Simple Ideas to help Pollinators
10 simple things you can do to help pollinators in your garden
1. Plant Pollinator-friendly Plants
If you plant pollinator-friendly plants you can get your garden buzzing all year round and know that you're helping to feed lots of pollinating insects! Gardening is a national pastime here in the UK - an estimated 23 million households (87% of homes) have access to a garden and there are over 330,000 allotments in the UK. This means that there are many places where we can find some space to plant pollinator-friendly plants and so make a huge contribution to pollinator conservation.
If you already have an established garden, consider what plants you have and see if you can complement that to ensure there are flowers to provide nectar and pollen from early spring through to late autumn. No flowers early or late in the year means bees starve, so try to grow a range of plants that can provide flowers at different times throughout the year. Key times of the year that are often missed are early in spring when queen bees are emerging from hibernation and need rich sources of nectar and pollen to establish their nests. Late summer/autumn is also an important time to ensure there are lots of flowers around so that new queens can get enough food to hibernate successfully.
Another important thing to think about is providing a real range of different pollen and nectar rich flowers. This is because not all pollinating insects have the same length of tongue! Those with long tongues, including some bumblebees, moths and butterflies like to feed from flowers that are long and deep. For example, garden bumblebees have the longest tongue of any bee in the UK and typically forage at plants with deep flowers such as foxglove, dead-nettles and honeysuckle. Other pollinator species have short tongues and need to feed on nectar from small, open flowers. The early bumblebee has a very short tongue and most often feeds on small flowers like those of cotoneaster, or the open flowers of geraniums.
Further advice on pollinator friendly plants:
BeeWatch Planting for Pollinators tool www.abdn.ac.uk/beewatchButterfly Conservation - Gardening for Butterflies https://butterfly-conservation.org/how-you-can-help/get-involved/gardening/gardening-for-butterflies