MDC urges people to "bee-friendly"
COLUMBIA - The Missouri Department of Conservation wants people to help bees out by planting more native flowers.
According to a press release, the department said pollination work done by bees isn't always visible, but it's very necessary.
"Native bees are doing their agricultural duty by pollinating flowering plants that provide food, fiber, and even medicines," the department said in the release.
Bee pollination is a contributor to the national food industry, worth about $30 billion. It is necessary to maintain healthy and safe habitats for native bees, according to the MDC press release.
Local beekeepers see first-hand the actions and changes in bee populations through the years. John Williams is a local beekeeper and has 17 hives near his property. He monitors his bees year round, including a hive he keeps for Boone Regional beekeepers.
"We do urge people to plant native, single pedal flowers, native shrubs and trees, aster and witch-hazel," Williams said, naming some of the kinds of plants pollinators want rather than exotic plants.
Williams said dangers to beehives including pesticides, varroa mites and colony collapse disorder, many of which he has experienced first-hand.
"There's quite a few things out there that's making the decline of honey bees and native pollinators on the downfall," Williams said.
"There is no statewide monitoring of most invertebrate populations, there is only anecdotal information that would suggest invertebrates are having a hard time," John George, Wildlife Supervisor in the mid Missouri region for the conservation department, said. "You would think the world is so full of bugs that it wouldn't be an issue."
George said Missouri is home to over 400 species of bees.
"A lot of these bees only pollinate a few species of flowers and a lot of these species of flowers would not exist if not the specific species of bees," George said.
The MDC press release also suggests getting involved in a community garden or helping plant in nearby parks.
George said community involvement will help guarantee the bees stay here for the future.