Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Bee friendly

With my wildflower area in full bloom I have been monitoring the insects that have been visiting and feeding on the nectar. The aim of the wildflower area was to attract more wildlife into the garden by providing native insect friendly plants. One of the problems with modern gardens is the use of non native and hybrid plants. Many of the F1 hybrid bedding plants that we use actually produce no nectar to attract and feed insects, this combined with modern farming techniques of vast areas of monoculture has seriously damaged our insect population.

One of the most important groups are the Bumblebees which actually pollinate far more species of plants than the honeybee. Different species specialise in certain types of plants, the Bee in the photograph above has a long tongue in order to reach to the nectaries at the base of the long corolla of this Foxglove. The Garden Bumblebee below specalises in open flowers like the thistle.

Garden or Ruderal Bumblebee (I think?)

Small Tortiseshell

Bees are not the only pollinators of course, Butterflies, Moths,Flys, Hoverflies, and beetles as in the photo below all play their parts. In fact anything that visits flowerheads will transfer pollen between plants.

I would urge anyone who can to plant insect friendly plants in their gardens. Wildflower seeds are available through the RSPB or the Bumblebee conservation Trust as well as garden centres.