Attracting invertebrates to your garden

Volucella zonaria Hoverfly ©Julie Lane. Johnson's Field, Olney. 25 July 2017

Volucella zonaria Hoverfly ©Julie Lane. Johnson’s Field, Olney. 25 July 2017

One of the keys to maintaining a garden that is attractive to a wide range of insects and other invertebrates is the provision of pollen and nectar across as much of the year as possible. Fortunately, plants do not all flower at the same time; this means that the annual sequence of flowering times can be used as the basis for selecting particular plants for your garden. Do not equate flower size with value, since a big showy flower does not necessarily offer more rewards to a visiting insect than one that is much smaller and less showy. The small flowers of Holly on show in late spring are extremely well used by insects. Blossom is important for insects and other invertebrates, providing both nectar and pollen. Nectar is a sugar-based solution which provides a ready source of the carbohydrates needed to fuel insect flight. Pollen, which is rich in protein, is thought to be important for the production of insect eggs.

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