With the lovely weather, lots of us are out working in the garden. There are a number of resources out there in regards encouraging wildlife in the garden. We need pollinators to grow many of the fruits and vegetables that make up a balanced diet. The wildflowers that provide us with colour and beauty in our landscape also need pollinators, as do many of your garden plants.
Most pollination in Ireland is carried out by bees. This is because bees feed their young exclusively
on pollen so are entirely focused on collecting it from flowers to bring back to their nests. Ireland, we have 98 different types of bee: the honeybee, 20 different bumblebees and 77 different solitary bees. In providing us with the service of pollination, these bees are helped by other insects like hoverflies, butterflies and moths. Unfortunately, pollinators are in trouble.
We know that one third of Irish bee species are threatened with extinction. The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan 2015-2020 is an island-wide attempt to help pollinators by creating a landscape where they can survive and thrive. All of us have a role to play in the Pollinator Plan, and gardens of any size can make a big difference.
Eliminate pesticide use
Pesticides include insecticides, fungicides and herbicides. All of these can be harmful to pollinators, either directly, or by damaging the plants and habitats they depend on.
Don’t use insecticides on garden flowers and plants
Use alternative methods of pest control, such as manual barriers or physical removal.
Try this approach for just one season, or on part of your garden, and see how much pest damage results; often levels will be very low. Some seeds and plants are treated with systemic insecticides called neonicotinoids. Try reading the fine print to ensure the products you buy are not treated with these harmful chemicals.
Don’t use herbicide on your lawn
Lawns where some wildflowers are allowed to grow provide valuable food for pollinators. If some areas must be kept green, weed manually instead of spraying.
In addition to pollinating flowers, hoverflies can play an important role in controlling garden pests.
Some hoverfly larvae feed on aphids, reducing or eliminating the need to spray.
The Ring of Gullion have also got an organic gardening guide packed full of tips on how to make your garden more productive and wildlife friendly at the same time. Click here to download your copy.