Recently, the Bayer Bee Care Center had the pleasure of receiving the ‘Vereinigung der Bestäubungsimker in Deutschland e.V.’ (Association of Pollination Beekeepers in Germany), who undertook the visit as part of their training and continuing education program. “Our aim is to elucidate and promote the pollination services of insects, which plays a crucial role in the natural ecosystems which surround us”, Dr Oskar Rau, treasurer of the Association and organiser of the visit elaborated. Globally, nearly 90 percent of flowering plant species depend, at least in part, on the transfer of pollen by insects and other animals. These plants are an important part of ecosystems, providing food, forming habitats and offering other resources for a wide range of other species. Thus, biological diversity is important for all of us, offering the aesthetic value of a diverse landscape that provides habitat for countless different animal and plant species and affords us multiple practical benefits (ecosystem services). On this point we all agree! Peter Trodtfeld, Bee Health Expert at the Bee Care Center, added: “The farmer also benefits a lot from the pollination services provided by insects; it is estimated that five to eight percent of global agricultural crop production is directly attributable to animal – mostly insect – pollination.”
Our visitors were keen to learn more about the role of pesticides when it comes to bee health and safety, some a little sceptical as to the need and safety. Peter pointed out: “It is important for us to re-emphasize that pesticides have an important role to play, helping farmers worldwide to manage harmful pests that would otherwise limit crop production and quality.” In the public discussion, pesticide use is frequently highlighted as a main factor affecting bee health, whereas in most cases where pollinators were reportedly harmed by pesticides this was related to the incorrect or irresponsible use of pesticides. Responsible use of crop protection products is key and products are thoroughly tested for their safety to bees and exposure is controlled and minimized. “Hopefully the visits to our application technology facilities and field test station at Höfchen gave some insight into our efforts in this area and the importance we attach to product safety”, Peter added.
In the end, one thing is clear: pollinators are important and their health and safety must be collectively ensured! Gaining knowledge and listening to all sides of the story are important in that regard. “It was very insightful to learn what Bayer does in the areas of crop protection and pollinator protection”, Dr Rau concluded.