Urban Buzz Pollinator Pledge

Insect pollinators such as bees, butterflies and hoverflies need our help.

That is why we are asking you to join the mission to help Cardiff become a pollinator-friendly city and gain the Welsh Government’s ‘Bee Friendly’ Status.

Research suggests that gardens and allotments (community gardens) are important hotspots [1] for pollinators in urban areas due to their flower-rich and often wild nature.

Together we can take simple actions to improve the quality of our gardens and other green spaces providing a river of flowers across Cardiff for pollinators and other wildlife.

The Urban Buzz Pollinator Pledge requires you to take a minimum of four actions for pollinators, one from each of the following four themes:

Gardens can be a valuable refuge for wildlife and it has never been more important to garden with wildlife in mind. Sadly, not all plants are useful for pollinators and other wildlife so it’s worth checking recommended plant lists (PDF) and observing which plants the pollinators are visiting in your garden. These plants may provide food for hungry butterfly, moth, fly or sawfly larvae or for foraging adult insects looking for pollen and nectar sources. Native hedgerows, wildflowers, ivy and bramble are all really important for wildlife.

Take at least one of the following actions:

  • Grow a variety of flowers that will provide food for pollinators from spring to autumn.
  • Establish a native wildflower meadow or floral lawn with wildflowers and grasses.
  • Provide structure in your garden in the form of blossoming shrubs, trees and trailing plants.

Tips for pollinator planting in your garden:

Aim to grow native plants of local provenance as these are more accessible to pollinators and best adapted to the local growing season, climate, and soils where you live.

Herbs and old-fashioned cottage garden varieties are also important sources of pollen and nectar and food for feeding larvae.

Avoid most bedding plants (such as Petunias, Begonias, Busy Lizzies, French Marigolds, Pelargoniums and Pansies). These are of no or little value to pollinating insects.

Avoid plants with double or multi-petalled flowers as these produce no pollen/nectar. Choose simple, open flowers so visiting insects can easily reach the nectar and pollen.

Flowers are best planted in large patches (‘drifts’) of the same kind. Some pollinators, such as bumblebees, like to stick to one type of flower while foraging and can waste precious energy scouting around for more forage.

Provide a continuous succession of flowering plants, including trees and shrubs from spring to autumn. This will help to ensure emerging insects at any time during the season will have the food they require to complete their lifecycles successfully.

Choose organic seeds/plants wherever possible and avoid those grown using pesticides. Plants and seeds are often treated with pesticides during their production. This means that even plants that are attractive and deemed ‘beneficial’ to pollinators actually pose a threat, rather than benefit. In order to ensure that the plants you purchase do not contain pesticide residues, source your seeds/plants from organic nurseries.

Provide larval food plants and pollen and nectar sources.

Not every pollinator has the same nesting requirements. Gardens can provide a range of habitats that support many different pollinators such as bees, butterflies, wasps, flies and beetles. Firstly, take some time to observe the existing nesting features in your space using the following examples for guidance. Protect these features and take at least one further action. 

Take at least one of the following actions:

  • Protect existing nesting habitat and create a new habitat feature.
  • Make a solitary bee home or a hoverfly lagoon.
  • Create a wild space for nesting and overwintering invertebrates.

Examples of nesting habitat for pollinators:

Wild areas of long grass along hedgerow margins or in quiet corners can provide the perfect habitat for nesting bumblebees, butterflies and moths.

Bare exposed ground, short mown grass and embankments can support colonies of ground nesting bees and wasps.

Large cavities in trees and walls above head height are favoured by the Tree bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum)

Hollow stems, standing deadwood, log piles and small cavities in old walls can support cavity nesting solitary bees and wasps.

Wet boggy, marginal areas near ponds, and rainwater filled pockets in trees can provide ideal nesting habitat for hoverflies.

Plants provide refuge for the larvae of many groups of pollinators including butterflies, moths, flies and sawflies.

In the last seventy years we have become increasingly dependant on chemicals in many aspects of life. This is has led to disastrous consequences for wildlife with insecticides such as Neonicotinoids used in our food growing and horticulture, contributing to the decline of pollinating insects.

