Pollinating insects

Pollinating insects

Hoverfly by Chris Gomersall

The little things that run the world are often overlooked - the bees, wasps, flies, butterflies, moths and beetles. All these pollinating insects are facing major population declines.  

There are over 280 species of hoverfly in the UK, all of which are pollinators as adults. 

Generalist butterflies in the UK declined by 46% between 1976 and 2017 and habitat specialist species by 77%. 

landmark paper from Germany in 2017 detailing a 75% decline in flying insects over the preceding 25 years was a turning point in the public awareness of the threat that the decline of our insect fauna poses to society. Aside from the loss of biodiversity, we rely on invertebrates providing a range of ecosystem services to survive; approximately three-quarters of the crops grown by humans require pollination by insects. Bees, hoverflies, wasps, moths and others all provide pollination services. Insects are also essential for other ecosystem services that we need to live, including nutrient recycling in the soil, decomposition and pest control. Insects also provide food for many other species such as fish, hedgehogs, swifts, swallows - the list is enormous. 

The reasons for the decline in insect numbers are a combination of factors including pesticide use and losses of wildflower-rich habitat, habitat diversity and freshwater resources in the wider countryside.  

By creating interconnected and structurally complex habitats with a range of pollen and nectar sources throughout the year, and through encouraging wildlife-friendly farming and gardening practices, Suffolk Wildlife Trust will work to reverse this decline in Suffolk.