How does Monsanto Hawaii protect the bee population?

Each week, we will answer a question from our readers regarding our operations and community outreach in the State of Hawaii. Submit your question by visiting the contact page. Thanks for reading. Mahalo!

Q: How does Monsanto Hawaii protect the bee population?

Monsanto Hawaii is dedicated to malama ʻaina. Preserving and protecting our island home is important to us and we are dedicated to being a good steward of our land and natural resources. Part of this preservation is the protection of bees, which play a vital role in agriculture as natural pollinators. Pollination helps plants’ fertilization processes because it allows for the development of fruits and seeds. In fact, one-third of the food you eat depends upon pollination.

What Monsanto is Doing to Help

As a company solely focused on agriculture, we recognize the importance of bees to our business, growers and the environment. We are committed to supporting honey bee health and researching solutions for these complex issues like the Colony Collapse Disorder, a phenomenon where bees disappear abruptly from an otherwise health colony.

In addition to having bee health programs at our farms in Hawaii, there are a number of programs and organizations we support in order to help keep bees healthy, including:

  • PAm (Project Apis m.) Collaboration: Monsanto is collaborating with PAm to assist in forage projects in order to provide more nutritious food for bees. Beekeepers are often concerned with whether there is enough forage or food available during pollination seasons. The availability of natural pollen equates to healthier bees, and healthier bees are better able to tolerate stressors.
  • Honey Bee Advisory Council (HBAC): The Honey Bee Advisory Council is comprised of members of the beekeeping industry, experts and academia. We have learned a great deal about the complicated challenges facing beekeepers. With this council as a guiding force, our bee health research and development efforts are focused on the leading challenges.
  • Beeologics: In 2011, Monsanto acquired the company, Beeologics, which focuses on testing biological products to provide targeted control of pests and diseases in order to provide safe, effective ways to protect the honey bee. For example, a major factor of Colony Collapse Disorder is credited to the parasitic varroa mite. This mite weakens bees’ immune system and spreads viruses.
  • Currently, BioDirect - our first biological technology platform - is in discovery phase, but has shown promising results in testing that it could be effective against specific insects, such as varroa mites, while leaving beneficial insects unaffected. To put it simply, research is being done to control a problem insect on a beneficial insect.

Honey bees are essential for productive agriculture and the environment. The collaboration with PAm, the Honey Bee Advisory Council and Monsanto provides a strong foundation to help to find sustainable solutions to bee health.