Newsletter: July 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 Wool Carder Bee

This large solitary bee is very distinctive and can be spotted in gardens, especially in the South-East. It was first recorded in Ireland in 2015. Both males and females have a pattern of yellow markings down the sides of the abdomen, head and legs.

Submit your solitary bee sightings

To do this month: make sure any annual bedding includes some pollinator-friendly options

At this time of year, the shops are full of traditional annual bedding (Begonia, Petunia, Geranium). Just bear in mind, that while these plants are very colourful, they are not good sources of pollen and nectar for bees and other insects. Try to mix in some of the more pollinator friendly options below.

New guideline: Pollinator-friendly management of Solar Farms

We are delighted to release a new Pollinator Plan resource. Solar energy expansion is important for climate mitigation, but it can have consequences for biodiversity. Through working with experts, we have developed a guide that identifies ten evidence-based actions to help pollinators and biodiversity on solar farms. We thank the Irish Solar Energy Association, who have supported the document.
Read more

Orchid delight at Trinity College

This year, Trinity College Dublin enthusiastically embraced #NoMowMay, and were blown away by what popped up when they temporarily stopped mowing several of their lawns in May and June. The most thrilling of more than 30 species to emerge from the usually closely mown lawns in Parliament Square (the two lawns just inside the Front Gate of Trinity, each with a birch tree at the centre) is a rare orchid, the Broad-leaved Helleborine! Read more in the blog from Prof. Jane Stout.
Orchid blog

Mapping a Carlow Town Pollinator Foraging Network

Carlow County Council recently adopted their County Carlow Green Infrastructure Strategy, which contained a novel approach to managing urban pollinator foraging networks. The approach is based on the policy that: “No pollinator in County Carlow’s towns and villages will have to travel more than 200metres in order to find a food source”.

The approach resulted in the production of a pollinator foraging map. It is being trialled in Carlow Town initially, with a view to replicating in all other towns and villages. We hope that others will be inspired by their innovative approach. Read more in the blog from Shane Casey, Environmental Awareness Officer for Carlow County Council.

Read more

Rare pollinators using the long-flowering meadows in Tramore, County Waterford

Native meadows are an incredibly important habitat for biodiversity. We know that creating and managing these meadows is one of the most challenging actions you can take (see our recently published guide to help). However, if you choose an appropriate initial location, and manage correctly throughout the year, the positive impact on pollinators and other biodiversity can be enormous. See the blog below on the excellent meadows in Tramore that are already supporting rare pollinators. Don’t Sow, Let it Grow!
Tramore meadows blog
Guide on creating and managing meadows

Submit your records of Bee Orchids

As a result of No Mow May, we’ve had many emails from people who have spotted Bee Orchids in their gardens or local communities for the first time. If you’re aware of Bee Orchids in 2023, please submit the record to the National Biodiversity Data Centre. The return of this beautiful native Orchid is symbolic of how easy it can be to help biodiversity by choosing the right actions. Photo: John Fogarty
Submit plant sightings

Can you help by carrying out a Flower-Insect Timed Count (FIT Count)

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. However, where you can, we ask that you use one of our 15 target flowers. In July, its especially useful to carry out FIT Counts on Bramble or Hogweed

In 2022, the average number of insects recorded on a FIT Count was 8. Why not try one where you are to see how your site compares.

For those interested, the National Biodiversity Data Centre also runs a Garden Butterfly Monitoring Scheme. You can help by counting the number of butterflies visiting your garden.

FIT Count website
Garden Butterfly Monitoring Scheme