Tuesday, 8 July 2014

"Pollinators, Pollinators, Pollinators" - its all the rage you know!

Competition for flowers, in this case by Hoverflies, is growing

Pollinators, pollinators, pollinators – that is probably the top message coming out of DEFRA at the moment!
I expect that most people immediately think of Honey bees when pollination is talked about, and if pushed, might add Bumble bees to the list as well. But in fact there is an enormous number of species that are important in the pollination process including Hoverflies, Flies, Butterflies, Moths, Wasps, Beetles, Midges, Thrips, Bugs and even some Mammals can play a part.

Yesterday (with my campaign for the farmed environment (CFE) hat on) I joined the Hampshire Wildlife Trust (HWT) in north Hampshire, to run an event on what farmers and land managers can do to help all these pollinators, as there is plenty of evidence that many of them are not faring well in our countryside at the moment.

Government is presently working on a “Pollinator strategy” to try to encourage more flowers, especially those rich in pollen and nectar, to be planted across the landscape. The new Stewardship scheme, when details are announced either towards the backend of this year or maybe early next year, will undoubtedly concentrate on this as one of its main themes.

The event went well, starting off with Alison Cross (HWT) emptying out a moth trap which she had set the night before, enthralling people with moths such as the Drinker and Poplar Hawkmoth. Then the group walked across College Copse farm, which is owned and managed by the HWT, to look at and discuss ways to improve farmland for these pollinators.

I think the attendees went away with a much better understanding of what can be done to encourage these important species, remembering also just how vital they are in providing a crucial role in the pollination of many of the crops we grow. In parts of China and Japan, they now employ people to walk around pollinating crops as they have lost the natural wildlife to do it for them – how crazy is that! Pollinators contribute over £400 million per annum to the UK economy and €14.2 billion per annum to the EU economy – best that we do not forget that.

Alison Cross talking "Moths"!

Practical discussions - key to learning! 

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