If you wanted to see as many bee species as possible where would you go? The fields and hedgerows of the farmed British countryside or wander round your local city? If you opted to wander round the city you might actually see more bee species than if you toured the fields and hedgerows of a farm. Research just published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B measured pollinator richness and feeding habits in nature reserves, urban areas and farmland. What they report is that urban areas can be just as important to pollinators due to the high plant richness. Keep gardening!
Insect pollinators provide a crucial ecosystem service, but are under threat. Urban areas could be important for pollinators, though their value relative to other habitats is poorly known. We compared pollinator communities using quantified flower-visitation networks in 36 sites (each 1 km2) in three landscapes: urban, farmland and nature reserves. Overall, flower-visitor abundance and species richness did not differ significantly between the three landscape types. Bee abundance did not differ between landscapes, but bee species richness was higher in urban areas than farmland.