How Can Local Communities Help Pollinators?

Communities_CoverWe need pollinators to grow our own fruits and vegetables, to supply affordable produce and for the wildflowers that bring colour to our landscape. Unfortunately our bees and other pollinating insects are in decline because they don’t have enough food to eat or places to live.

Local communities can lead the way in creating an Ireland where pollinators can  thrive. To find out how to make your community pollinator friendly, download our Local Community Guidelines:

Local Communities: Actions to help pollinators

Aimed for:  TIDYTOWNS, Keep Northern Ireland beautiful,  local wildlife groups, historic graveyard groups, college campuses,  etc.


Features of our Local Community Guidelines: 
  • Range of 24 low/no-cost pollinator friendly actions provided to suit all local communities
  • Pollinator-friendly planting lists
  • Important advice for purchasing wildflower seed mixes for pollinators
  • Information about our pollinators, why they are declining and what they need to survive
  2016-05-07 14.58.38      Allium_Peter Cuthbert     Volunteers at Moneypenny's Lock_Heather Crawford     Pollinator friendly annual planting_Peter Cuthbert

Have you taken any pollinator friendly actions in your local community? If so, log them on our online mapping system, Actions for Pollinators, to help track the build-up of food and shelter in our landscape (Instructions for logging a Local Community (Tidy Towns) site).


5 Examples of Pollinator Friendly Actions for Local Communities

1. Protect the pollinator habitats you already have (Action 1): Are there flowering hedgerows in your community? What about areas with Bramble and Ivy, or patches of wildflowers? Protect these places which already provide critical food and nesting sites for pollinators.

2. Reduce mowing to let wildflowers bloom (Actions 2-4): The most cost effective way to provide more food for pollinators is to Large carder bumblebee ©John Breenreduce mowing and let wildflowers bloom amongst the longer grass. See our guidelines for specific suggestions.

3. Pollinator friendly annuals and perennials (Actions 7&8): Plants like Geraniums, Begonias and Busy Lizzy are of little value to pollinators. Try mixing in some pollinator friendly perennials when carrying out ornamental planting (see planting lists in the guidelines).

4. Provide nesting habitats for pollinators (Actions 12-15): Bee hotels are excellent educational IMG_9956tools but don’t forget to provide nesting habitat for ground nesting bees as well. See the guidelines for more information.

5. Put up signage (Action 20): If your community is doing something for pollinators consider putting up signage to educate the public. Download our signage template below.

IMPORTANT: When taking action for pollinators, only plant native wildflower seed collected and grown in Ireland. Do NOT plant invasive species.


Case Studies: Local Communities

Case study # 1:  Bee Garden at Moneypenny’s Lock, Newry Canal


Group: Inland Waterways Association of Ireland Newry Portadown branch

County: Armagh

Overgrown area adjacent to Moneypenny’s Lock on the historic Newry Canal transformed into a bee-friendly garden. Invasive species removed from an unused site and area converted to a pollinator friendly garden that benefits the local community. For more information, click here.


Case study # 2:  Tidy Towns Special Pollinator Award 2016 National Champions: “Monaghan: Trees for Bees – Biodiversity Town and the Push for Pollinators”

Group: Monaghan Tidy Towns

County: Monaghan


As part of their Dispersed Urban Orchard project, Monaghan Tidy Towns purchased heritage varieties of fruit trees from SeedSavers and sold them for a fiver to Monaghan Town residents. The locations of all planted trees were mapped by the group to ensure that a network of pollinator friendly flowering resources provided food  throughout the whole town.  For more information, click here.

Case study # 3: Tidy Towns Special Pollinator Award 2016 National Champions: “Birr Tidy Towns Pollinator Plan”

Group: Birr Tidy Towns

County: Offaly

Birr Tidy Towns carried out more than a dozen pollinator friendly actions from the Pollinator Plan’s Local Community Guidelines. The group recognised and protected the pollinator habitats they already had, reduced mowing, carried out pollinator friendly planting, providing nesting resources for all types of bees, reduced pesticide use and helped raise awareness.  For more information, click here.


Other Pollinator Plan Resources for Local Communities

English signage template (PDF)                 English signage template (JPEG)

Bilingual signage template (PDF)               Bilingual signage template (JPEG)

  • TIDY TOWNS Signage: We have a 1×1 ft sign specifically for Tidy Towns groups participating in the Special Pollinator Award. Download the bilingual version for use in the Republic of Ireland here.

NOTES FOR USING SIGNAGE TEMPLATES: If using these signage templates in the Republic of Ireland, the bilingual version has been deemed compliant by An Coimisinéir Teanga with the Regulations made under the Official Languages Act. If adding text or logos there is no requirement to translate the name of a private company or organization and logos are also exempted (however translation of straplines is usually required). Care should be used when displaying a Public Body’s name on signage to ensure that it is in compliance with the language Regulations.

  • Pollinator Posters: We have posters of the bumblebee and solitary bee life cycles. You can download the links below to print A3 posters of these educational infographics.

Bumblebee Life Cycle Poster

Solitary Bee Life Cycle Poster