Flowers and Bees: A Beautiful relationship in jeopardy
Bees are the most important global pollinator for human crops, including fruits, vegetables, and flower crops. However, bee populations are declining worldwide due to human impacts on habitat, pesticide exposure, and urbanization. In 2016, the US Fish and Wildlife Service added 7 bee species to the Endangered List. These are the first bees to ever be protected under the Endangered Species Act in the United States. Honey bees are the most abundant bee in the United States and produce honey and beeswax--highly valued substances for which there are no substitutes. With increases in intensive agriculture and urbanization, the diversity of floral sources has declined for all bees, and has likely contributed to the decline in bees worldwide, including the honey bee (Nicholls and Altieri, 2012. Agronomy for Sustainable Development).
This is where our farm and research collaborations come in.
To provide artisan honey and beeswax products, and also cut and dry flowers that are grown sustainably on our family farm to flower enthusiasts in Iowa and Nebraska. We aim to care for our flowers and bees in a sustainable manner and contribute at least 10% of the honey bee product proceeds to support honey bee health research at Creighton University.
Bountiful Blossoms Bee Company, LLC is owned by Brian Orth and Carol Fassbinder-Orth. We are Iowa natives that own a 23 acre farm near Glenwood, Iowa with our three children. Brian graduated from Iowa State University with a B.S. in Agronomy in 2002, and Carol graduated with a B.S. in Genetics in 2003 from Iowa State and a Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2008. Brian has worked in agricultural, conservation, and landscape industries for the past 16 years, and Carol has been a faculty member in the Biology Department at Creighton University for 9 years. We started Bountiful Blossoms Bee Company in 2015, initially selling honey and beeswax products from the honey bees on our farm.
Research Support-What we have achieved
- Field work research support for Tammy Tran's honey bee 2016-2017 research project at Creighton University entitled: "Dicistrovirus infections in honey bees (Apis mellifera): establishment of an infection model"
- Pilot studies funded partially by the proceeds from our sales enabled Dr. Fassbinder-Orth to obtain a $15,000 grant to study honey bee behavior and viral infections. This work was also featured in a commercial by Canon, shown below: