Today, I participated in Wild Pollinator Count.
It took about an hour to conduct my four observations and record/submit the results online.
I sighted a blue-banded bee (Amegilla cingulata) buzz pollinating my tomato plant; a red and blue beetle (Dicranolaius bellulus - pictured) on a daisy flower that was also visited by a hoverfly (Ischiodon sp.); and the Callistemon sp. was visited by three small ants and one larger ant - pretty sure they were Ochetellus sp. and Iridomyrmex sp., respectively - and a European honey bee (Apis mellifera); but sadly no insects visited the cluster of flowers I was watching on my wattle Acacia deanei subsp. paucijuga - but any scientist worth their salt will tell you that 'zero' is still a result! As the Wild Pollinator Count FAQs explains: "We can’t fully understand distributions and flower preferences of pollinators just from positive results. If we have records of flowers that have no insect visitors whatsoever, they can still provide important information on what pollinators don’t like."
PS And it was all done from the comfort of my own backyard!
About the Project
Australia has lots of wild insect pollinators that are often overlooked. European honey bees get a lot of attention because they are an adaptable, generalist forager, which means they are happy to visit almost any flower, in most climate zones. They are also a social species, so their hives are easy to domesticate and manage.
However, many native insects also contribute to pollination in crops and gardens all around the country. We still need to do a lot of research to identify all our insect pollinator species, understand their ecology and how they are affected by human activities. So far, we know that Australia has around 2,000 native bee species, all of which are important pollinators. We also know there are a couple of thousand butterfly, wasp, fly, moth, beetle, thrips and ant species, some of which are documented pollinators. Unfortunately, we don’t have a lot of information on the ecology of many of these insects, what flowers they pollinate, or where they are found.
The Wild Pollinator Count gives you an opportunity to contribute to wild insect pollinator conservation in Australia. We invite you to count wild pollinators in your local environment and help us build a database on wild pollinator activity.