About Us

A pawpaw blossom in our orchard being lovingly pollinated by hand

Our Story

The idea of BeeFoster was born in the pawpaw grove of RockSpan Farm. Pawpaws are a native, tropical-tasting fruit with specific pollination needs. With no pollinators around to help the trees bear fruit, we found ourselves painstakingly pollinating each bloom by hand. We asked ourselves, shouldn't bees be doing this? Where were they?

Realizing that our situation is far from unique, we decided to do our part to help support pollinators worldwide. We read that mason bee hotels were rising in popularity despite the fact that most of them were poorly-designed and deadly. The world needed a better solution.

Why not leave it up to a scrappy father-daughter team from the Ozarks to find it?

We came up with the Beestra: a new kind of bee hotel that allows anyone to take charge of their own pollinator situation.

We still have to pollinate the pawpaws by hand, by the way. Turns out they need flies, not bees, and there's not much of a market for fly hotels. Go figure.

Learn More About the Beestra
Mysterious Building 137 behind a lush vegetable garden

Rockspan Farm

We’re a family tree farm on a hilltop in the Ozark Mountains, right outside Springfield, Missouri. We manage native trees, orchards, gardens and native plant beds. Pollinators are critical to our success and we developed BeeFoster for our own use. It turns out everyone has the same problem: the pollinators are dying and that’s a catastrophe in the making. On our Rockspan Farm website, you’ll see how we’re working to restore degraded soils and restore riparian corridors that run alongside our section of the spring-fed Sac River. We’re putting in large pollinator plots, restoring old farm ponds, establishing silviculture stands and using bio-char to restore soils without over-fertilizing. We’re planting large stands of native bald cypress which have lifespans of up to 1800 years. So, we’re in this for the long haul and we hope you are too.

To the right is Mysterious Building 137, home of BeeFoster Operations on RockSpan Farm

  • Ames Chiles with her loyal dog Bingo

    Ames Chiles

    With a background in biology research and a deep love of nature, Ames was eager to lend her scientific perspective to the fight to save pollinators. Since founding BeeFoster with her father Dan, she has earned a patent and a spot in the Missouri Association of Manufacturers.

  • Dan Chiles holding a large stalk of grass on RockSpan Farm

    Dan Chiles

    Dan has worn many hats in his life: inventor, outdoorsman, environmental activist, steward of the land, political muckraker, philosopher, writer of inflammatory editorials. Now that he's retired he's busier than ever. Check out some of his projects at the RockSpan Farm website.

  • Bee enthusiast dog Bingo looking happy with his paw on his favorite squeaky ball

    Bingo Chiles

    Resident farm dog Bingo is our Chief Motivational Officer and he takes his job very seriously. When he's not bringing joy to all at BeeFoster, he enjoys chasing squirrels, stealing cat food, and being extremely handsome. He even has his own Instagram account so fans can follow his antics.

Ames and Dan standing by a newly installed bee hotel, hoping to find mason bees and leaf cutter bees in the coming months
Dan and Bingo surveying the wilderness and looking for places to plant wildflowers
Ames showing off the new Beestra design in her factory, hoping to reach gardeners and bee-lovers everywhere

Bingo inspects a stack of Beestras
Installing a Beestra near an apple orchard
The BeeFoster crew at work building bee hotels