Insect pollinators are vitally important to the health and function of ecosystems - wild, agricultural and managed alike - helping plants produce seeds and fruits for their own next generation, and that many other species rely on. Bees are famous pollinators, but many other insects also play an important role, with wasps, flies (especially hoverflies), beetles, butterflies, moths all providing pollination, alongside less well-known insects like thrips and earwigs!
Unfortunately, insects are in global decline, and their natural habitats are becoming increasing scarce due to agricultural land use or urban development. Gardens and allotments are thus increasingly valuable as islands of foraging and nesting resources for bees and other insects. Thankfully, wildlife gardening is seeing an increase in popularity, as people realise how important their own green space could be for the fascinating wildlife that shares it with us.
The Buzz Club projects aim to look at wildlife gardening actions scientifically, work out what works and how best to do it. Of course, there are known ways that you can support pollinators (and other wildlife) in your gardens, and there's no problem starting up some of these while you do our projects (in fact, we encourage it!).
Quick Pollinator Facts
There are estimated to be over 20,000 species of bee in the world, with many still to be classified. There are ~ 250 currently in the UK 🐝
Bees can be solitary or social - meaning they either nest alone, or in large colonies with a Queen and workers. They all pollinate, though!
Lots of other insects also pollinate, including flies, butterflies 🦋, moths, wasps, beetles 🐞 and even midges 🦟!
There are around 1500 animal species that help contribute to pollination of flowers in the UK alone 🌼
Animals help pollinate 87% of flowering plants globally, and 35% of food crops 🌍 🌱 🍅.
A great way of supporting insects is to plant flowers -
but not all flowers are equally good at providing what pollinators need. Check out our gallery of pollinator-friendly plants for inspiration!
Insects need snug homes too, and different species like different sorts of places.
A Peacock Butterfly (Aglais io). One of the UK's most spectactular native pollinators. (Photo: Andy Rogers, 2009; Flickr; CC BY-SA 2.0)