Celebrate National Bee Day: The Buzz About Bees and How to Support Them in Missouri
By: Frisella Nursery
As May 20th approaches, we are thinking about how we can appreciate and celebrate National Bee Day. Bees, those tiny yet extraordinary creatures, play a vital role in our ecosystem and deserve our admiration and protection. In this article we will delve into the fascinating world or bees, explore the different types of bees found in Missouri, uncover their remarkable life cycle, highlight the significance of bees in our environment, and provide you with practical tips on how to support these essential pollinators in your own backyard. Plus, we’ll discuss some of the pollinator plants that we sell here at Frisella Nursery that can help you create a bee-friendly environment right at your home!
Types of Bees Found in Missouri:
Missouri is home to a diverse range of bee species, each with its own unique characteristics and role within our ecosystem. The most common types of bees found in the area include honey bees, bumblebees, carpenter bees, mason bees and sweat bees. Honey bees are social insects that live in large colonies and are responsible for pollinating a significant amount of Missouri’s agricultural crops. (We have honey bees here at Frisella Nursery.) Bumble bees are excellent pollinators, known for their fuzzy bodies and distinctive buzzing sound. Carpenter bees, although solitary, are proficient pollinators that often nest in wooden structures. Mason bees are gentle and solitary, while sweat bees are tiny, metallic-colored insects that often visit flowers in search of pollen and nectar.
The Life of a Bee:
To truly appreciate bees, we must understand their life cycle. Bees undergo complete metamorphosis, transitioning from an egg to a larva, then a pupa, and finally emerging as adult bees. Worker bees, the females responsible for most of the foraging and hive maintenance, live for several weeks during the spring and summer. Drones, the male bees, have the sole purpose of mating with the queen and live for only a few months. The queen bee, the only reproductive female in the colony, can live for several years, laying eggs and ensuring the colony’s survival.
Importance of Bees in our Environment:
Bees are indispensable to our environment, primarily due to their role as pollinators. They facilitate the reproduction of flowering plants by transferring pollen from the male parts (anthers) of flowers to the female parts (stigmas). This process enables plants to produce fruit, seeds, and nuts, sustaining the biodiversity of our ecosystems. In fact, it is estimated that one out of every three bites of food we consume is made possible by bee pollination. Beyond their agricultural contributions, bees also support the growth of wildflowers and contribute to the overall beauty of our natural surroundings.
Supporting Bees in Your Yard:
Creating a bee-friendly environment in your own yard can have a significant impact on bee populations. Here are a few simple ways you can help bees thrive:
- Plant Pollinator-Friendly Gardens: Choose a variety of native flowers and plants that bloom at different times of the year to provide a continuous food source for bees. Some excellent choices for Missouri include black-eyed susans, purple coneflowers, bee balm, and asters. Frisella Nursery is a fantastic resource for obtaining pollinator plants that are well-suited for the region.
- Provide Nesting Sites: Consider installing bee houses or leaving some bare ground or decaying logs for solitary bees to nest. Mason bees, for example, seek out small cavities, such as hollow stems or drilled holes, to lay their eggs.
- Avoid Pesticides: Minimize or eliminate the use of pesticides and herbicides in your yard, as they can harm bees and other beneficial insects. Instead, opt for organic and bee-friendly alternatives.
- Provide Water: Place a shallow dish of fresh water in your garden, preferably with some floating objects like pebbles, to provide bees with a safe drinking spot.
Conclusion: On this National Bee Day, let’s take a moment to appreciate the remarkable role that bees play in our environment and recognize the significance of their pollination services. By understanding the different types of bees, their life cycle, and the benefits they bring, we can make a meaningful difference in their conservation efforts. Remember, even small actions in our own yards can contribute to a more bee-friendly ecosystem. Visit Frisella Nursery to explore their wide selection of pollinator plants, and together, let’s ensure that the buzz of bees continues to resonate through the Missouri landscape for generations to come