The Plants for Bugs team are happy to announce the publication of their paper; Enhancing gardens as habitats for flower-visiting aerial insects (pollinators): should we plant native or exotic species? Journal of Applied Ecology.*
So what are the key messages gardeners should take from this first paper on pollinating insects? We've narrowed it down to three:
1. The best strategy for gardeners wanting to support pollinating insects in gardens is to plant a mix of flowering plants from different countries and regions.
2. Emphasis should be given to plants native to the UK and the northern hemisphere, though exotic plants from the southern hemisphere can be used to extend the season (there are a greater proportion of exotic plants flowering later in the season compared to UK native and northern hemisphere plants) and provide nectar and pollen for some specific pollinators.
3. Regardless of plant origin (native or non-native), the more flowers a garden can offer throughout the year, the greater the number of bees, hoverflies and other pollinating insects it will attract and support.
Read more on our Plants for Bugs webpage.
After a two year set up, a four year sampling phase and an 18 month analysis, write up and submission period, the announcement of the publication of the first paper is a big deal to all those involved with the project. A huge thanks to everyone who has been involved, including the Wildlife Gardening Forum whose inspiration and support got the idea off the ground, and to the dedicated volunteers who have put in hours of plot care and help with sampling over the years.
*Salisbury, A., Armitage, J., Bostock, H., Perry, J., Tatchell, M., Thompson, K. (2015). Enhancing gardens as habitats for flower-visiting aerial insects (pollinators): should we plant native or exotic species? Journal of Applied Ecology JPE 12499.