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Get to know our precious pollinators
(not just the bees!) and how to help…
I love bees, but they do tend to get all the credit for pollinating our plants… (and according to The Wildlife Trusts, honey bees are likely responsible for pollinating between 5-15% of the UK's insect-pollinated crops).
You probably know that butterflies are pollinators too, but what about the moths, wasps, flies and beetles that get overlooked for the vital role they play in our ecosystem?
Today I’d like to encourage you to read up on the insect heroes of pollination and how important they are. Then I’d love for you to go outside and look for some. Find some flowers and look out for the beasties that land on them. Then watch them at work - it’s incredibly satisfying! Saying “Thank you for your service” to them is optional, but it’s something I like to do, despite the fact I know they’re not really doing it for us… If they could reply they’d probably tut: “Typical, self-centred human, thinks I’m feeding for their benefit”. That being said, we do NEED pollinators, so get to know them, and click on some of the links below to figure out how you can help them (in turn helping us humans)…
Actions and Further Reading
Have some outdoor space (whether that’s a windowsill, a balcony, a garden or an allotment)? Planting for pollinators is one of the best ways you can do your bit for our ecosystem! Make sure you are offering a range of plants that flower throughout the year (including lots of native species). This Wildlife Trusts guide lists some of the best things to plant for pollinators. My next task is to get hold of some night time scented plants for moths, which are incredibly prolific pollinators!
Cumbria Wildlife Trust has a great free PDF all about pollinators which I’ll be reading myself this weekend.
This video by Kew introduces us to some common UK pollinators and some plants that might attract them.
Autumn is a great time to make a bug hotel, which are especially useful for solitary bees. This guide from Woodland Trust guide shows you how to make one - from just a pile of sticks and leaves to something that puts the Grand Budapest Hotel to shame.
P.S. I did try and photograph some hoverflies for this article and completely failed! If you do spot any pollinators this weekend, once you have taken some time to watch them, I challenge you to try and take a good photo of them… it’s not easy!
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