They may be tiny, but bees, wasps, beetles, butterflies and moths, and a myriad of other invertebrates, are vital to us all. Because they pollinate crops, help plants propagate, and are themselves a food resource for bigger animals such as birds and mammals, they’re essential to both food security and biodiversity. Lose the insects, and things get very tricky indeed.
It’s a frightening fact that two-thirds of the pollinator species have seen a decline since the 1970s, mostly due to loss of habitat. But the good news is that you can help them get their buzz back! Gardens have the potential to be excellent habitats for pollinators: even the smallest or most simple of gardens has some sort of invertebrate life, barely discernible to the human eye. Follow our easy low-cost (and low-effort!) tips to encourage even more species to take up residence.
Eight tips for attracting pollinators to your garden
1. Go for gold with a variety of blooms
When you think of a pollinator-friendly garden, no doubt an image of flowers buzzing with bees springs to mind. The flowers you choose are vital in providing food for the likes of bees, beetles and butterflies. While they don’t have to be native, take care not to introduce any invasive plants. And most importantly, go for a wide variety from different families, which will in turn attract different insects.
Members of the daisy family (Asteraceae), the carrot family(Apiaceae), the teasel family (Dipsacaceae) and the rose family(Rosaceae) are all very attractive to bees and hoverflies but also contain lots of different shapes, seedheads and colours to keep things interesting in your garden.
Plants in the mint family (Lamiaceae) are also beloved of bees.
Fill in the gaps with annuals and biennials – try scattering wildflower seeds such as poppies and cornflowers around your flowerbeds for a burst of colour in early summer.