Study

Commercial nectar and pollen mixtures attract 30 species of flower-visiting insect at Rothamsted Research, Hertfordshire, England

  • Published source details Carreck N.L. & Williams I.H. (1997) Observations on two commercial flower mixtures as food sources for beneficial insects. Journal of Agricultural Science, Cambridge, 128, 397-403

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Plant dedicated floral resources on farmland

Action Link
Bee Conservation

Plant nectar flower mixture/wildflower strips

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Plant dedicated floral resources on farmland

    Carreck & Williams (1997) planted two or three plots of two commercial nectar and pollen mixtures Tubingen Mixture (40% phacelia) and Ascot Linde Mixture (25% phacelia) on farmland in Hertfordshire, England. Across two years, the plots attracted 14 species of bee, including all six common UK bumblebee species and three cuckoo bumblebee species Bombus [Psithyrus]. A small number of solitary bees of three species (no more than two individuals on any plot) were recorded. Phacelia attracted 87-99% of all bee visits over the two years of this study. Buckwheat, a nectar source that comprised 20% of both seed mixtures by weight, attracted 1% or less of all bee visits.

  2. Plant nectar flower mixture/wildflower strips

    A replicated study in 1994 and 1995 in Hertfordshire, UK (Carreck & Williams 1997) found that plots sown with two commercial nectar and pollen seed mixtures, Tübingen mixture (40% phacelia Phacelia tanacetifolia) and Ascot Linde mixture (25% phacelia) attracted 14 species of bees/wasp (Hymenoptera), including all six common UK bumblebee (Bombus spp.) species and three cuckoo bumblebee species Bombus [Psithyrus] spp. across two years. A small number of solitary bees (Andrenidae, Megachilidae) of three species (no more than two individuals on any plot) were recorded. The plots also attracted 14 hoverfly (Syrphidae) species and six butterfly (Lepidoptera) species. Phacelia attracted 87-99% of all bee visits and 31-98% of all hoverfly visits over the two years. Buckwheat Fagopyrum esculentum, a nectar source that comprised 20% of both seed mixtures by weight, attracted 1% or less of all bee visits, but up to 36% of hoverfly visits. Phacelia flowered for a long period on all plots. The main flowering period lasted four weeks, but some flowering continued for several months afterwards. The sown species successfully competed with previously existing weeds. In April 1994 Tübingen mixture was sown on a 25 x 25 m plot. In 1995 both mixtures were sown on 19 x 14 m plots; Tübingen mixture sown in April and May, Ascot Linde mixture sown in May and June. In each plot plants and flowers were counted in four 1 m2 quadrats. Insect density and diversity were recorded at least three times a week/plot.

Output references

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, terrestrial mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 18

Go to the CE Journal

Discover more on our blog

Our blog contains the latest news and updates from the Conservation Evidence team, the Conservation Evidence Journal, and our global partners in evidence-based conservation.


Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape Programme Red List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Bern wood Supporting Conservation Leaders National Biodiversity Network Sustainability Dashboard Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx British trust for ornithology Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Butterfly Conservation People trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust