LIMERICK is strongly represented in the efforts across Ireland to save the country’s bees by acting on information in the All-Ireland National Pollinator Plan 2015-2020.
Dr Veronica Santorum of Limerick’s Buzzing is on the advisory panel that drew up the plan. It was even a Limerick bee that launched the plan!
“Bees are good for business. Our food producers and restaurants rely on quality produce that is only possible thanks to bees,” explained Dan Mullane of The Mustard Seed restaurant in Ballingarry.
“Chefs are busy in the kitchen and bees are busy in the garden. Their combined efforts provide the herbs, vegetables and flowers that grace the tables of this award-winning restaurant. Visitors and wild bees alike enjoy the gardens.”
The Green Apron, another west Limerick food business, is run by Theresa Storey and is a stalwart of the Milk Market. Theresa makes a huge range of jams, jellies, chutneys and preserves from locally harvested fruits.
Theresa’s business relies on pollination carried out by bees in orchards and hedgerows all summer long, producing the glossy berries and fruits that we feast on in the autumn.
Dr Santorum also explained that pollination in Limerick relies on wild insects.
“Bumblebees, solitary bees and hoverflies are our main pollinators and these are struggling due to lack of food and shelter,” she explained.
So what do bees need to survive?
“No pesticides, a supply of suitable flowers from spring to autumn and shelter for bumblebees and solitary bees throughout the year.”
Limerick’s communities, businesses and schools are already taking action to make the city and county a welcoming home for bees.
Bruff Tidy Towns are managing their public spaces in a determined pollinator-friendly way. Locals Maurice Lyons, Jerry Garvey and Tony Daly are upping the food supply for bees. They have introduced bee-friendly flowers to the town’s river-side garden. In Abbeyfeale and Kilmallock, town parks provide a summer-long supply of wildflowers to feed wild bees by careful timing of grass cutting. Solitary bees have taken up residence in the ‘insect hotel’ provided by Kilmallock Tidy Towns with Tus and Scoil Mocheallóg.
If you would like to play your part in helping Ireland’s bees, there is local support to help you. Ballyhoura Development Ltd, West Limerick Resources and Sinead O’Donnell in Limerick City and County Council are good points of contact for communities.
For more information you can check out the National Pollinator Plan at http://www.biodiversityireland.ie/ and stay up-to-date on twitter with @BuzzLMK.