Save The Bees Plant These
The Save the Bees Plant These campaign aims to raise awareness of the decline in the bee population and how we can help to reverse it. On a national scale, the All Ireland Pollinator plan was launched in September 2015. The plan identifies 81 actions that can be taken, to help save the bees, with the co operation of 68 different agencies. You can view the full plan here.
Bees under threat of extinction in Ireland
There are 98 different species of Bees currently in Ireland. There is only one species of honey bee. There are 20 different bumblebee species and 77 solitary bee species. There are 3 very rare bumblebee species that are threatened with extenction in Ireland. These are, the Red shanked carder bee, the Great Yellow bumblebee and the Shrill Carder bee.
What’s causing the decline in Bee population in Ireland?
A combination of various factors are causing the decline in bee population in Ireland. Loss of natural habitats for nesting sites for bees due to intensive farming and decline in woodlands. Hedgerow cutting and cutting back of road verges are also a contributing factor. Pests and diseases are also a huge problem. Poisening from man made chemicals is on of the major contributing factors to the decline in bee population. These insecticides, herbicides and fungicides are applied to crops, but reach the pollinators through pollen, nectar, and through the air, water or soil.
What can I do?
What can I do to help stop the decline of the bee population in Ireland? There area few simple things that you can do to help. Cut down on the use of pesticides in your garden. Planting some herbs and wildflowers in your garden will provide food and nectar for the bees. If you have a large garden and a large lawn, why not leave a small section to grow wild (it will save you having to mow it regularly too!). You could also set a small area for a wildflower garden.
Some of the best flowers and plants for bees are these;
- Flowers : Fennel, Sunflower, Buttercup, Calenula, Geranium, Dahlia, Poppy, Borage, Heliothorpe
- Herbs : Lavendar, Sage, Wild Garlic, Thyme, Mints
Even if you only have a small garden, even just a balcony, you can plant all these in pots and containers!
Create a bee habitat in your garden
You can create a bee habitat in your garden. Some of Ireland’s bee species are “cavity nesters”. These bees nest in dead stems, dead tree trunks and cavities in stone walls. If you have stone walls on your property, the crevices may provide a good nesting habitat for some solitary bees. Avoid spraying these structures with pesticides; manually remove any unwanted vegetation instead.
Solitary bees that like to nest in wooden structures often aren’t strong enough to carve out their own nests. You can help them by drilling holes in fence posts. Make sure you use an untreated or painted post and drill some holes in it, varying in size from 4mm to 8mm. Drill holes at least 100mm or 4 inch’s deep. Make sure not to drill the hole straight through the post! Ideally the holes drilled in the post should be 1.5 to 2 metres off the ground. If you can, have the holes facing east or south east to catch the sun. Try not to leave any splinters, use sandpaper to smooth any rough edges.
How to build a bee hotel
Even if you only have a small garden (even just a balcony!) you can still make a difference. Its fairly simple to build a bee hotel, you need only a few materials. Some bamboo canes can be got at any garden centre, a plastic bottle or milk container and some string is all you really need to build a basic habitat. If you decide to build a more extravagant bee hotel, please do send on some photos to us!
Plans for a simple bee hotel