We all know that it is important to take care of the wildlife in our gardens such as birds and mammals. But the smaller pollinators important to our ecosystems need a helping hand too, like butterflies, bees, insects. They reply on wild areas of grass and flower meadows to feed from and areas of gardens to make their homes. There are many ways that we can help them all without even trying to and these are just a few.
Feeding our pollinators
Our gardens, no matter the size can provide bees, butterflies, beetles and other insects with food and resources they need. Having a variety of flowering plants and trees will attract a range of different species, giving them a variety of rich pollen. Trees and shrubs such as apple, willow, fruit, buddleia, and honeysuckle which are rich in scent to us are ideal for providing pollen. Everybody can grow windowsill containers or pots of herbs such as thyme, lavender and wildflowers that will grow flowers.
In our gardens, leaving a small area where grass and weeds like dandelions can grow is a small way to provide important habitat for insects. You can find packets of wildflower seeds to suit your location and will fill the area with variety and colour. The smaller insects provide important food for our birds and bats, so it is not just the pollinators who would benefit from wild areas.
Shrubs and plants provide year-round shelter and are important for moth and butterflies whilst they pupate. Butterflies such as the Comma, Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock hibernate during the winter months as adults, so this shelter is very important to ensure they survive.
Solitary bees rely on shelter to breed in hollow stems where they can lay eggs and protect from predators. We can also help them to shelter using ‘bee hotels’ easy to find in the gardening section of shops but are easy to make and fun for children to help with.
Here is how you can make one:
- Find hollow stems from plants such as old cow parsley or bamboo canes
- Use a pot of your choice and using gloves to avoid splinters, cut the stems to the length of the pot and fill
- Any gaps between stems can be stuffed with mosses, lichen, leaves to make sure everything is secure
- Place your bee hotel in a south facing area with plenty of sunshine at least 2 metres from the ground
- Watch out for bees to start using it
Have a go at making your own shelter for your pollinators and plant wildflower seeds to keep them fed. Share your creations with Speyside Wildlife on our social media.