Wednesday 21 February 2018

New initiative launched to save threatened bee species in Ireland

Bumblebee collecting pollen from a mullein.
Bumblebee collecting pollen from a mullein.

Meadhbh McGrath

A new initiative has been launched to save Ireland’s declining bee population, following the news that one third of our 98 bee species are endangered.

The National Biodiversity Plan seeks to protect Ireland’s pollination services.

More than 68 governmental and non-governmental organisations across Europe have agreed to the shared plan, which notes 81 actions everyone can take part in to make our gardens pollinator friendly.

“If you’re a pollinator, finding enough food is the biggest challenge you have to face.” said Dr Úna FitzPatrick from the National Biodiversity Data Centre, who chaired the plan steering group.

She added “gardens can play a crucial role by acting as pit stops for busy bees as they try to move around the landscape”.

The plan includes a list of low-cost and practical actions to suit gardens of any size.

The most important thing people can do in their garden is to make sure there are bee-friendly flowers in bloom from March to October.

Dr Erin Jo Tiedeken, the project officer for the All-Ireland Plan, recommends lavender, heather, comfrey, lungwort and catmint as a great food source for bees.

The plan suggests cutting your garden lawn slightly less often to allow wildflowers such as dandelions and clovers to grow.

It also warns not to use pesticides that are harmful to pollinators.

The implementation of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan is being coordinated by the National Biodiversity Data Centre with funding provided by the Heritage Council and Bord Bia.

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