Friday, 15 January 2016

Five actions that will make your farm more pollinator friendly:

Protecting pollinators to protect how current and future generations of farmers can use the land.

Five actions that will make your farm more pollinator friendly: 

 1 Maintain good quality hedgerows: flowering hedgerows that contain Hazel, Willow, Blackthorn and Hawthorn provide food in spring when wild bees come out of hibernation. Bramble is a good source of food in summer, and Ivy in the autumn. Cut hedgerows every three years, or cut a third annually. The base of the hedgerow shouldn’t be sprayed to leave flowering plants like Clovers, Vetches and Knapweed which provide additional food throughout the season. Keep any sandy, earth, or earth and stone banks to provide nest sites for solitary bees.
2 Allow wildflowers to grow around the farm: flowers/weeds like Dandelion, Clovers, Knapweed, Vetches and Creeping thistle growing along lanes and in field corners provide vital food sources for bees.
3 Plant nectar and pollen rich trees and shrubs: good native species are Willow, Hazel, Hawthorn, and Blackthorn. Fruit trees are also a great food source.
4 Provide nesting areas around the farm: bumblebees nest in patches of long tussocky grass or nettles. Most Irish solitary bees nest on bare ground that isn’t too compacted, or in south/east facing banks of bare earth (soil, sand, clay, peat).
5  Maximise wildflowers within field margins/buffer strips: cut field margins and buffer strips only once or twice annually. Cutting should ideally occur before April, with a late cut taken in early September (ideally followed by aftermath grazing). This gives wildflowers a chance to set seed, retains late forage sources for pollinators, and avoids disturbance of late stage bumblebee nests.

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