Conserving pollinators

We rely on pollinators to pollinate the crops that keep us healthy, but around the world insect populations are declining.

The interacting factors of habitat loss, agricultural intensification, pests, disease and climate change contribute to these declines. Understanding the reasons for these pollinator losses and providing conservation guidance requires detailed information on the habitat requirements and foraging preferences of pollinating insects.

We use our DNA barcoding expertise and extensive horticultural resource to research the floral preferences of pollinators, including honeybees, bumblebees, solitary bees and hoverflies.

By using DNA barcoding to identify pollen from the bodies of pollinators, we are investigating; where our honeybees are foraging, which plants hoverflies are visiting, and more about the ecology of our wild bees. By finding out which plants are most important for pollinators then we can help to ensure that these plants are available in the pollinators’ environment.

The National Botanic Garden of Wales is a member of the Pollinator Taskforce created as part of the Welsh Government Action Plan for Pollinators.