RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — Bayer CropScience celebrated the one-year anniversary of North American Bee Care Center on Monday, April 27. The center was expected to host more than 3,000 visitors by the end of April.

The $2.4-million center was opened to help foster bee health research, education, partnerships and stewardship. Bayer has invested more than $12 million in bee research and programs.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory declared Monday as “Honeybee Day” in honor of the one-year celebration, and assistant N.C. Department of Agriculture commissioner, Richard Reich, said as the global demand for food increases, maintaining bee and habitat health is crucial, reported the Durham Herald Sun.

“World demand for food and fiber will increase, some are saying 60 to 100 percent, by the year 2050,” Reich said. “We all know pollinators need help, habitat loss, disease and environmental changes has contributed to the decline of pollinators … the best way to address this concern is this multistep approach to support pollinators through expanding and protecting habitats and protecting the pollinators themselves,” reported the newspaper, also acknowledging the controversy surrounding the use of neonictinoid insecticides, which critics claim contribute to reduced populations of bees and other pollinators.

Read the full article in the Herald Sun here.