There are concerns that the numbers of pollinating insects such as bees and flies are declining, but we need much more data to be able to track changes in abundance. You can help by doing a Flower-Insect Timed Count (FIT Count) which is designed to collect new data on the numbers of flower-visiting insects.

How to take part

FIT Counts are very simple – you watch a patch of flowers for 10 minutes and count how many insects visit and then submit your data online. The scheme runs from April to September. Your location can be anywhere e.g., garden, farm, park, school. Doing this across various action sites and then repeating through the year and across future years will show you the impact of management changes on insect numbers and diversity.

Why insects are important on farmland

  • Reinforcing Ireland’s vital green image in premium markets.
  • Contributing towards Bord Bía’s Sustainability Criteria, a component of their Quality Assurance schemes.
  • Maximising production value via increased yields of crops.
  • Saving time and money in many cases.
  • Providing additional benefits such as improving natural pest control or protecting watercourses by creating pesticides/fertiliser buffer zones.
  • Keeping farming options open for your children and their children’s children. The value of many pollinator dependent crops has increased by approximately 20% just in the past decade. Given our changing climate and the volatility in global markets it is hard to predict the most profitable way for future generations to farm. In the future, pollination services may be even more important to how your land is farmed.
  • Maintaining a healthy and sustainable farm ecosystem and ensuring your land remains in as good, or better, a natural state as when you got it.

– Farmland: actions to help pollinators. All-Ireland Pollinator Plan, Guidelines 5. National Biodiversity Data Centre Series No.14, Waterford. September 2017

For more details on FIT Counts and resources available to you please see https://pollinators.ie/record-pollinators/fit-count/