Creating better homes for pollinators: Polli:Nation habitat analysis 2017 results

2017 was the second year of the OPAL Polli:Nation survey, which investigates the friendliness of our school grounds, parks and gardens for providing food, nesting and shelter for our pollinating insects including bees, butterflies and moths, hoverflies and beetles. The survey encourages people to make habitat improvements in their green spaces and repeat the survey the following year, with two thirds of participants committing to making such changes. Fifteen schools (1 nursery, 12 primaries and 2 high schools) have completed 47 Polli:Nation surveys before and after making improvements to their grounds.

Download the Polli:Nation habitat analysis 2017 results (pdf)

Did habitat improvements increase pollinator numbers?

Although we currently don’t have enough results to run statistical tests, initial results seem to indicate that enhancements are already benefitting a range of pollinating insects, as can be seen in the graph below. Butterfly numbers, however, are lower after the habitat changes, do you have any ideas why this may be? We will explore this in our next analysis!

Numbers of pollinators before and after habitat improvements

Most commonly recorded plants

The most commonly recorded plants were:

  • Daisy: recorded in a total of 59 quadrats;
  • Blackthorn: recorded in a total of 14 quadrats;
  • Lavender: recorded in a total of 8 quadrats.


How did participants improve pollinator habitats?

Fifteen schools have taken action to enhance the friendliness of their school grounds for pollinators, planting trees, shrubs and wildflowers, creating bare patches of ground and making log piles and ponds. The chart below summarises what actions the schools took.


Creating a pollinator-friendly patch

Try our top tips to make pollinators feel welcome in your garden or school grounds:

  • Solitary bees: Make a bee hotel using wood and/or bamboo canes with different sized holes.
  • Hoverflies: Hoverflies love open flowers, especially those in the daisy family.
  • Beetles: Thick-legged Flower Beetles and Red Soldier Beetles love umbellifers, such as cow parsley
  • Bumblebees:Trees such as Willow are great for early emerging bumblebees


Find out more