Biodiversity – one simple thing a company can do
Did you know that Ireland’s butterfly population halved in recent times? Or that Irish Beekeepers are routinely experiencing annual colony loss of over a third?
It’s no secret that nowadays bees and other pollinators are increasingly threatened. It may surprise you that urban businesses and residents are ideally placed to help them out with even the simplest act of planting native wild flowers.
Since rural areas are becoming increasingly occupied with monocultural food growing practices, the resulting lack of biodiversity leads to gluts of forage for pollinators, followed by scarcity. Ironically it is in the urban and suburban green spaces, including rooftop gardens, that these vital insects find enough variety in plant life so as to forage all season long, before the winter sets in.
Businesses can help by:
- Leaving the lawn grow to allow Clover and Dandelion to flower – these are vital early forage in the spring for the bees.
- Consider alternative lawns of clover or chamomile to create a feast for bees.
- The Shrubbery will be alive with the buzz of pollinators where Fuchsia, Blackberry, Berberis and Gorse are planted, to name a few.
- Plant Native Wildflowers on your roof, in the flowerbeds, in the window pots in the sunniest parts. Consider converting part of your lawn into a wildflower meadow. Bees and other pollinators love broad, open native flowers such as Cosmos, Honesty, Marigold, daisies, Borage. See WildFlowers.ie in pots or beds.
- The most valuable plants for bees are those that flower in late autumn, winter and early spring, including Laurustinus (Viburnun tinus) and the Winter Heath (Erica carnea) ‘Springwood White’. Bees use mild periods in winter to forage for whatever nectar and pollen is available – these plants are invaluable to them at that time.
- Eliminating the use of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides in any green spaces. These harm the bees, especially any systemic pesticides.
For a more detailled information on gardening for pollinators, see these links.
Modest but significant measures such as planting native wildflowers or putting in place bee-friendly shrubbery helps businesses beautify their premises while providing valuable forage for local pollinators and contributing to overall biodiversity in their locality. Business often talk about how to ‘generate buzz’ about their services. Here’s one way.
Mark O’Sullivan is a core volunteer at the Heritage Community Garden and Apiary, Dublin 4
firstname.lastname@example.org – www.theheritagegarden.com