Do you remember all the insects you used to see on car windscreens when you were younger? Where have they all gone? Next time you drive down the motorway, inspect your windscreen… it will be clean. Globally, the honeybee and insect population are in freefall, with over 75% of the biomass of our insects gone. It is a crisis.
Protecting the insects and bees we rely on for our food is vital and needs to be central to any modern farming model and as gardeners and farmers is it not our role to not only produce food but protect nature too? There are so many positive steps that we as farmers and gardeners can take in the year ahead to improve biodiversity and help the bees and insects. Here are some of the things we do on our farm, and you too can do in your garden.
We purposely leave brambles along all our walls, their flowers are an early food source for the bees (as are dandelion flowers), we leave wild areas where plants can go to flower. Obviously, we are not spraying any bee killing chemicals, and this means that the bees and so many other insects have a better chance of surviving and thriving.
But it was when we started planting wildflower strips that we noticed an astounding level of bee life. There were honeybees and several different types of bumble bee, and all sorts of other flying insects. We had created a floral reef for bees! On a sunny evening there were thousands of bees and insects humming away, and it was when we stopped and listened that we truly appreciated the magnificent of these little flying creatures.
Read the full article in The Spring Edit of GalwayNow, on shelves now.