Planting Wildflowers Helps Bees And Other Pollinators

Planting wildflowers, to replenish much of the meadow and wildflower habitat that has been lost over the years, is a very positive step we can take to assist bees and other pollinators.

Wildflower habitat loss has occurred in many countries, usually due to building development and modern farming practices. As an example, in the UK, it is estimated that approximately 97% of lowland meadow has been destroyed in the last 75 years (according to The Grasslands Trust). That's an astonishing figure, and we need to do all we can to reverse this decline. 

A short while ago, I included a page about how you can get free wildflower seeds. (Unfortunately, this information was limited to the UK and USA only). Certainly, we have no time to lose, and together we can make a difference, so please include wildflowers in your garden if possible (there are further links about planting wildflowers below), as well as other bee plants.

Also, take a look at my page about wildflowers for bees, for different ideas and ways to include them in your garden.

However, we need to see change at government and council/local authority level too, in order to link up habitats between regions. The public are influential, so why not copy and paste the letter below, and email it to your local council and/or politician?  You could even ask your friends to do the same.

Of course, make any adaptations you feel would be beneficial or appropriate.  This letter was originally written for UK visiotrs, in view of particu

Dear Politician/Council Representative

Pollinator Friendly Planting:  Wildflowers Help Bees And Other Pollinators

The plight of our bees and other pollinators, especially wild species, has been well-publicised. Whilst funding has been set aside for research into the declines, certainly it is well accepted that the loss of wildflowers from the landscape is a significant contributor.

Whilst a small handful of councils nationally have taken significant local action to address the need to create further pollinator friendly habitats (elsewhere, many of the efforts in this area coming from conservation organisations rather than councils), I write to ask you to encourage the government/council to take further formal steps to help our pollinators, some of these being cost-effective and relatively simple to implement.

Linking up floral habitats with native wildflower species across the country, and across counties is vital. Fragmented habitats can cause in-breeding among pollinators and thus accelerate extinctions.

A number of ideas are listed below:

1. Require local councils to create additional pollinator friendly habitats:
- There are many green spaces requiring regular maintenance and mowing. Some of these may be positioned next to public buildings (especially in smaller towns and villages), and could be converted to wildflower spaces. Once created, wildflower areas are generally low maintenance, typically requiring mowing only twice per year.
- During these difficult economic times, the annual re-creation of formal (and outdated) public planting schemes, seems wasteful, and plants used are rarely beneficial to pollinators. These could easily be replaced with attractive perennials of greater benefit to wildlife, requiring much lower maintenance and replacement cost, and without detracting from the visual appearance of any planting scheme.
- Councils need to be challenged on the cost, health and safety, plus environmentally questionable practice of spraying pesticides around public spaces.

2. Pollinator corridors can be created along highways and roadsides where possible, and indeed, is happening in some areas. This scheme needs to be extended and linked up as far as possible, with more wildflower corridors along secondary roads, waterside banks, alongside railways etc. Where appropriate, this could be supplemented with the planting of suitable shrubs, hedgerows and trees.

3. Mowing of roadside verges can be absolutely necessary for safety measures. But the goverment/council should ensure that health and safety laws are not so onerous that councils are restricted unnecessarily in the creation of nectar corridors along roads, and councils should only mow as required, and should ensure contractors do not mow excessively.

4. Farmers need further encouragement to create wildflower habitats, such as the creation of nectar strips, and correct cutting.

Creating more wildflower habitats for pollinators is a relatively simple and cost effective way to help reverse the decline of pollinators.

As stated, I urge you to ask the government/council to take more positive, formal steps to ensure more wildflower habitats are created in order to assist pollinators and create greater biodiversity as a whole.

Yours sincerely


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Excerpt from 'A Sting In The Tale' by Professor Dave Goulson (also author of Bumblebee Behaviour And Ecology):

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