Bees are being 'driven to the edge': Beekeepers hit out at removal of hedgerows and ditches
A third of Irish bee species are threatened with extinction with bumblebee populations falling year-on-year due to removal of hedgerows and ditches, use of pesticides and insecticides and climate change.
Tomorrow is the first ever global World Bee Day and experts hope an EU ban on insecticides linked to declining bee populations will help prevent further deterioration of the vital pollinators here.
Local authorities and homeowners could also help by planting bee-friendly flowers including snowdrops, wallflower, lavender and crocus. Flowers like daffodils did not provide bees with a food source and were as useful in helping preserve the species as "planting plastic flowers", one said.
Professor Jane Stout, from Trinity College Dublin, who helped establish the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan to help halt the decline, said while "pretty tough", bees were under pressure.
"It's not just pesticides but fungicides and insecticides too," she said. "It's also changes in how land is managed, which impact on habitats to nest and over-winter, and there's fewer flowers to feed on.
"We also have diseases which are becoming more prolific along with changes in climate with extreme weather events.
"Bees are pretty tough, but all of these different drivers seem to be pushing them to the edge."
The Irish Universities Association has highlighted research taking place in UL, NUI Galway, Maynooth University and TCD around how to identify pressures and help boost population numbers.