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02 Jul 2022

WATCH: Excitement in Limerick village following sighting of rare bee

WHILE World Bee Day was marked recently, it is Bee Day all year round in Castleconnell.

One person who is bee-ing very observant is Castleconnell Tidy Towns’ John Hardiman.

He spotted a Clarke’s mining bee at the World’s End – only the third recording of this bee in County Limerick in the last 10 years. John said this solitary bee feeds on the new catkins on willow trees in April.

“It was identified using information from the Save the Bees chart currently being populated by Richie Ryan, principal, and the team at Castleconnell National School,” said John.

He describes the Save the Bees campaign – an initiative between the National Biodiversity Data Cetre and SuperValu – as fantastic.

“It gives national school children and their parents an insight into many of our solidarity bees that do just that, they keep to themselves,” said John.

The journey to his rare bee discovery started over seven years ago when he happened upon a talk on butterfly identification in UL by the National Biodiversity Centre.

Castleconnell Tidy Towns signed up to establish Limerick's only butterfly transect. The commitment was significant - walk the 1km meadow at World’s End weekly for at least 26 weeks and record the quantity and species of butterflies found in five separate zones.

So far 11 separate species have been found including the very scarce marsh fritillary, which is in severe decline nationwide and is a protected species. All the data is fed into the Biodiversity team in Waterford which in turn is a factor in guiding the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan.

“As a result of all the walking from March to September each year, lots of other interesting findings have evolved. One outcome of this will be the launch next month of an new interpretive panel adjacent to Castleconnell Boat Club.

This will outline the 30 most vibrant flowers in the meadow and their peak flowing period,” said John. Another benefit from his strolls has been spotting a mining bee.

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