Bug sprays and other chemicals used at home and in the garden can be harmful to beneficial creatures as well as those unwanted. Herbicides such as glyphosate kill ‘weeds’, many of which are important to bees and other pollinators. We need to be aware of what we use in our own homes and gardens to ensure our impact on the environment is minimal. We ask you to take one action here.


Stop using pesticides in your garden including insecticides, herbicides and fungicides.

Top tips for creating safe spaces for pollinators

Stop all use of pesticides including insecticides, herbicides and fungicides.

Choose organic seeds/plants wherever possible to avoid plants that may contain pesticide residues from their production. Nursery staff are always there to help and answer your questions.

Buy plants from the approved National Botanic Garden of Wales Saving Pollinators Assurance Scheme list of growers and nurseries.

Take cuttings from mature plants and grow from collected seed.

Deter unwanted bugs from your vegetables by companion planting (growing plants together which benefit and help each other).

To make Cardiff a pollinator friendly city we want more people to join our growing pollinator community. Help us to expand the network by promoting the pledge and getting your friends, family and neighbours involved.

Take one or all of these actions:

  • Join the growing Urban Buzz community in Cardiff on Facebook and help raise awareness. Post a picture of your pollinator garden, ask questions and receive updates and gardening ideas #WildCardiff
  • Challenge five friends on social media to take the Urban Buzz Pollinator Pledge
  • Spend 15 minutes watching flowers in the summer, to help scientists with the UK Pollinator Monitoring Scheme
  • Print and display the Urban Buzz Pollinator Pledge certificate in your front window

We encourage you to assess your garden and take note of any features with value for wildlife. From this point you can then choose which actions to take from our suggested lists. For each theme we have provided information, gardening ideas and links to resources to help you. If you don’t have a garden, consider planting up a window box or pots on a balcony?

What you need to do:

  • Choose four actions, one from each of the four themes
  • Take the Urban Buzz Pollinator Pledge
  • Help to expand the network by telling your friends, family and neighbours!

Groups and organisations

The Urban Buzz Pollinator Pledge scheme is designed for individuals and has been adapted from the Welsh Government’s Bee Friendly scheme guidance aimed at groups, organisations and local authorities. If you are a group or organisation and wish to become ‘Bee Friendly’, please go the Bee Friendly page on the Wales Biodiversity Partnership website for further information.

Pollinators require more than one habitat during their lifecycle. Some species start life in a nest underground, while others may start life in water, or hatch as a single egg on a plant. Social species such as bumblebees will rear their young while the majority of pollinators source food for the young but leave them to fend for themselves.

Gardens with a range of features such as flower beds, wildflower areas, trailing plants, hedges, trees, vegetables, ponds, log piles and wild messy areas are more likely to provide for the needs of a greater number of pollinator species.

Nesting habitat comes in a variety of forms such as long tussocky grass and redundant small mammal burrows ideal for bumblebees, bare ground and short turf favoured by mining species of solitary bee or even hollow stems, deadwood and cavities in old walls for solitary bees that like to nest in cavities. Hoverflies can start life in all sorts of places including wet boggy ground and water filled pockets in trees.

Providing a variety of nesting habitat is essential to encouraging a diverse range of pollinators and can be a fun way to entice new species into a garden.

As adults most pollinators feed on pollen and nectar and this needs to be in ready supply from early spring right through to autumn to ensure species have the energy and resources to complete their life cycle and have lots of offspring.

Many pollinator species including butterflies, moths, hoverflies and sawflies (some are pollinators) feed on specific plants as larvae. Putting the right plants in the garden can draw in new species, helping to increase the garden species list!

Trees provide food for pollinators in their larval and adult stages. Native trees tend to blossom in sequence from spring providing food through till summer. A sequence example – Willow, Blackthorn, Hawthorn, Rowan, Apple, Cherry, Rose, Honeysuckle, Alder buckthorn and Clematis.

At the end of the summer pollinators go into hibernation. New bumblebee queens will seek out north facing banks and ditches while butterflies such as the Peacock (Aglais io) will seek refuge in a dry sheltered spot. Many pollinators will spend winter in a pre-adult form, either in the nest, or somewhere that provides cover and protection such as leaf litter, long tussocky grass or other habitat

Links to useful resources

Take the Urban Buzz Pollinator Pledge

    To help make Cardiff a Bee Friendly city, I will:

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