Beekeepers tend to focus on honeybees but Britain has over 200 species of solitary bee and 20 species of bumblebees. Bees are not the only pollinators. Butterflies, hover-flies, moths and wasps all have their part to play in making our gardens more beautiful and our fields more productive.
Let's not forget though, that these creatures were around long before humans appeared on the scene. These insects and their less showy counterparts are a key part of the natural world and they also provide food for bats, birds and small mammals. Over the last few decades many of our native insect species have fallen into decline and some are even on the verge of extinction.
The state of our insects reflects the state of our environment. Intensive farming, pesticides and urbanisation continue to damage habitats in hedgerows, farms and wild places. We can't turn back the clock but we can all do a little bit to help - even if its just planting something tasty for them in the garden. Our course About the Bee is a great place to start if you want to find out more about planting for bees of all kinds.
By Gilles San Martin under creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
Insect conservation organisations provide great information about the best plants for bees and butterflies plus lots of other information about helping these important but often overlooked creatures - check out some of our favourites.