Planting certain flowers can save insects
It is no secret the world's bee population is declining
As if this was not bad enough, Discovery News reports that the drop in the global bee population is harming certain ecosystems. While people may not be able to save a struggling ecosystem on the other side of the world, they can make a positive difference in the lives of bees and other insects by embracing flowers.
In a recent study, researchers from the Laboratory of Apiculture and Social Insects at the University of Sussex found just how helpful certain flowers can be to insects on the decline. When not enough flowers are present, bees, butterflies and other insects lose a precious source of food, which is one reason why so many of them are disappearing.
"Helping bees in your garden is a no-brainer," said Professor Francis Ratnieks, who conducted the study. "Flowers that attract bees are just as easy to grow and just as pretty, and cost no more. Plant the right flowers and the bees will come."
Ratnieks and PhD student Mihail Gaburzov set out to figure out which flowers should be considered pollinator-friendly choices for people's gardens. To do this, they spent two summers repeatedly counting insects as they visited different flowers in an experimental garden.
What the researchers found is that flowers that may be visually pleasing to humans may not be as attractive to insects. As a result, those who want to attract hungry bees should think before they buy. Flowers that could make a difference include borage, lavender, marjoram and open-flowered dahlias.
Unfortunately for fans of the pelargonium, this flower is least likely to appeal to insects. If gardeners have this plant in their gardens, they may want to add a few pollinator-friendly options as well.