'Tidiness killing off the bees': Farmers urged to leave margins of ditches and fields alone
Farmers have been urged to leave wildflowers in field margins and along hedgerows to help support the declining numbers of bees.
Ireland has 98 different species of bees, with a third of them now threatened with extinction.
Teagasc countryside management specialist Catherine Keena warned that the drive for tidiness on farms was helping to kill off the important crop pollinators.
"We need more pollinators in the countryside. Bees need food all year round," she said.
"Farmers can help bees by allowing space for wildflowers to grow and flower within hedgerows and field margins, around farmyards, along farm roadways and in field corners. The quest for neatness on farms should not override consideration for bees."
Ms Keena urged people to just leave some of the margins of ditches and fields alone.
She said there was also a message in it for the wider public and county councils. "You go around the countryside now and you see everybody trying to make everything perfect," she said, adding that hedgerows should not be sprayed off, as it kills the wildflowers.
Ms Keena advised farmers spraying insecticides to spray early or late, as it helps protect the honeybee because they are less active.