13 March, 2019 — Your gardening year

Pollinating insects

Attracting pollinating insects such as bees and butterflies to the garden is not only an attractive addition to the garden environment but they also perform some very important roles.

Bees predominantly visit flowers to collect nectar and pollen to provide for their young. Whilst moving from flower to flower the bees will pollinate garden and wild flowers as well as fruit and vegetable flowers.

Butterflies are a real joy to see in the garden and give added interest in seeing which species your garden attracts. A few species have caterpillars that are garden pests but predominantly do not cause any damage and like bees they feed on the nectar that the flowers provide.

Butterflies seem to get a bulk of the credit as pollinators, but moths do their share of carting pollen between flowers, too. Most moths are nocturnal. These night-flying pollinators tend to visit white, fragrant flowers, like jasmine.

Interestingly beetles were among the earliest prehistoric pollinators. They began visiting flowering plants about 150 million years ago, a good 50 million years earlier than bees. Beetles continue to pollinate flowers today.