Following Plantlife’s guidelines, three different square metres were chosen randomly on the grassy area bordered by the path and the houses. To compare the results, they chose another square metre on the banks above the football pitch that has been left un-mown for six or seven years.
The data collected shows that, out of the plants found on these plots, ox-eye daisies provide the richest nectar and pollen so the more of those that bloom in the future, the happier the bees will be. Hopefully, the wild flowers sown by the brownies and others will be in flower next year creating more diversity and increasing the nectar and pollen count.
Nectar vs pollen
Scores were given for both nectar and pollen. If you’re wondering why both are important, nectar supplies a complex range of sugars and provides an important energy source while pollen provides bees with protein and fats that are crucial for developing young and adult bee health.
The results are in!
In the area above the football pitch, there were 39 ox-eye daisies with 6 common daisies and 3 meadow buttercups fully open. This was, by chance, an uncommonly rich patch and the nectar could support 645 hour-long foraging flights for an adult bumblebee or 3 entire bumblebee colonies for a day. The total pollen could support 722 mining bee brood cells/larvae or 72 bumblebee larvae.
If this particularly rich area was replicated across the entire bank, the nectar could support 1,932 hour long foraging flights for an adult bumblebee with the pollen supporting 2,145 mining bee brood cells/larvae or 214 bumblebee larvae!
Just one daisy...
Moving towards the grassy area bordered by the path and the houses, three different square metres were chosen randomly. One had just one daisy so obviously had a low score. The second had 63 daisies in full flower and nothing else. If this square metre was replicated across the whole area, it could support 3 hour-long foraging flights for an adult bumblebee whilst the total pollen could support 10 mining bee brood cell(s)/larvae or 1 bumblebee larva.
500 bumblebee flights
The last square metre was more promising with 30 daisies, 6 common mouse ear and 20 mouse ear hawkweed. If this were replicated across this entire grassy area, it would support 500 hour-long foraging flights for an adult bumblebee or 2 entire bumblebee colonies for a day. The total pollen could support 321 mining bee brood cells/larvae or 32 bumblebee larvae.
*Find out more about the thick-legged flower beetle here!