In light of World Bee Day on 20 May 2021, I thought I would write about ways that we can help reduce the decline in Ireland’s bees and other pollinators. I’ve recently pledged my (small) garden for pollinators, by taking these really simple steps:
Reduce Frequency of Cutting Your Lawn
The most cost-effective way to provide food for pollinators is to reduce the frequency you mow your lawn. I am currently doing ‘No Mow May’ but since I have yet to cut the grass this year, my lawn is particularly long! (see photo) But once May is over, I will cut the lawn once every 6 weeks to encourage useful species to grow, such as daisies, trefoil, clovers and dandelions which are an important source of food for pollinators.
Avoid using harmful chemicals.
Don’t use insecticides on garden flowers and plants or herbicide on your lawn. Whilst weeding the old fashioned way by hand may take longer and is more effort, I have found it to great exercise and very therapeutic!
Plant Pollinator Friendly Flowers, Trees and Shrubs.
Create some nesting habitat for bees. Examples include leaving the grass grow long at the base of hedges, drill some holes in dry stone walls, have some bare earth or erect a small bee hotel. I hung up a small bee hotel that I bought.
Bees don’t store water in the hive, they forage for it as needed. If you don’t have a pond, a bowl of pebbles full of rainwater provides a good stop off. I don’t have space for a pond in my garden, so I’ve left out a small shallow bowl with pebbles.
The message is that no matter what size your garden or patio, there are ways that you can help prevent the continued decline of Ireland’s pollinators. If you would like to learn more or if you would be interested in pledging your garden for pollinators, then you can visit www.pollinators.ie.