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All-Ireland Pollinator Updates

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NEWSLETTER: SEPTEMBER 2022
1. To spot this month: Keep an eye out for the Common Carder Bumblebee

By September, many of our bumblebees are thinking about hibernation. One of the last to be spotted is the Common Carder Bumblebee (Bombus pascuorum) which still flies into October. Keep an eye out for this very common bumblebee this month. It is variable, and can become bleached in the sun. However, there are no other bumblebees that have all ginger hairs on the thorax, a ginger tail and then some black hairs on the abdomen. The photograph shows two Common Carder bees on Knapweed.

Submit sightings here: https://records.biodiversityireland.ie/record/bumblebees
 
2. To do this month: help our hungry bumblebees fatten up for hibernation

This is the time when pollinator-friendly garden plants can be incredibly important. As native wildflowers wind down for the season, autumn-flowering garden plants can provide vital pollen and nectar for bumblebees as they fatten up for hibernation. Gardens, schools, businesses, parks can be lifesavers for pollinators at this time of year. Try to make sure you have pollinator-friendly plants where you are.

Flyer: https://pollinators.ie/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/AIPP-Garden-Plants_A5-Flyer-PRINT.pdf

Pollinator-friendly planting code: https://pollinators.ie/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Planting-Code-2018-WEB.pdf
3. New guideline on the rare Large Carder Bumblebee: can you help by sharing?

The Large Carder Bee (Bombus muscorum) is listed as Vulnerable in the European Red List of Bees (2014) and is showing an ongoing decline in Ireland. In late August, we launched the third guideline in our ‘protecting rare pollinators’ series. This one identifies how local communities can come together to protect this beautiful Irish bumblebee. We are delighted to have collaborated with Sustainable Skerries on the new guide. Skerries in Co Dublin have been leading the way in demonstrating how a local community can work together and take action. Since they began their efforts in 2019, the bee has already expanded its range within the town.

If you know of any locations where the Large Carder Bee occurs, we’d be very grateful if you could share this resource with the local community.

Read more and download the new guideline: https://pollinators.ie/helping-endangered-pollinators/large-carder-bee/
 
4. Skerries Wild Bee Festival 2022

In August 2022, Skerries celebrated its first Wild Bee Festival. This three-day event ran from the 26th to the 29th of August, and was a collaboration between Fingal County Council, the National Biodiversity Data Centre, and Sustainable Skerries. Over the weekend, members of the public learned about the Large Carder Bee (Bombus muscorum), a native bumblebee that is in severe decline across Ireland but is thriving in Skerries, as a direct result of the hard-working Sustainable Skerries group. Festivalgoers were taught about pollinator monitoring and AIPP actions through various seminars, workshops, and walks.

Read more: https://pollinators.ie/skerries-wild-bee-festival-2022/
5. Pollinator award launched in the Green Flag for Parks competition in Northern Ireland

This year saw the very first special Pollinator Award category for parks in this competition. This prize was awarded to parks which had achieved green flag status but were also implementing habitat creation and restoration measures for pollinating insects. Congratulations to the two inaugural winners: the Clotworthy Courtyard at Antrim Castle Gardens won in the community category, and the Castle Park and Walled Garden in Bangor won in the organisation category.

Read more: https://pollinators.ie/new-award-for-northern-irelands-pollinator-friendly-parks/

An Taisce have been supporting a pollinator award in the Green Flag for Parks competition in the Republic of Ireland since 2017. Those winners are due to be announced this month.
6. Final push on FIT Counts - can you help us increase the number of Flower-Insect Timed Counts (FIT Counts) for 2022?

FIT Counts can be carried out each year until the 30th of September. If you have 10 minutes to spare, this is a great way to get involved in helping us track changes in our pollinators. At the site level, it will help you track if the changes you have made as a result of the AIPP are working. You just need to watch a 50cmx50cm patch of flowers for 10 minutes and count how many insects visit. Counts from Knapweed, Butterfly Bush or Lavender would be especially useful this month.The map shows the location of all FIT Counts submitted via the new app so far in 2022

More information on FIT Counts:
https://biodiversityireland.ie/surveys/fit-counts/
7. Cut your long-flowering meadow

September is the time when long-flowering meadows should be cut, and the grass removed. Having these meadows, however small, is a fantastic action for biodiversity as it is returning a vital species-rich grassland habitat that has been lost in Ireland.

September is the ideal time to cut and lift, but please be aware that some Councils and large organisations may begin cutting a little early. This can occur where they have large areas to mow before the weather changes and the ground becomes too wet for large machinery. Some flexibility in cutting is fine. More important is that the grass is removed. Fertilising or mulching grass back in will enrich the soil and give grasses an advantage over any wildflowers. Flower-rich meadows are a very fragile habitat that require the correct management each year. The photo shows a meadow in Waterford City.

See our short video with top tips for creating a meadow: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DY2tMCr0NR8&feature=emb_title
8. South Dublin County Council’s Pollinator Plan

Meadow forms a large part of South Dublin County Council’s Pollinator Plan. They are currently managing 160ha of long flowering meadows as well as lots of short flowering meadows.

Read about their excellent work as well as some of the challenges they face: https://pollinators.ie/south-dublin-county-councils-pollinator-plan/
9. Biodiversity Transparency and Accountability for Business with the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan 
 
AIPP Business Supporters, for the first time this year, are both reporting (250-words by 30 September 2022) AND mapping on ‘Actions for Pollinators’ – AIPP’s biodiversity-accountability portal. The Pollinator Plan – which is voluntary and free to join - is considered an entry-level into biodiversity on any site and allows large multi-site corporates, SMEs and microenterprises to deliver and then map evidence-based actions – both physical and communication.  
 
AIPP Agri-business Officer, Sarah Kelly said: ‘The new mandatory requirement to report AND map is the perfect ‘measurement’ tool which allows businesses to demonstrate their pollinator-biodiversity credentials. We are really excited to see the extent of pollinator-biodiversity work with which business has been engaged in 2022 and we will publish at the beginning of December. Watch this space!'

REVIEW what Businesses delivered in 2021: https://pollinators.ie/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/AIPP-Business-Supporters-Annual-Review-2021.pdf
 

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