Benefits of Ivy

I’ve been off school for the past couple of days so I haven’t been able to go further than my garden.

I have been noticing the huge amounts of activity on a large patch of Ivy (Hedera helix) the garden. The Ivy climbs up a fence covering our gas tank. It backs on to a large Hazel tree and a flower bed with a Rudbeckia which is still flowering.

Firstly the birds use the Ivy and the trellis that runs through as somewhere to hide or wait until the bird table is clear.


As I sit and watch, I notice how many different types of bees, wasps and hoverflies that are flying around the plant. There is even a couple of hornets that regularly visit. Even though I am sitting right next to the plant, all the insects just ignore me and go about their business.


Hornet (Vespa crabro)




Common Carder bee (Bombus pascuorum)



Wasp (Vespula germanica)


Honey bee (Apis mellifera)


Ivy is very important for pollen and nectar after the summer flowers have finished. Over the past couple of days it has been warm and sunny and the insects are making the most of these warm autumn days.

As I take a step closer and ignore the larger insects, I begin to hear a constant humming coming from within the leaves. This is from hundreds and hundreds of smaller insects, from the larger flies to the tiny midges only millimetres big.


Every flower, leaf or stem has something on it. A lot of these insects will eat the ivy and use it for hibernating in.

When I pull some of the leaves to one side there is even more activity underneath. From Moths to Spiders, Ladybirds to Earwigs, Woodlouse to Ants, all making use of the shelter and food provided by the Ivy.

Over the winter the Ivy’s berries will ripen and become food source for many garden birds such as Blackbirds and Thrushes.

About Alex White - Appletonwild

This is my diary of the wildlife where I live in Oxfordshire, and sometimes the places I visit. My passion is for British wildlife, especially Badgers and Hares. This year my debut book "Get Your Boots On" was published I am a keen amateur photographer. All the photographs on this blog are taken by myself unless stated otherwise. I am a member of A Focus on Nature, the network for Young Nature Conservationists, BBOWT, The Oxon Mammal group and The Oxfordshire Badger Group. You can also follow me on Twitter @Appletonwild Instagram appletonwild
This entry was posted in birds, creepy crawlies, garden, insects, nature, outdoors, Oxfordshire, Uncategorized, Wildlife, Wildlife photography and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Benefits of Ivy

  1. Pat O'Brien says:

    My Apis Mellifera Mellifera bees often fill boxes with Ivy honey in October. It goes rock hard on the comb within days. I usually cut the comb in chunks and dissolve in a bain marie to extract the honey which has a bitter taste. Nevertheless, I love it on my porrige !!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The ivy down here has a definite hum with all the insects just like your own patch, also that distinctive sickly sweet smell.

    Liked by 1 person

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