[Excerpts from the marker]
Native bees are a large and diverse group of wild bees originating from North America. There are over 4,000 species of bees in the U.S. and Canada.
Missouri has over 400 species of bees, ranging in size from 1/8" to 1" long. Missouri bees and important pollinators of our wildflowers, trees, shrubs and crops.
The Birds, and the Bees, and the Bears
Native bees help maintain plant communities that provide food and shelter for other animals. Nearly 25 percent of birds, and many mammals from black bears to squirrels, feed on fruits and seeds that depend on pollinators to produce.
An Alien Among Us: The European Honey Bee
The European honey bee was introduced to the US in 1622. Settlers brought these bees from England to make honey. Native Americans associated the honey bee with the Europeans so closely, that they called them "white man's flies".
The Plight of the Bumble Bee
Bumble bees, major pollinators of native plants and at least 15 percent of our crops, are disappearing. One species may already be extinct. They are threatened by:
· habitat loss for development and agriculture
· pesticide and herbicide use
· diseases from commercially-raised bumble bees
Preserve, Protect and Provide for Native Bees
You can help native bees by following four simple rules:
1) Preserve bee habitats.
2) Protect bees from pesticides and other problems.
3) Provide bees with flowers for pollen and nectar and places for them to rest.
4) Promote native bee conservation by supporting the Saint Louis Zoo's conservation efforts. To learn more, visit www.stlzoo.org