Farmers on the Mullet Peninsula will be incentivised to create habitats for the great yellow bumblebee as part of a project intended to conserve the rare bee species in the Mayo area.
The project will seek to increase the abundance of species-rich grasslands favourable to the reproduction and survival of the great yellow bumblebee, with the project’s ultimate aim of increasing the population and range of species.
The initiative will also attempt to facilitate easier movement of the pollinator between separate farms and land blocks by improving the connectivity of different pollinator-friendly areas.
Red clover, kidney vetch and common knapweed have been named as some of the grassland plant species that will be most helpful to the project co-ordinators’ efforts and it is likely that the farmers participating will be advised on management practices that will encourage their growth.
According to the project team, some of the most helpful management practices may be as simple as allowing sections of farmland with the species present to grow undisturbed.
The project’s launch comes after recent research has revealed vital information on the great yellow bumblebee’s presence in Mayo.
Much of this work was carried out by UCD wildlife conservation and management post-graduate student Niamh Phelan.
Phelan’s research has steered the direction that the project team will take, particularly regarding the emphasis of networking pollinator-friendly habitats.
The study of the rare bee determined species-rich grasslands and coastal habitats to be essential areas for priority action in the project’s efforts to increase the range over which the great yellow bumblebee can be found.
The incentives will be provided under the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) project model, which emphasises collaboration in pilot environmental initiatives, such as the one announced for the great yellow bumblebee.
The project is a collaboration between Mayo County Council and Baile Slachtmhar Bhéal an Mhuirthead (Belmullet Tidy Towns).