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Learning about UK Pollinators

Site: OpenLearn Create
Course: Pollination and Insect Pollinators
Book: Learning about UK Pollinators
Printed by: Guest user
Date: Sunday, 26 Mar 2023, 20:10

1. Why Pollinators are Important


Simply put, pollination is moving pollen from the male part of the flower (the Stamen) to the female part (the Pistil). When pollen is moved to the pistil of the same flower or another flower in the same plant, the process is called self-pollination. Only a few plants can self-pollinate without help from wind or insect pollinators, notably soyabean.  

Anjubaba / CC BY-SA


A pollinator is an animal that moves pollen from the male anther of a flower to the female stigma of a flower.  This helps to bring about fertilization of the ovules in the flower by the pollen grains.

See the video to learn more:

Bees' Needs - National Pollinator Strategy Film from Close-Up Research & Film on Vimeo.

2. Pollination in the UK

Pollinators are animals that move pollen from one flower to another and in doing so enable plants to make seeds and reproduce. Pollinators come in many forms across the world (including birds, bats and lizards), but in the UK the majority of pollination is done via wind or by the 1500 species of pollinating insects. These insects include bees, butterflies, flies and beetles.

Around 80% of British plants are pollinated by insects. This process produces the wide variety of plants we see, feeds our wildlife and provides much of the food that we eat. Pollinators are important for our economy; the loss of pollinators could cost the UK around £690 million a year in lost crops alone.

Pollinators contribute £690 million worth of crops to our economy every year

Here are just some of the crops pollinated by bumblebees - raspberries, strawberries, apples, tomatoes, peas and beans:

fruits and vegetables that are pollinated by insects

3. The main pollinating species in the UK

The main pollinators in the UK are bees (solitary bees, bumblebees and the honey bees), butterflies and moths. Other pollinators include flower visiting flies (including hoverflies) and beetles.

Main groups of UK pollinators and how to distinguish them