1. Don’t mow, let it grow!

Reduce mowing to allow native wildflowers like Dandelions, Clover and Birds-foot Trefoil to naturally return over time


  1. Manage native hedgerows for biodiversity

The more blossom your hedgerow has in spring, the better it is for biodiversity. Allow hedges to grow into a natural A-shape profile rather than a neat box shape. Flowers grow on older wood, so avoid cutting annually – cut on a three-year rotation instead to allow them to flower in spring


  1. Plant pollinator friendly trees

Native trees and shrubs such as Willow, Hawthorn, Rowan, Crab Apple and Holly support huge numbers of insects including pollinators. Plant a young tree in the autumn or winter, or grow them from seed


  1. Avoid using insecticides, fungicides and herbicides

These potent chemical cocktails are designed to kill various organisms. One of the best things you can do for pollinators is avoid using them. If you buy plants at a garden centre, ask if they have been treated with chemicals. Even ‘bee friendly’ labelled plants may have been treated with pesticides

  1. Create nesting habitats for pollinators

Wild pollinators nest in hedgerows, wild areas, dry stone walls and even in the ground. To make a nesting habitat for them, just scrape back some bare earth, leave some areas to grow wild, or simply drill holes 10cm deep in unvarnished wood for solitary bees


  1. Choose nectar and pollen-rich plants for your garden

There are plenty of beautiful plants you can choose for your garden that are rich in nectar and pollen. Bidens and Bacopa are great bedding plants for small containers and hanging baskets; and herbs such as Thyme and Rosemary provide food for you as well as for pollinators. Make sure you keep these plants to your garden and don’t plant them in the wider landscape. Outside your garden, the best action for pollinators is to create biodiversity meadows and margins by reducing mowing


  1. Think twice about getting a hive of honeybees

On the island of Ireland, we have one honeybee species and it is not in decline. Most honeybees are ‘domesticated pollinators,’ living in hives and managed by beekeepers. Our 100+ wild bee species are under threat. If we have too many honeybee hives in the landscape, they can compete for food with our struggling wild pollinators. You should only get a honeybee hive if you want to start a new hobby, but it is not the best thing to do for biodiversity


  1. Be careful with wildflower seed mixes

You might be surprised to hear that sowing wildflower seed mixes can be detrimental to local biodiversity. Many wildflower seed mixes contain non-native species, and can inadvertently introduce invasive species. Please avoid using them where possible. If you do decide to sow wildflower seed mixes, keep to garden settings, ensure they are native and of Irish origin, and never use in situations where natural habitat restoration is possible (Don’t mow, let it grow). Alternatively, you could collect and sow seeds from local wildflowers

  1. Don’t install a large bee or insect hotel

Large bee hotels are attractive to humans, but not great for pollinators. They can encourage the spread of disease and attract predators. Avoid anything bigger than an average-sized bird box. There are many other ways to provide nesting habitats for pollinators, such as providing wild areas of undisturbed long grass, and scraping back some bare earth. If you want to make a bee hotel, make sure it is small, and position it away from bird feeders so the insects aren’t easy targets


  1. Spread the word

Many people want to help pollinators and biodiversity, but it can be hard to know where to start. Tell your friends and family about these top 10 ways to help pollinators; join a community group or Tidy Towns; talk to your council, school, college, workplace, or faith community.


(Source: The National Biodiversity Data Centre)