It’s alarming to know that pollinators are at risk by a variety of factors, including increased farming intensity and climate change, as well as diseases and the changing use of land, like urbanization. Recent studies have indicated that urban zones may even be advantageous for certain pollinators since more pollinators have been observed in UK cities and towns in comparison to farmland that is nearby.
To discover which areas of cities and towns are more suitable for pollinators like bees, our research team conducted fieldwork in nine different kinds of terrain in four UK cities: Bristol, Reading, Leeds, and Edinburgh.
A simple win
Urban areas comprise a complicated collection of habitats and land uses. We conducted pollinator surveys in allotments (also called community gardens), churchyards, cemeteries, residential gardens, public parks, and other green areas (such as playing fields) and nature reserves. Roadsides, pavements, and artificial surfaces like industrial estates or car parks.
Ideal for pollinators. Shutterstock.
Our findings indicate that allotments are excellent areas for bees and other insects that pollinate. The establishment of more allotments will help pollinators in cities and towns. The allotments can be beneficial to our health and well-being as well as to boost the local production of food.
In the UK, the waiting list for allotments is long in a variety of locations, and urban planners and local authorities must recognize that establishing more allotment sites is a successful move that will benefit pollinators, people, and sustainable food production.
Here are some good tips for green thumbs
We also observed high levels of insects that pollinate gardens. Gardens for residential use comprised around a quarter and three-quarters of the overall area in all cities we examined, which means they’re a vital habitat for bees as well as other pollinators living in cities. This is why urban planners and developers must build new housing developments with gardens.
However, it’s not only the number of garden spaces that is important. It’s also the quality as well. There are a variety of things homeowners can do to ensure that their gardens are a healthy habitat for pollinators.
Instead of the traditional methods of paving, decking, and mowing lawns neatly, gardeners should be planting flowers, bushes as well and bushes suitable for pollinators. Select plants with plenty of nectar and pollen, which is available to pollinators. It would help if you aimed to maintain flowers all year round to ensure an ongoing supply of food. Our study suggests that lavender and borage are attractive to pollinators.
Many seeds and plants sold in garden centers are labeled with pollinator logos in order to assist gardeners in selecting suitable plants; however, a recently conducted study discovered the ornamental plants available may contain pesticides that are detrimental to pollinators, and gardeners must check with the retailers prior to purchasing.
The weeds are also important, and our research shows dandelions, buttercups, and brambles are vital flowers that attract pollinators. Therefore, you should create more space for pollinators by mowing less frequently so that flowers can develop and remove the weedy areas, as these areas are great nesting spots.
An urban refuge
Road verges, parks, and other natural areas constitute approximately a third of all cities, but our research discovered that they have smaller numbers of pollinators than gardens. Our findings show that increasing the number of flowers found in these areas, perhaps through mowing less frequently and, thereby, gaining a significant positive effect on pollinators (and reducing costs). There are many initiatives in the works to help the local government cut back on the amount of lawns.