Newsletter: April 2023

The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan is a framework bringing together different sectors across the island of Ireland to create a landscape where pollinators can survive and thrive. Its implementation is coordinated by the National Biodiversity Data Centre.


To spot this month: keep an eye out for the Tawny Mining Bee

This is one of our most distinctive solitary bees – look out for deep red hairs on the thorax and orange hairs on the abdomen. It usually comes out of hibernation in April and will be around until June. It nests by making little volcano-like burrows into bare soil and can be found in gardens.

The Tawny Mining bee (Andrena fulva) was thought to be extinct for 87 years in Ireland, before being rediscovered in 2012. It is now known from counties Dublin, Wicklow, Kilkenny, Tipperary, Kildare & Carlow.

Can you help find more new populations?

Submit your solitary bee sightings

To do this month: #LetDandelionsBee

Dandelions are an important food source for pollinators at this time of year. According to Plantlife UK, eight dandelion flowers may produce enough nectar to meet an adult bumblebee’s baseline energy needs.

Where you can, Let Dandelions Bee! The photo speaks a thousand words for how much you’ll be helping our bees and other insects. The AIPP is not about planting wildflower seed, it’s about allowing native wildflowers to emerge naturally with less mowing.

Allow Dandelions to flower in April and then cut in preparation for #NoMowMay. This popular campaign next month is a chance to further celebrate the benefits of reduced mowing for pollinators.


New scheme to encourage farmers to record pollinators

The National Biodiversity Data Centre is delighted to launch a new ‘Biodiversity on your Farm’ project, in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. Run by the Pollinator Plan farmland officer, Ruth Wilson, this project will challenge farmers to find 40 species on their farm across the year. The weekly species have a pollinator focus and the project also includes a ‘biodiversity management tip’ for farmers each week.
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New resource: Car parks for pollinators

The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan is delighted to release a new free resource: a flyer with guidance on how car parks can be managed to help pollinators. Car parks don’t immediately spring to mind as places that can support these important insects. But easy changes in management can turn them into crucial pollinator pitstops, whether in a business park, industrial estate, or shopping centre.
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Hairy-footed Flower Bee update


Last month we asked you to keep an eye out for the Hairy-footed Flower Bee. The first Irish record of this species was made last March in Dublin. In good news, it has successfully hibernated and residents in Harold’s Cross have spotted it again this year!

It is a large solitary bee but can look like a bumblebee. The males and females are different to each other. Some females may resemble a small black bumblebee with distinctive orange hairs on the hind leg (photo below) and others can be more brownish like the males. Males have light brown/ginger hairs all over their body and cream markings on their face. They also have distinctive long hairs on their middle legs and feet, which is where the species gets its name. Their quick darting flight motion is a good way to tell them apart from bumblebees. In Britain, it shows a preference for Lungwort. Photos: Martin Fitzpatrick.

It’s still only known from Harold’s Cross in Dublin. Keep an eye out and send a photo if you think you find any new populations this spring!

Submit your solitary bee sightings

It’s time for Flower-Insect Timed Counts (FIT Counts) again!


FIT Counts are an important way that you can help us monitor pollinators. Download the free FIT Count App, watch a 50x50cm patch of flowers for 10 minutes and count how many insects visit. You can carry out a FIT Count anywhere, and on any flower, but where you can, please use one of our 15 target flowers. In April, its especially useful to carry out FIT Counts on Dandelion. You do need to wait until it’s sunny and at least 13C though!

In 2022, 673 validated FIT Counts were submitted by 137 different volunteers. The average number of insects per FIT Count was 8. The most common insect group recorded were bumblebees, and the most common habitat FIT Counts were carried out in was gardens. Visit the website to download the 2022 newsletter and see the full results of the scheme last year.

FIT Count website
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