Criteria for Farmers

Before you score your farm, you must create nesting habitat for mining and cavity nesting solitary bees.

Of the 99 wild bee species in Ireland, 77 are solitary bees. Solitary bees prefer to live alone (hence their name) instead of in the big colonies associated with honey and bumblebees. Solitary bees are harmless and not aggressive, and are excellent pollinators. They nest in two main ways; mining bees burrow into the ground, while cavity nesting bees use existing holes in hollow stems, wood or stone walls.


1) Cavity Bee Nest Sites


There are 15 species of cavity nesting bees in Ireland.The nest sites above were created by farmers in Kildare by simply drilling holes into wood. The covered holes indicate that the bees have nested!


2) Mining Bee Nest Sites


Over 60% of Ireland’s bees are mining bees. These bees need access to bare soil in order to dig their nests. Areas of bare soil can range from large to small. Depending on the size of the area it will need to be maintained at least  once a year. Simply clear any vegetation that has grown by manually scraping back the area to bare soil. It is best to this in late autumn to avoid disturbing any nesting bees


Suitable nesting sites are a known limiting factor for some of our wild bees and therefore it has been decided through expert consultation that, eight separate locations of bare soil and three bee boxes or equivalent must be created per 35 hectares of farmland.


Click here for information on how to create nesting habitats for wild bees.

Other useful resources:

What’s the buzz about bees

Hedgerows: Lifelines on Farmland

Managing Healthy Hedgerows

Farmland Actions to help pollinators



How to Guide: Manage Hedgerows for pollinators

How to Guide: Creating Wild Pollinator Nesting Habitat

Farmland Guidelines