Currently, one third of our bee species are threatened with extinction. This is because of the large reduction to the areas where bees can nest and the amount of food (flowers) our landscape provides. Other factors such as the use of pesticides and urbanisation of rural areas are also impacting on Irish bees survival.
Why should we protect bees?
You may not realise it, but by cutting the grass in our gardens and on our greens we reduce the number of wild flowers and plants which bees need to collect pollen in order to survive, make honey and to pollinate other plants. Although bees and other insects can be seen as pests the reality is that the loss of our bees will mean a reduction in the quality and quantity of our locally produced fruit and veg. This will also lead to the price of these goods rising.
Two of the native Irish bees have already become extinct but there are simple steps which you can take which will help to save the bees and other pollinators in Ireland.
Ireland’s save the bees campaign
The National Biodiversity Data Centre (NBDC) is a national organisation which collects and studies data on Ireland’s native plants and animals. They do this to better understand our natural surroundings and to track change in the environment. The centre also works to understand the impact which we have on our ecosystem and the goods and services which it provides to us.
The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan 2015-2020
In 2015 the NBDC put in place The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan 2015-2020. Ireland is part of this strategy along with 68 governmental and non-governmental organisations in Europe which developed this plan to tackle pollinator decline and protect pollination services.
The plan identifies 81 actions to make Ireland and the rest of Europe more pollinator friendly. To create change in your local area to help protect bees and their habitat you can implement some of these small steps in your garden or local area.
5 steps to save our bees
- Plant flowers and shrubs which will flower in spring and autumn
- Leave an area of your grass uncut so that flowers such as daisies and dandelions can flower there
- If you do not have a garden and only have a balcony you can grow herbs in plant pots which will flower throughout the year
- Plant fruit trees
- Plant bee friendly plants such as lavender and comfrey
For more information on how you can help protect pollinators in Ireland click here.