May 11, 2012

Promotion Highlights the Importance of Bees to Food and Flowers

Department of Agriculture Launches The Great Missouri Buzz Off

The power of pollinators, specifically bees, was on display today at the Missouri Botanical Garden as Missouri's Director of Agriculture Dr. Jon Hagler launched The Great Missouri Buzz Off!, an educational and promotional initiative designed to provide Missourians with the tools and resources they need to add bees to their fruit, vegetable or flower gardens. Dr. Hagler was joined in the event highlighting bees importance to agriculture by representatives of the Missouri Botanical Garden and the Saint Louis Zoo, as well as many Missouri beekeepers.

"More than 400 different species of bees call Missouri home and most are very important to the food we grow across our state, including soybeans, cotton, melons, berries and pumpkins," said Director of Agriculture Dr. Jon Hagler. "Whether you have a farm, a backyard or rooftop garden or a beautiful blooming flower pot, bees can help your vegetables, fruits and flowers reach their fullest potential."

Many of the state's agricultural crops wouldn't exist without bees. They play a very important role in agriculture as pollinators of flowering plants. It is estimated that bees contribute more than $14 billion to the value of overall U.S. crop production.

The Missouri Department of Agriculture added its first colony of bees to the Growing Together Garden this week in Jefferson City to pollinate the fresh fruits and vegetables growing there and to serve as an example for others. The Missouri Botanical Garden and Saint Louis Louis Zoo are also home to colonies.

Today, Friday, May 11 is also National Public Gardens Day, and Andrew Wyatt, vice president of Horticulture & Living Collections with the Missouri Botanical Garden, John Timmons, vice president of the Missouri State Beekeepers Association, Ed Spevak, curator of invertebrates with the Saint Louis Zoo, Bob Sears with the Eastern Missouri Beekeepers Association spoke to bees importance to our lives, from supporting produce and honey operations locally to ensuring that the beautiful spaces in Missouri's public and private gardens remain available for all to enjoy.

To help more Missourians get growing with bees, AgriMissouri launched a new section on the website dedicated to The Great Buzz Off, including resources for those interested in learning more about types of bees, beekeeping and connecting beginners with the information and guidance they need to have a successful beekeeping venture.

To learn more about how you can get growing with bees, visit