Willow, in particular, is a rich source of nectar and pollen for insects such as bees and butterflies. Recent research has shown that worldwide, 40% of insect species were suffering “dramatic rates of decline.” In the UK, studies have shown losses of butterflies, moths, beetles, bees and hoverflies. All these insects are vital pollinators and their decline can have terrible consequences for entire ecosystems. Insects are doubly important as they act not only as pollinators, but are also a vital food source for many other creatures like birds, bats, amphibians and reptiles. Other studies have shown that, in the UK, more insects live on willows than any other tree species.
Here, Master Beekeeper George Eames gives us a very detailed view of the role Willow plays in sustaining bee populations: