Pollinators transfer pollen grains from one flower to another, this allows the production of seeds which can then be dispersed into the surrounding habitat, usually by animals or wind. They’re really important for both humans and biodiversity. 35% of agricultural crops and 60-70% of flowering plants rely on pollinators for reproduction! In the UK, our main pollinators are insects, our more obscure pollinating insects include the wool carder bee, hoverfly and large yellow underwing moths. In the Tropics, however, pollination isn’t limited to insects. There you can find hummingbirds, bats and even lemurs pollinating tropical flora.
The abundance of pollinators is unfortunately on the decline. A review in 2013 by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations has highlighted the worldwide decline in pollinators as a serious threat to food security. Several factors have been identified as causative to this decline, including: increased intensive farming, pesticide use and habitat loss.
Research has shown that amidst the continued loss of pollinators, urban dwellings across the world host an abundance of native bee populations, highlighting their importance for pollinator biodiversity conservation. An investigation into wildlife gardening showed that honey bees in urban Birmingham produced more honey than those in the surrounding countryside!! Additionally, a study managed to sample 35% of all British Hoverfly species within a single garden in Leicester.
One way you can help pollinators is by planting flower in your garden or in a window box. Cornflowers, foxgloves, clover and hellebore.
With thanks to Josh Pysanczyn for help with research.