Let it bee: Welcoming local pollinators to your backyard


ST. LOUIS – On a sunny warm day most people don’t like bees invading their patio time. But bees, butterflies, and other pollinators are under threat by habitat loss, pesticides, and disease. The Missouri Department of Conservation is asking you to “bee-friend” native pollinators.

Missouri is home to around 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 ground-nesting, solitary bees, so they don’t behave like the honeybee, which is the bee most people are familiar with, which is not a native bee,” Shank said. “They don’t have a hive that they are defending. And with those few species, only the females can sting, not the males. So a large number of the bees that you’re observing in your yard can’t actually sting you.”

Bees do the crucial work of pollinating flowering plants, providing one in every three bites of food we eat.

“So we wouldn’t have things like strawberries and almonds and blueberries and apples and… cucumbers, tomatoes you know. All the more flavorful and nutritious items that we enjoy on our plates are thanks to pollinators.”

Sometimes pollinators, like the honeybee, swarm or hive in unsafe places and need to be removed.

“We’ve seen them on cars before. We see them in barbecue pits and a number of different areas,” said Jay Everitt, technical director with Rottler Pest Solutions. “But a lot of times if you just leave them alone they’re going to move on.”

If they do need to go, Everitt says professionals can remove the threat but also preserve the bees.

“We’ve got some specialty beekeepers that can actually do a trap out on those,” he said. “And they will literally transfer those bees over to a hive and then relocate them to a place that’s a little safer for them and humans.”

You can support pollinators by incorporating native plants with colorful blossoms in your landscaping. Flowering trees like redbuds and American plums are great too.

“Over the past year as many of us have found our only safe recreation to be outdoors we have a new appreciation for outdoor spaces, which are largely thanks to pollinators for pollinating plants so they can germinate and have generations of flowering plants and forests and prairies across our region,” Shank said.

No yard? No problem. Shank said residents who live in urban areas can offer bees native flowers in a planting box or pot or by starting a community garden.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

About FOX 2 News

FOX 2 and KPLR 11 in St. Louis cover the news in Missouri and Illinois. There are over 68 hours of live news and local programming on-air each week. Our website and live video streams operate 24/7. Download our apps for alerts and follow us on social media for updates in your feed.

President Harry Truman said: “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” That spirit is alive and well at Fox 2. Our teamwork is on display each and every day.

Our news slogan is: “Coverage You Can Count On.” We quite frankly are too busy to worry about who gets the credit. Our main concern is serving the viewer.

We go where the stories take us. Whether it be Washington, D.C when a Belleville man opened fire during a congressional baseball game practice or to Puerto Rico where local Ameren crews restored power after more than 5 months in the dark.

Coverage You Can Count On means “Waking up your Day” with our top-rated morning show. From 4:00 am-10:00 am we are leading the way with breaking news. But our early morning crew also knows how to have some fun! Our strong commitment to the communities we serve is highlighted with our Friday neighborhood shows.

Our investigative unit consists of three reporters. Elliott Davis focuses on government waste, Chris Hayes is our investigative reporter, and Mike Colombo is our consumer reporter. They work in unison with the news department by sharing resources and ideas.

We continue to cover breaking news aggressively and relied on our seasoned journalists to make a difference with the stories we covered. The shooting of Arnold Police Officer Ryan O’Connor is just one example of that. Jasmine Huda was the only reporter who had exclusive access to the O’Connor family during his amazing rehabilitation in Colorado.

Last, but certainly not least, FOX 2 and KPLR 11 are committed to covering local politics. We host debates among candidates and have the most extensive presidential election coverage. Our commitment to politics isn’t just during an election year. We produce two political shows that air every weekend.


Latest News

More News