BiodiverseCity St. Louis

Welcome!
BiodiverseCity St. Louis is a growing network of organizations and individuals throughout the greater St. Louis region who share a stake in improving quality of life for all through actions that welcome nature into our urban, suburban and rural communities. Learn more about this effort, and join in.


Take Action Today…and Make It Count

Throughout St. Louis, every day, people are making big and small changes to their backyards, balconies, streetscapes, schoolyards, parking lots, and play areas. Some are doing this because they love nature and want to experience more of it in their daily lives. Others recognize that native plants in the right places help prevent flooding, clean and cool our air and improve human health and well-being. Still others embrace the positive impact that leafy streets, accessible parks, hiking/biking trails and other quality green spaces have on property values and the economic vibrancy of our region.

For all these reasons and more, the BiodiverseCitySTL Network invites each of the 2.9 million citizens of the greater St. Louis bi-state region to take action. In this spirit, we are excited to launch the Nature in Our Neighborhoods citizen action project. No matter who you are or where you live, all of us can do something to beautify, bio-diversify and better the communities in which we live, work, learn and play. To get started, check out our curated list of expert ideas and local resources from across our region, connect with others and share your stories.

 

Species Spotlight

Leaf cutter bee on blossom
A leafcutter bee covered with pollen.
Photo by Ian Boyd.

The Lure of Leaf Cutters
Incredibly important plant pollinators, leafcutter bees (Megachile spp.) are small, solitary, industrious, non-aggressive bees that play a starring role in our summer gardens and local landscapes.

Many are native to the U.S. and efficiently pollinate a wide variety of flowers, some specializing in asters, peas and late summer melons. The female carries pollen on the underside of her hairy abdomen, and then scrapes the pollen off within her nesting hole. Because the pollen is carried dry on her hair, it falls off easily as she moves among blossoms. (This results in significantly more pollinated flowers than her cousin, the honey bee, who wets the pollen so it sticks to the legs during transport to the hive.) In addition to their role in pollination, these insects serve as food for a host of species, ranging from parasitic wasps that feed exclusively on their larvae, to birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians.

Because of their gentle nature, leafcutter bees have been characterized as great “gateway bugs,” inviting people of all ages who may be fearful of bees and other buzzing insects to get a bit closer and calmly observe and appreciate them without fear of being stung.

Did you know?Megachile’ stems from a Latin word meaning large or great lips, a reference to the strong jaws with which the bees precision-prune your plants.

To do: The next time you spy this bee’s signature perfect half-moon shape chewed out of a leaf (they especially like foliage of ash, redbud, rose), celebrate it and point out what can’t be seen: That missing portion of leaf was not eaten, but repurposed as nest chamber sealant for the leafcutter’s eggs—a future generation of critically needed pollinators.

Featured Partner Programs

Milkweeds for Monarchs logo   Bring Conservation Home logo   Operation Clean Stream logo   Show Me Rain Gardens logo