Even simple changes you do in your garden can welcome more pollinators, according to a study published in the scientific journal Frontiers in Sustainable Cities. A team from Lund University, Sweden, analysed the impact of the national project “Operation: save the bees” and the results show that small changes in private gardens can really make a big difference overall.
We all know how pollinating insects are crucial for environment and food supplies. Despite this, many pollinating species are endangered or in decline. To stop this loss, the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation launched a campaign in 2018 to encourage the public to create more favourable environments in their private gardens. Suggestions included creating a meadow, planting a variety of different flowers or setting up a bee hotel.
Over 10,000 people reacted to the project and now — 5 years later — a team of researchers from Lund University decided to evaluate the impact of the project. “We wanted to investigate measures that the public themselves chose to implement in their garden, and how these can be the most efficient”, said Anna Persson, researcher at Lund University and one of the people behind the study.
The results clearly show that the most effective change was to create a meadow with a large number of flowers and covering a large area. Bee hotels also worked if they were placed in gardens with different flowers and with nest holes a maximum of one centimeter in diameter. The team believes this will help give better directions in future projects. “For example, we can show that it will pay off to create large and species-rich meadows and flower plantings, and that it is important not to give up after a few years, because the measures improve over time. This should be emphasized in future campaigns”, said Persson.
Hopefully, these results will inspire more people to change their own garden to create areas to welcome insects. Gardens cover about 30% of land area in cities and towns, so garden owners can contribute significantly to improve biodiversity. “However, the right measures must be taken. Our results can be used when giving advice on what actually makes a difference”, concluded Persson.
Persson A, Hederström V, Ljungkvist I, Nilsson L and Kendall L (2023) Citizen science initiatives increase pollinator activity in private gardens and green spaces. Front. Sustain. Cities, 4, https://doi.org/10.3389/frsc.2022.1099100