Which insects are key providers of pollination services for our crops and home-grown produce?
Honey bees tend to spring to mind, but they are not only ones.
A diverse range of other bee species, flies, wasps, butterflies, moths and beetles all play important roles.
Interestingly other animals, including birds and bats, tend to be more well-known as pollinators than many of these insect groups.
The diversity of these pollinators’ life cycles, habitat needs and other preferences means there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to manage or encourage them in agricultural landscapes.
Farmers are mindful of the roles beneficial insects can play while also duly concerned about controlling pest insects that threaten productivity.
Honey bees can be moved into and off crops to match the flowering times, while managing wild pollinator insects requires resources within the landscape to sustain these insects throughout their life cycles.
In many cases a range of beneficial and pollinator insects are persisting in our landscapes, but we don’t have much information about them.
There’s much to learn about them and how we might incorporate their needs into landscape management.
The Wild Pollinator Count project, a citizen science project run across Australia each spring and autumn, raises awareness of the roles of pollinator insects and collects information on where they are found and which plants they are visiting.
The spring 2018 count period runs from November 11 to 18.
Participating is as simple as spending ten minutes watching a flowering plant of your choice and reporting the insects you see.
You don’t need to be an insect expert or need fancy gear and you can do one count or many during the week.
Count in your garden, in a park or on your farm.
You can count in your garden, in a park or on your farm.
The Wild Pollinator Count website has all you need to participate including tips for categorising the insects you see and an online submission form for your completed count.
You don’t have to take photos, but you can if you like.
Find out more at www.wildpollinatorcount.com
Karen Retra co-founder of the Wild Pollinator Count