Wildflower diversity linked to the health of bees and other pollinating insects
Three years ago, scientists in the UK and The Netherlands reported in the journal Science that the diversity of bees and other insects was falling alongside a long-term decline in the diversity of plant species.
Further evidence of the importance of wild flower biodiversity to bee health has recently emerged from research by French scientists. Their findings suggest that a varied diet of pollen from a wide range of species can produce healthier immune systems in honeybees than those fed on pollen from a single crop type.
This evidence is further proof of the importance of biodiversity to all life: wildflowers for bees which then pollinate the crops upon which we depend for food.
There are practical measures we can suggest that can help reduce this decline:
• Sow a wild flower mixture to increase flowering plant diversity
• Choose a mixture which is optimised to site and soil conditions
As part of this strategy we have this year added mixture options specifically designed to boost the pollen and nectar potential of a scheme for pollinating insects. Mix EN1 for example is designed for sowing smaller areas dedicated to pollinating insects.
This approach works best as part of an overall seeding scheme which also includes creating meadows, tussocky grassland and other habitats.
Posted on 14 February 2010,