The Irish Pollinator Initiative aims to drive pollinator conservation through better data. It is entirely reliant on the generosity of volunteer recorders who get involved and submit data on Ireland’s bees and hoverflies.
You don’t have to be an expert to contribute. There are a series of ways to get involved:
1. You can submit casual sightings of bees and hoverflies. These are things you see in your garden, or while you are out and about. All records are very valuable, regardless of how common the species. If you are confident of your identification please submit your sighting on-line or through the smart phone recording app. See submit records for more details. If you would like to email a photograph for validation before submitting the record please send it directly to Úna FitzPatrick at email@example.com
2. Take part in the Bumblebee Monitoring Scheme. This is our flagship scheme and involves recording bumblebees along a 1-2km fixed route walk of your own choosing once a month from March until October. If you have an hour to spare once a month please consider taking part in this scheme. It provides extremely important data on bumblebee populations, and is used to track changes in wild pollinators across the Irish landscape. Full details on the scheme and how to get involved are here
3. Have a look at our 10 pollinator challenges and see how many you can complete. They vary from looking out for new species to making your garden more pollinator friendly. More details.
4. Take part in Rare Species Watch and help us track two of our most endangered bumblebees, the Great yellow bumblebee and the Shrill carder bee. Can you help by visiting historical locations to check if the species is still there? More details.
5. Learn to identify some solitary bee species. There are 76 different species of solitary bee in Ireland. Identifying solitary bees to species level generally involves taking a specimen and using a stereo-microscope along with a specialist key. However, there are a small number of species that can be identified in the field by sight. Learn to recognise some of these species and submit your sightings. More details.
6. Record your first bumblebee sightings of the year. In the long term, tracking the earliest dates on which different bumblebee species are spotted each year will provide data on how bees are reacting to changing climates. Check the earliest dates each species has been sighted and submit your first sightings each year. Can you beat any Irish records? More details.
7. Help us look for new populations of very rare species. Currently we are asking volunteers to check their gardens for new populations of the Tawny mining bee. The Tawny Mining bee (Andrena fulva) was though to be extinct for 87 years in Ireland. It was rediscovered in two locations in 2012 and another two locations in 2013. It is a very distinctive solitary bee species. Can you help us find new populations? More details
8. Help us track expansion in the Mountain Bumblebee. The Mountain Bumblebee was first recorded in Ireland in the 1970’s from the Dublin/Wicklow Mountains, and then from Northern Ireland in the 1980’s. It is currently expanding its range – submit your sightings so that we can track its movement. More details.
9. Make your garden more pollinator friendly. More details.