Insect life is in decline, bio-diversity under threat – Gardeners can help. I tell you how.

Bumble bees are not the only pollinating insects- a wide range of winged insects help pollinate plants all year round and all are under threat . They are declining in numbers because natural habitats have been lost and hybrid garden flowers with showy colours and multiple petals do not yield nectar any more or make it difficult for insects to access what nectar there is .

There is a crisis in our nation’s eco-system, the loss of a number of native species of insects and a serious decline in the insect population because of changes in local environments. One of the key issues is the preference gardner’s have for showy hybrid flowers which look great but many no longer are a source of vital pollens and nectar. Without flowers bearing nectar a whole range of pollinating insects are on the decline and axctually facing extinction. a number or mammals and wild birds rely on insects for their food so the decline in insect populations has an adverse effect on the entire eco system.

We need to plant shrubs and flowers that attract and supply nectar to butterflies to help sustain the variety of native species whose numbers are in serious decline. There are so many gardens nationally, that amount to significant areas of land and gardeners can help reverse this decline through responsible planting.

Pollinating insects are actually vital to the economy – they are repeorted to contribute to the economy but helping in the cultivation of fruit  and food crops to the value of over £200 million annually. Most people know that bees produce honey and visit plants to collet nectar but also pick up pollens and are vital in the cross fertilisation of  plants by pollen transfer. There are many species of bees, a couple in the UK are already extinct due to changes in the natural envirnonment but actually a wide range of winged insects are responsible for polination.

Chose plants in your garden that are rich in nectar- check the ~Royal horticulturral Society , RHS definitive list of pollinator friendly flowers and shrubs

To reverse this disastrous trend in the natural food chain ( knock on effect for example on wild bird populations , also in decline,  who rely on insects for their survival ) gardeners can now make a choice of flowers that are pollinators and have nectar in rich supply and that is all year round and will support bio-diversity which is under threat.

Bee laden with accumualted lumps of pollen.

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS ) has now published a list of pollinator friendly / nectar rich flowers . They have also , in partnership with some suppliers , a new logo to help gardener’s choose flowers more responsibly so look out for the bee logo when out plant shopping. The list can be found here  RHS Pollinator friendly plant list

Single flowers such as daisies, single flower dahlias , poppies and fox glove have rich supplies of nectar.

The logo is new so for example, it was not in evidence when I made my first ethical plant purchase of the new year ,  ( at my local B and Q, crocuses and , in just a week, today they have , to my great joy , already flowered.  It is designed to help gardeners easily identify plants which are insect pollinator friendly )

New RHS logo to help gardeners make ethical, eco-friendly choices when selecting plants to protect bio-diversity.

 

My aim is to populate my garden with insect attracting  flowers this year and thereafter very probably from the local nursery which offers better value rather than the chain store. We already have made provision for our  back yard garden to be wild bird friendly. By the way , insects also need water so just a dish of it here and there will be a great help to them as is leaving a small area completely wild. I have a small patch at the back of a border where I have left a pile of rotting branches to help insect life.

Consider shopping on line for native wildflower seed mixes to have an extended flowering show in your garden to help insects thrive again.

 

Links – click to view

Buy butterfly friendly seeds

Buy Honey Bee friendly seed mix

Advice on how to create an insect haven in your garden

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