Newsletter: March 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 Hairy-footed Flower Bee

The first Irish record of the Hairy-footed Flower Bee (Anthophora plumipes) was made last March in Harold’s Cross, Dublin. It is a large solitary bee, but can look like a bumblebee. The males and females are very different to each other. The female resembles a small black bumblebee with distinctive orange hairs on the hind leg. In Britain, it shows a preference for Lungwort. Males have light brown/ginger hairs all over their body and cream markings on their face. They also have distinctive long orange 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. Currently it is only known from the original sightings in Harold’s Cross in 2022. Keep an eye out and email a photo to me if you think you find any new populations this spring!
Photos: Martin Molloy.

Submit your solitary bee sightings

To do this month: check out what food wild bees preferred in 2022

Every year, the National Biodiversity Data Centre receives thousands of bee sightings. In 2022, 1,482 bee records were submitted, that included information about what the bee was feeding on. This allows us to get as sense of what flowers they prefer. This year’s data again shows the importance of native plants, and of simple actions like Don’t mow, let it grow! Click the link below to read more, including which plants are key each month, and what simple actions you can take to ensure your site provides their favourite foods!
Read more

New resource: Residents’ Associations – actions for pollinators

We are delighted to release a new short booklet with guidance on how Residents’ Associations can help pollinators. The booklet includes a list of top ten actions for pollinators, details of common species to spot, and a calendar of flowers that will provide colour and pollen across the year. Click on the link below to read more and download the booklet.
Read more

New research shows that too many honey bees can threaten wild bees

Researchers in Canada have found that too many honey bee hives can negatively impact wild bee species richness by outcompeting them for floral resources (food). They also found that solitary bees are at higher risk as they don’t have the ability to forage long distances in times of increased competition. They call for cities to maintain a registry of beekeepers with hive locations, so we can develop a better understanding of hive densities, locations, and the honey bee colony carrying capacities of city greenspaces. The author of the research has written a blog (link below) for the AIPP to summarise the findings of their paper.
Blog – Dispatches from Researchers

Faith Communities helping pollinators

Carmel O’Neill has provided us with a lovely blog to summarise the excellent work carried out at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Lacken, Co. Wicklow. To read more click on the link below. We thank everyone, across all sectors, who are taking actions for pollinators and helping create a landscape where they can survive and thrive.
Read more

Bumblebee Monitoring Scheme begins again for 2023 – more volunteers needed


Within the National Biodiversity Data Centre, we have been monitoring bumblebees since 2012, through a citizen science scheme called the Bumblebee Monitoring Scheme. Volunteers within this scheme walk a fixed ~1km route once a month from March to October and count the number of different bumblebees they spot. Beginners are very welcome, but the scheme does require a time commitment in learning how to identify the different bee species. This scheme has been slowly building through our amazing volunteers, but we still need to add another 20 walks over the coming years. March is the best time for beginners to join, as in early spring there will be fewer different species for you to learn to identify. If interested in becoming a volunteer, you can take our free course in identifying bumblebees which also explains how the scheme works:

On an island scale, the scheme helps us understand if bumblebees are increasing or declining. At site levels, it’s a great way to assess the impact of actions you are taking in support of the Pollinator Plan. If you decide you’d like to give it a try, please email me directly so that I can add you to my mailing list to receive the Monitoring Scheme monthly newsletter with hints and tips.

Bumblebee Monitoring Scheme website
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