Thursday 1 August 2019

Pollinators Workshop at Saughton Park

I attended an excellent pollinators workshop today at Saughton Park. Lead by Anthony McCluskey of Butterfly Conservation Trust it focussed on identifying pollinators (particiularly common butterflies and bumblebees) and managing orchards to benefit pollinators.

The morning sessions took place indoors which was good as it was raining this morning. By the afternoon the sun had come out and we were taken on a guided tour of the Park, focussing on areas where we might be able to find some pollinators. One of the places we investigated was the Physik Garden

where we not only saw a small white butterfly, but saw these eggs - possibly laid by that very same butterfly

 We also saw many leaves that showed evidence of being eaten by leaf boring larvae - these might be moth caterpillars or hoverfly larvae

apparently moth caterpillars leave smoother, tidier lines when they bore through the leaves, while hoverfly larvae are messy creatures and leave their droppings everywhere in the tunnels! On closer examination Anthony suggested that these leaves had been mined by moth caterpillars

We learned loads of interesting things including how honey bees, though obviously valuable for producing honey, are, in this country at least less valuable pollinators than many native bumblebees and can also provide threats to the health of bumble bees by carrying diseases and competing for food. So the advice seems to be to limit the number of honey bee hives to allow for the bumblebees to prosper.

I was interested to find out that common carder bees nest on the ground and that their name comes from the fact that they gather (or 'card') moss and other vegetation to make their nests.

We found out lots of information about how to make orchards and gardens more pollinator friendly (some of this information can be found on the Butterfly Conservation website here.)

There were lots of bees everywhere including this small solitary bee

and a few hoverflies including this marmalade hoverfly (on the left) and Epistrophe grossularae (on the right)

Saughton Park looks lovely now after the significant award it recently received from the Big Lottery Fund (now the National Lottery Community Fund). You can find out what's happening at the park here.

Butterfly Conservation works across the UK, helping to conserve butterflies and moths and holding events to increase awareness and enjoyment of these insects. You can find out what's on in your local area here.

Read about Protecting Britain's Butterflies on the Upgardener website.

1 comment:

Lowcarb team member said...

Interesting to read your post.
Pleased you enjoyed the pollinators workshop.

All the best Jan

PS Happy August Wishes