Moths are more efficient pollinators than bees, new research shows

Moths are more efficient pollinators at night than day-flying pollinators such as bees, finds new research from the University of Sussex, published March 29 in PLOS ONE.

Amid widespread concern about the decline of wild pollinating insects like bees and butterflies, the University of Sussex researchers have discovered that moths are particularly vital pollinators for nature.

Studying 10 sites in the South East of England throughout July 2021, the Sussex researchers found that 83% of insect visits to bramble flowers were made during the day. While the moths made fewer visits during the shorter summer nights, notching up only 15% of the visits, they were able to pollinate the flowers more quickly.

As a result, the researchers concluded that moths are more efficient pollinators than day-flying insects such as bees, which are traditionally thought of as "hard-working." While day-flying insects have more time available to transfer pollen, moths made an important contribution during the short hours of darkness.


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