Why are pollinators and insects important?
Flying insects such as bees and hover-flies which visit flowers for their nectar and pollen perform a vitally important pollination service.
Pollination is where the pollen from one flower is transferred to another flower, bringing about fertilisation. Some flowering plants are pollinated by the wind but the majorities rely on insects. So without our precious pollinators, plants would fail to produce seed and, in some cases, fruit.
Our wild bees and other pollinators are considered to be in decline. By planting nectar and pollen rich flowers over a long season, gardeners can help reduce this trend. In return, an abundance of pollinators will ensure garden plants continue to reproduce through seed and that many fruit and vegetable crops such as apples, strawberries and tomatoes successfully produce healthy fruit.
The National Pollinator Strategy
The National Pollinator Strategy (England), launched in Nov 2014, encourages gardeners to choose plants that provide resources for pollinators. We support this strategy and as such introduced Bee Friends™ to the market this year, a complete wildlife friendly garden range which includes recommended flower varieties that attract and help sustain pollinators and other beneficial insects in the UK.
How to attract and support pollinating insects
- Aim to have plants that are attractive to pollinating insects that are in flower from early spring to late autumn. Winter flowering plants can also be of benefit.
- Grow flowers that attract pollinating insects.
- Avoid plants with double or multi-petalled flowers. Such flowers may lack nectar and pollen, or insects may have difficulty in gaining access.
- Never use pesticides on plants when they are in flower.
- Where appropriate, British wildflowers can be an attractive addition to planting schemes and may help support a wider range of pollinating insects.
- You can encourage bees by keeping honeybees yourself or allowing a beekeeper to place hives in your garden.
- Nest boxes containing cardboard tubes or hollow plant stems, or holes drilled in blocks of wood will provide nest sites for some species of solitary bees.
What about other insects?
It is very important to attract all types of insect into your garden. Even if you don't think they will benefit your borders or beds, they will benefit visiting animals. Aphids can be a real pest in gardens but are a staple part of a ladybirds diet, and night flying insects such as midges may put a dampener on your summer BBQ but a bat will feast off these little pests well into the autumn months.
Here are our recommended products for attracting pollinators and insects into your garden all year round.
This seasons products for attracting bees are.....