Let it bee: Welcoming local pollinators to your garden
ST. LOUIS – On a hot, sunny day like, most people don’t like bees to invade their patio. But bees, butterflies and other pollinators are threatened by habitat loss, pesticides and disease. The Missouri Department of Conservation asks you to be “bee friends” for native pollinators.
Missouri is home to approximately 450 species of native bees, including bumblebees, carpenter bees, and sweat bees. Many fear being stung, but urban wildlife biologist Erin Shank says most native bees are harmless.
“Most of them are solitary ground nesting bees, so they don’t behave like the honey bee, which is the bee that most people know, which is not a native bee,” he said. Shank said. “They don’t have a beehive they are defending. And with these few species, only females can sting, not males. So a large number of bees that you observe in your garden cannot actually sting you.
Bees do the crucial job of pollinating flowering plants, providing one in three mouthfuls of the food we eat.
“So we wouldn’t have things like strawberries and almonds, blueberries and apples and… cucumbers, tomatoes, you know. All of the tastiest and most nutritious things we enjoy on our plates are thanks to pollinators.
Sometimes pollinators, like honey bees, swarm or beehive in dangerous places and need to be removed.
“We’ve seen them on cars before. We see them in barbecues and in a number of different areas, ”said Jay Everitt, CTO of Rottler Pest Solutions. “But a lot of times, if you leave them alone, they’ll move on.”
If they have to go, Everitt says professionals can eliminate the threat but also preserve the bees.
“We have specialist beekeepers who can actually make a trap on these,” he said. “And they’re going to literally transfer these bees to a beehive and then relocate them to a place that’s a little bit safer for them and humans.”
On the web: 10 ways to save bees
You can support pollinators by incorporating native plants with colorful flowers into your landscaping. Flowering trees like red buds and American plums are also excellent.
“Over the past year, as many of us have found our only safe hobby to be outdoors, we have a new appreciation for outdoor spaces, which are in large part thanks to pollinators for pollinating plants so may they germinate and have generations of flowering plants, forests and meadows in our region, ”said Shank.
No court? No problem. Shank said residents who live in urban areas can offer bees native flowers in a planting box or pot or by creating a community garden.
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