Exciting developments for Pollinating London Together

Pollinating London Together has published its latest newsletter in which it reveals that in April it became an independent charity and welcomed new patrons.

In April this year Pollinating London Together became an independent charity, along with announcing three new patrons – David Domoney, Dame Fiona Woolf and Alderman Professor Michael Mainelli. With their support and guidance PLT hopes to widen its reach and influence throughout London to make the city a better place for pollinators.

Our membership has increased to 46 livery companies and expanded into the corporate sector. We would like to thank everyone that has supported us this far and look forward to what we will achieve in the future.

PLT’s mission is to help develop spaces in central London where all natural pollinators can thrive and their green space habitat can be enjoyed by everyone, starting in the City of London. With a vision to create a template of change and action though leadership that can be implemented in urban environments across the UK.

With summer coming to an end PLT’s Ecologist Dr Konstantinos Tsiolis and Nick Buck, PhD student at the University of Reading have been busy carrying out pollinator surveys on multiple public and private sites across the city including the Tower of London Moat in bloom.

The moat was transformed from a flat piece of grassland to a haven for bees, butterflies and other pollinators. The site has been surveyed twice so far this year, in June and July.

During the first survey, there was a low diversity of flowering plants, resulting in a low diversity of pollinators species groups. However in July there was a greater variety of flowering plants which reflected a greater variety of pollinators such as bumblebees, solitary bees, hoverflies,other flies and wasps.

It is worth highlighting the diversity of solitary bee species, both cavity and ground nesters, recorded in the Moat. Some cavity-nesting bees have used the PLT bee hotel as a nesting resource (see photos below). Solitary ground-nesting bees may be using the sandy soil of the moat as a nesting resource, but it needs to be investigated further. Bees and other pollinators’ survival depends on food and nesting resources.

The moat has a great abundance of food resources, and ensuring an abundance of nesting resources could result in a higher abundance and diversity of pollinating insects at the site.

Konstantinos has contacted the head gardener of the moat and provided recommendations on increasing nesting resources of solitary bees.
PLT will be surveying the moat again in September this year.

Pollinating London Together were in attendance at the Livery Schools’ Careers Showcase

3rd and 4th July 2023

PLT took part in the Livery Schools’ Careers Showcase on the 3rd and 4th July at the historic Guildhall with around 1200 students from schools in London in attendance. The event was aimed at getting students inspired about career opportunities in a variety of different sectors.

Heather, Konstantinos, Joris and Rhian were representing PLT at the two-day event, helping to answer students’ questions about pollinators, green careers and biodiversity. Primary school students arrived on the first day, buzzing with enthusiasm. The day aimed at getting students excited about different topics and expanding their knowledge. The students loved PLT’s pollinator specimens and being able to see insects up close under the microscope.

The second day focused on secondary school students who were more focused on career opportunities and learning more in depth about where their interests could take them in the future. Students were engaged with asking questions about pollinators and how they can help them at home, in school or through career choices. The students enjoyed the pollinator game, with many surprised at how much we rely on pollinators for our food.

The event was a great success, with many students feeding back that they were inspired to consider new options of career and were left more informed about pollinators than before.

Pollinator to look out for – the Gatekeeper Butterfly

The Gatekeeper Butterfly (Pyronia tithonus) also known as the ‘hedge brown’, is a medium sized butterfly seen predominantly from July to August in the UK.

The Gatekeeper is a common species of butterfly, it is widespread in southern Britain and its range has extended northwards in recent years. The butterfly has a wingspan of 3.7 to 4.8cm, often seen basking or feeding on nectar with open wings. The colour and patterning of the wings are very variable and about a dozen variants have been found.
This butterfly can be found in a range of habitats including grassland, heathland, wetlands, moorlands, woodlands, towns, and gardens. Often found in hedgerows and on the edge of woodlands feeding on wild marjoram, bramble flowers and ragworts.

The butterfly avoids areas of short, open grassland which can put them at risk of predation. This butterfly’s population, though more stable than other species, has still declined 12% between 1974- 2004 and continued to do so. Therefore, it is important to allow grasses to grow wilder by mowing them less often and providing a more biodiverse and safer connecting habitat.

Things you can do at home

With Autumn around the corner, you will start to see less pollinators out. With less flowering plants in these coming months many pollinators look for the last remaining flowers and space to nest or hibernate.

Click here for more information on what bees get up to over the autumn and winter.

There are a few things you can do around the garden at home to help pollinators over the winter including –

  • Growing late flowering nectar rich plants such as Asters or Michael Daisies which tend to flower from July up to October. Or Salvia which can flower up until November.
  • Leave some nesting places for pollinators.
  • Build a log pile for foraging bees.

For more on how to make your garden bee friendly over autumn click here.

Upcoming Events

26th September

Inner Temple Garden visit followed by a talk from our Patron Chartered Horticulturalist and Broadcaster David Domoney. This event has been kindly sponsored by our member Gravis Capital Management.

You can book your tickets here.

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