallied for the fall plantings. Thanks to overwhelming support from the public and the generous donations of acreage from partner organizations, the four plantings will take place across enough land to plant 50 million wildflower seeds total.
Festivities began at Texas Tech University, where the Department of Plant and Soil Science hosted an educational pollinator field day. Attendees helped to begin a new forage area at Quaker Avenue Research Farm.
“Pollinators, including native bees, honey bees and more, play an important role in agriculture and our ecosystem as a whole,” said Dr. Scott Longing, assistant professor of entomology at TTU and member of the Texas Chapter of TWS. “By continuing to research ways to combat the challenges they face and planting additional forage in the meantime, we can help promote and protect pollinator health in a variety of ways.”
November and December will see plantings in the remaining three locations, held in conjunction with other partner organizations and communities.
“Every additional bit of forage planted helps pollinators, whether it’s next to a community garden, alongside cropland or in a homeowner’s backyard,” said Dr. Becky Langer, project manager for the North American Bayer Bee Care Program. “We’re proud to work with TWS and our other fantastic Feed a Bee partners this fall for the first annual forage planting tour. By planting these wildflower seeds, we’re helping to sow a healthier spring for honey bees and other pollinators.”
Listen to Cindy Zimmerman’s interview with Becky Langer and Chuck Shively here: Interview with Becky Langer & Chuck Shively