Helping Nocturnal Pollinators

Pollinators are extremely important for everyone and everything on this planet. We think about bees and butterflies when we garden, but do we think about the nocturnal pollinators?

You might think of the moth simply bobbing around streetlights whilst we go to sleep, but it is quite the contrary. They work hard through the night pollinating (also they are a very important food source for many other animals, such as bats).

There are more than 2,500 moth species in Britain and Ireland, below you see six of these, all very different shapes and colours.

Autumn Webworm (Hyphantria cunea)

Twenty – plume Moth (Aluctia hexadactyla)

Oleander Hawk – moth (Daphnis neril)

Elephant Hawk – moth (Deilphila elpenor)

Broad – bordered Bee Hawk (Hemaris fuciformis)

Narrow- bordered Five – spot Burnet (Zygaena lonicerae)

In many parts of the UK 60% of their population have declined since 1968, so it is time that we all start thinking of moths and their caterpillars.

The main thing to think about when planning your borders and beds for the moth is fragrance, especially plants with a heavy scent at night. Here’s a few examples:

  • Verbena bonariensis
  • Buddleja davidii
  • Jasminum officinale
  • Oenothera biennis
  • Cynara cardunculus
  • Hebe spp.
  • Lonicera periclymenum
  • Eryngium giganteum 
  • Hesperis matronalis 
  • Nicotiana alata

Why not add in some foodplants for the caterpillars of the moth, here are some examples:

  • Crataegus monogyna
  • Ribes spp.
  • Quercus robur
  • Fuschia spp.
  • Corylus avellana
  • Ilex aquifolium
  • Humulus lupulus
  • Hedera helix
  • Urtica dioica
  • Salix spp.

The main point which will not only help moths, but all pollinators and wildlife is DON’T BE SO TIDY. Leave areas of long grass and let those wildflowers and plants grow and don’t clear up dead plant matter at the end of the year because this is a home to many animals, fungi and important bacteria.