"The chemical controls used are one by one losing effectiveness and we have to do something better, safer and saner to keep managed Honey Bees alive."
Jerry Hayes, Honey Bee Commerical Lead at Monsanto recently sat down with Smithers Viscient to share his insights into what are some of the biggest challenges that honey bees are currently facing.
Smithers Viscient: What excites you about the opportunity in the sector?
Hayes: I think what excites me is the simple fact that the conversation about Honey bees, agriculture and the environment are expanding. Awareness is the first step to understanding and improvements and solutions. Having this level of audience interest and participation in this industry is very significant.
Smithers Viscient: What are the challenges that keep you up at night?
Hayes: I have been in the Honey Bee world for decades. I Love Honey Bees, and Beekeepers and how they connect to pollinator dependent agriculture and the environment. It is an amazing relationship between an insect and a plant. They support each other. No negatives at all in comparison to some insects that damage plants. Honey Bee health is at a juncture due to the challenges caused by the 4 P’s, Parasites, Pathogens, Pesticides including the ones beekeepers use to control parasites, and Pastures (flowering plants). The biggest of these is the parasite the Varroa destructor mite. Without chemical control the honey bee colony will be dead in 18 months. The chemical controls used are one by one losing effectiveness and we have to do something better, safer and saner to keep managed Honey Bees alive. But, we are not there yet. And that is what wakes me up at 2 am.
Smithers Viscient: What technological and market factors do you think have the biggest impact on your business?
Hayes: We are spending lots of resources to develop a new technology called RNAi, which is a natural biological process in most living organisms, to control the Varroa mite non-chemically and non-GM.