We rely on a diverse range of pollinators of varying size and rarity. The main pollinators in the UK are shown below:
We need pollinators to help produce the fruit and vegetables that we eat. Often they are taken for granted but they are vital to a stable and healthy ecosystem, which we are a part of. Bees pollinate around 80% of wildflowers in Europe.
The decline of year-round forage for honeybees and other pollinators is putting ever-increasing pressure on them. Loss of habitat, exposure to pesticides and monoculture agricultural systems are stressors on the pollinators. Since the 1940s, we have lost 97% of the wildflower meadows in the UK, leaving our pollinators with little natural habitat. Where farms have replaced these wildflower patches there are no longer flowers all year round to supply pollen and nectar.
Ways to help pollinators
In your garden you can have a great positive impact on local pollinators. Leave a portion of your garden grass uncut and let the flowers grow. What you may consider to be weeds are important food sources in the eyes of butterflies and bees. You could even plant pollinator freidnly plants around the borders of your garden.
Making a bug hotel for insects (not just pollinators) will help encourage more into your garden. Perhaps leave a patch of bare earth somewhere flat and sunny which would be perfect for a solitary mining bee. Reducing pesticide usage will also remove stressors on any potential pollinators in your garden.
Being more observant when out in nature is another way to help pollinators. Try identify species of butterfly or bee when next outdoors, see how many species you can see in a minute!