The part of the plant that contains the pollen.
Bees belonging to the genus Bombus, known for their fat and furry appearance. Unlike most honey bees, bumblebees are not managed by humans as they do not produce honey that can be harvested for human consumption. They are social bees that live in colonies with a single queen. The colonies are much smaller than those of honey bees, and only the bumblebee queen survives the winter through hibernation. Bumblebees are important pollinators and are the only type of bee capable of buzz pollination, needed to pollinate certain crops like tomatoes. There are currently 24 different bumblebee species in the UK.
Butterflies are insects of the order Lepidoptera. After completing their metamorphosis from larva to pupa and, finally, to imago (adult), butterflies often have large, brightly-coloured wings, making them a popular and charismatic group of species. As nectar-feeders, they are part of the UK’s pollinator guild, although they are less effective than bees and hoverflies which feed on both nectar and pollen.
A strategy employed by certain species of bumblebee in which flight muscles are contracted to produce vibrations that release pollen packed tightly into the plant’s anthers. Most other insects are unable to access this pollen, making bumblebees the exclusive pollinator for plants that store their pollen in this way.
A form of parasitism in which an animal steals the food of another animal, whether caught, collected, or otherwise prepared. Cuckoo bees show cleptoparasitic behaviour by laying their eggs on the pollen stored by other bees to feed their young.
Bee species that invade the nest of another species and steal on their food provisions. Cuckoo bees will replace the host’s egg or larvae with their own.
Flower varieties with extra petals. Many popular commercial flower types are double-flowered, including roses and carnations. Their value for pollinators is limited, as the floral mutation restricts access to nectar.
Males in a social bee, wasp or ant colony.
The human benefits derived from ecosystems. These are commonly divided into four categories: Provisioning (e.g. of food and water), regulating (e.g. climate control), supporting (e.g. pollination) and cultural (e.g. recreational benefits).
A very high level of sociality among animals. Eusocial animal communities are characterised by cooperative brood care shared among non-reproductive individuals, as well as a division of labour. Honey bees, most bumblebees and some wasp species all display eusociality.
Also known as weedkillers, herbicides are chemical substances used to control unwanted plants. In agriculture, selective herbicides can destroy specific weed species while leaving the crop unharmed. Herbicides are a type of pesticide.
Any bee member of the genus Apis. They distinguish themselves from other bee species by the production of honey and the construction of colonies made of wax in which the queen and her daughters will live all year round (perennial colonies). The European honey bee (Apis mellifera) is the only honey bee species found in Europe, including the UK.
Members of the insect family Syrphidae. They are often seen hovering over flowers in suspended motion and feed on nectar and pollen, making them important pollinators. Most hoverflies mimic the black and yellow stripe pattern of various bee and wasp species.
The final (adult) stage of insects undergoing metamorphosis, following the pupal stage.
Substances used to kill insects, mainly for the sake of crop protection. They have the capacity to significantly alter ecosystems and some are feared to have unwanted effects on non-target species, e.g. neonicotinoids and their allegedly harmful effects on bees.
The juvenile stage some animals undergo before reaching adulthood. Larvae often have different habitat and food requirements from adults.
Unlike site-based conservation, landscape-scale conservation is concerned with the interconnectedness between areas of high conservation value. It also takes into consideration human factors such as culture, history and local economies for a more holistic approach. This has gained increasing prominence as a response to climate change.
A foraging strategy in which bees obtain pollen from only a single plant.
A sugary liquid produced by plants which provides pollinators with an important energy source. It is also the sugar source used by bees in the production of honey.
A relationship between two species in which one species (the parasite) benefits at the expense of the other (the host). Varroa destructor, a parasitic mite that attacks honey bees, is an example of parasitism in the pollinator world.
A powdery substance containing pollen grains, which produce male sperm cells. Pollen is transferred from the anther of a flower to the stigma of another flower (cross-pollination) or the stigma of the same flower (self-pollination). Pollinators rely on pollen as a source of protein.
The process by which pollen is transferred to the female reproductive organs, or stigma, of a seed plant. Pollination can be aided by biotic factors, such as pollinating insects, as well as abiotic factors such as wind.
Animals that help pollinate plants by dispersing their pollen. In the UK, insects account for all pollination, including bees, butterflies, wasps and hoverflies. In other parts of the world, vertebrates such as bats or birds also help pollinate plants.
Species with three nesting cycles and flight periods per year such as the winter-active buff-tailed bumblebee Bombus terrestris.
All insects of the order Hymenoptera and the sub-order Apocrita that are neither bees nor ants. Some wasp species, like the well-known yellow jackets, are eusocial, although the majority of wasps are solitary and parasitoidal. Female wasps are capable of stinging and, unlike bees, will not die thereafter.