Evaluating the effectiveness of wildflower seed mixes for boosting floral diversity and bumblebee and hoverfly abundance in urban areas
- There is growing interest in improving the biodiversity of urban and suburban areas. Here we report on the effectiveness of a very simple intervention that may be used to boost flower and pollinator abundance; the sowing of plots of wildflowers in amenity grasslands. The abundance of flowers, bumblebees (Bombus spp.), and hoverflies (Syrphidae) was surveyed in 30 such plots, either 1 or 2 years after they had been sown.
- Overall, sown plots had 25 times more flowers, 50 times more bumblebees, and 13 times more hoverflies compared to paired control plots. Floral abundance and bee abundance increased from year 1 to year 2, but hoverflies were more abundant in plots in their first year, reflecting their preference for shallow annual flowers.
- Our data demonstrate that flower-poor amenity grasslands can be readily converted to flower-rich areas that are highly attractive to pollinators, providing a simple tool for pollinator conservation in urban areas.