Bringing pollinators into towns. 6 landscape designs that attract insects

05 Sep 2017

Bees, butterflies, flies and Coleoptera are essential for both ecological and air cleaning reasons. But it’s no secret that over the last few years their numbers have dwindled. Here we list the landscape designs which precisely attract pollinating insects… and which are sure to find a small space in your green spaces!

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Why is it important to attract pollinators into towns?

Perhaps you think there are already enough bees around? But just in France there are around 1,000 species of wild bees (1). These species as well as Coleoptera, flies and butterflies are essential factors in ensuring our ecosystem functions correctly. Without them, the food balance would be upset and we would not have tomatoes, sunflower seed oil or apples.
Indeed, most plant species need these insects to reproduce themselves. To be more precise, 80% of all the crops in the world depend on pollination (2). But global warming, urbanization and (excessive) use of pesticides are all reasons why pollinating insects have fled.

Focus on landscape designs for pollinating insects

Of course, putting an end to the use of insecticides and pesticides in towns is a good first solution to attenuating the disappearance of pollinators. Check out our article on chemical-free maintenance! But to attract them, other means and landscape designs dedicated to insects exist.
Here is a list of some possible designs:

  • Pollinating insects collect nectar, pollen or honeydew from nectar-rich plants. There are between 450 and 500 species in France… in other words, the only thing you have to do is choose! This choice enables you to vary the plants in green spaces. Did you know? The French Ministry for Agriculture recently published a list of the 200 most “attractive” plants!
  • Install hives, not only to collect honey, but to attract at least a small proportion of these 1,000 wild bee species. The urban area of Montpellier has installed hives on the roofs of its airport.
  • Hives for bees and homes for insects! Ideal homes where auxiliary insects can nest and lay can be made from a wide range of materials.
  • The Tête d’Or park in Lyon has opted for stone spirals which support nectar-rich plants. Dry stone warms the ground and dries it out so nectar-rich plants can be planted there to attract pollinators and house the nests of several species like bumblebees.
  • The Asian Hornet is undoubtedly the worst enemy of bees (after neonicotinoids). Ten are enough to destroy a hive! To limit this devastation, why not install hornet traps from March to May, to kill the fertilized queens when they exit from hibernation.
  • Last but not least, you can install bird nesting boxes: a simple but rather effective technique for frightening off the predators that prey on pollinators.

Discover other easy ways to support the presence of birds in urban areas

Now you know what needs to be done to attract pollinators:
1. build new habitats,
2. feed them
and 3. eliminate their predators!

 

(1) Observatoire Agricole de la Biodiversité, Mini-guide d’accompagnement
au protocole « Abeilles solitaires »
(2) INRA, Abeilles, reines de la survie

Photo credits: Tookapic/Pawel Kadysz

 

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