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Discover Nature: Native Bees

A black and gold bee hovers in front of a purple spiderwort flower with yellow anthers.
Missouri is home to more than 450 species of native bees. Provide them with food sources in early spring by planting native wildflowers, delaying mowing, minimizing mulching, and avoiding use of chemical herbicides and pesticides.

This week on Discover Nature, keep an ear-, and an eye out for native bees buzzing about the bushes, trees, flowerbeds, and even the ground beneath our feet.


Missouri is home to more than 450 species of native bees that play a critical role in pollinating agricultural crops and maintaining reproductive processes for native plants — in turn, supporting diverse wildlife species, soil health, and water quality. 

Fear not! Most of our native bee species don’t have stingers long enough to penetrate human skin. 

Some of the best ways we can help these perennial pollinators include: 

  • Minimize mowing and mulching;
  • Mow-high, and delay to later in the season;
  • Leave strips or patches of unmown, unmulched areas; 
  • Plant Missouri-native wildflowers; 
  • Always avoid use of herbicides and pesticides. 

Even clover, violets, and dandelions can provide our native bees critical food sources, especially in early spring before other flowers have bloomed. And since bee pollination is responsible for 1 in every 3 bites of food in America, feeding our bees helps us meet our own dietary needs. 
Learn more about Missouri’s native bees, and how you can help them with the Missouri Department of Conservation, GrowNative!,  and the Xerces Society

Discover Nature is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation. 

Kyle Felling was born in the rugged northwest Missouri hamlet of St. Joseph (where the Pony Express began and Jesse James ended). Inspired from a young age by the spirit of the early settlers who used St. Joseph as an embarkation point in their journey westward, Kyle developed the heart of an explorer and yearned to leave for adventures of his own. Perhaps as a result of attending John Glenn elementary school, young Kyle dreamed of becoming an astronaut, but was disheartened when someone told him that astronauts had to be good at math. He also considered being a tow truck driver, and like the heroes of his favorite childhood television shows (The A-Team and The Incredible Hulk) he saw himself traveling the country, helping people in trouble and getting into wacky adventures. He still harbors that dream.
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