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Northern Ireland Environment Link Logo
 

News

 

Events

 

Feb 2012 right left

  
01

Eco Schools Celebration Event 2012

Thursday 2nd February
The Canal Court Hotel, Newry
see table above

Glasswork Stained or Otherwise

Friday 3rd February
Monuments and Buildings Record Public Reading Room, Waterman House, Hill Street
Free

Snowdrop Walks

Saturday 4th February
The Argory, Moy
Normal Admission, Members Free

Strangford Lough and Lecale People and Landscape Roadshow

Saturday 4th February
Poratferry – Exploris Aquarium (includes free admission to Exploris)
Free

Be Wild about Wildlife Beginner Birding Seabirds

Sunday 5th February
Murlough NNR
Adult £5

Sunday Snowdrops

Sunday 5th February
Springhill, Moneymore
Normal Admission, Members Free

06

Marine Economy and the Atlantic Area Strategy

Tuesday 7th February
Grand Hotel, Malahide
Free

Stakeholder Roadshows in Greenmount

Tuesday 7th February
Conference Hall, Greenmount Campus, County Antrim
Free

08
09
10

2nd of the Strangford Lough and Lecale People and Landscape Roadshows

Saturday 11th February
St Patrick’s Centre, Downpatrick
Free

Pond Improvements

Sunday 12th February
Lagan Valley Regional Park at Lester’s Dam
Free

13
14

Series of Talks for 2012

Wednesday 15th February
Share Centre, Lisnaskea
No charge, donations welcome

The Impacts of Climate Change on Northern Ireland

Thursday 16th February
Greenmount College, Antrim
Free

Stakeholder Roadshows in Enniskillen

Thursday 16th February
Main Hall, Enniskillen Campus, County Fermanagh
Free

17

Plant a Tree Day

Saturday 18th February
Orlock, Groomsport
No charge, donations welcome

Grass Roots AGM

Saturday 18th February
Newtownbreda Presbyterian Church Hall, Ormeau Road, Belfast
Free

3rd of the Strangford Lough and Lecale People and Landscape Roadshows

Saturday 18th February
Newtownards, Town Hall
Free entry for registerd walkers

Viking Crafts

Saturday 18th February
Down County Museum
£3

Bird Box Day

Sunday 19th February
Springhill, Moneymore
Normal Admission, Members Free

Snowdrop Walk

Sunday 19th February
Downhill Demesne and Hezlett House
Normal Admission, Members Free

Seed Swap Sunday

Sunday 19th February
Redburn Community Centre Jackson’s Road, Holywood
Voluntary Donation of 50p

20

The Impact of Volunteering on Quality of Life

Tuesday 21st February
Training Room, Volunteer Now, 34 Shaftesbury Square, Belfast.
Free

Stakeholder Roadshows in Markethill

Tuesday 21st February
The Courtrooms, Markethill, County Armagh
Free

Practical On farm Renewable Energy event

Wednesday 22nd February
Greenmount Campus

Series of Talks for 2012

Wednesday 22nd February
Bannagh Hall Kesh
No charge, donations welcome

Wildflower Projects, Training Workshop

Wednesday 22nd February
Inverbrena Hall, Strangford
£75 +VAT

RCN Member Training

Wednesday 22nd February
RCN offices, 38a Oldtown Street, Cookstown
Free

Asset Transfer

Thursday 23rd February
Farset International Centre, Springfield Road, Belfast
Free

24

4th of the Strangford Lough and Lecale People and Landscape Roadshows

Saturday 25th February
The Bridge Centre, Killyleagh
Free

Plant you Tree for the Jubilee

Saturday 25th February
Whitehead Diamond Jubilee Wood
Free

Pond Improvements

Sunday 26th February
Dyan Mill near Caledon
Free

Excavations at a newly discovered 16 –17c fort at Ballycarry

Monday 27th February
Lecture Theatre, School of Geography, Elmwood Building
Free

Stakeholder Roadshows in Claudy

Tuesday 28th February
Main Hall, Diamond Centre, Claudy
Free

Belfast, a Child Friendly City

Tuesday 28th February
Belfast City Hall
Free

29
   
NIAF NIAF
EEF NIAF
Climate Northern Ireland NIAF
 

The Humble Bumblebee 20 April 2012

TAKE on the plight of the bumblebee by planting their favourite flowers in your garden

Watching bumblebees buzzing around colourful clumps of flowers in the garden on a warm and sunny day is always enjoyable. Their furry rotund bodies and continual endeavours in search of nectar secure their place among our most endearing and compelling insects.

They also have fascinating social lives and play a crucial role in the overall health of our environment because they are prolific pollinators. Indeed, according to Anthony McCluskey of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, it is perhaps all too easy to underestimate the valuable ecological role played by bumblebees and this is why it is so important that strenuous efforts are focused on their conservation.

There is still much to learn about the natural history of bumblebees but what we do know is that all is not well with our populations and already two species in the UK have become extinct in the last 70 years and others have declined dramatically. Bumblebees are among the flagship creatures of our countryside and are also important from an economic standpoint, with their pollinating activities vital to agriculture and food production. In other words, should our bumblebees disappear, the whole ecosystem starts to collapse with potentially dire consequences.

“The main reasons for bumblebee declines are habitat loss and agricultural intensification, and this is why the focus of so much of our conservation work has been on trying to protect and restore flower–rich landscapes,” McCluskey explains. “In order for bumblebees to thrive we need more patches of wildflowers in field corners, margins, gardens, waste ground and roadside verges.”

There are 19 species in Scotland but in most areas only six are at all common and widespread – the white–tailed, buff–tailed, early, garden, common carder, and red–tailed bumblebees. All are attractive, but the red–tailed bumblebee is particularly so because of the striking contrast between the red on the tip of the abdomen and the shiny blackness of the rest of the body. Another gem is the common carder bee, so named because it knits grass and moss together to make its nest on the ground.

Most bumblebees have a similar social system to honey bees that incorporates workers, drones and a queen. However, instead of the many thousands of individuals found in a typical honey bee hive, bumblebee colonies usually only comprise a few hundred individuals at most. Another key difference is that each colony exists for less than a year and dies out in autumn, with only the young mated queens surviving over the winter in readiness for starting a new colony the following spring, which is often sited underground in a mouse or other hole. A particularly interesting and related group are the cuckoo bumblebees, which like their avian namesakes are social parasites that lay their eggs in the nests of true bumblebees.

The Bumblebee Conservation Trust is keen to see more farmers and landowners doing positive things by managing their land sympathetically for bees. Simple steps can make a big difference, particularly the timing of cutting and grazing of fields in order for plants to flower and produce seed. In the north of Scotland and the Western Isles, for example, the Trust is endeavouring to save one of our rarest species, the great yellow bumblebee, by working with farmers and crofters to raise awareness of its habitat requirements and the types of flowers that will help it survive.

While populations of most bumblebee species have been declining, we can make a big difference by having plants in gardens that bumblebees can use for food. McCluskey says careful planning for a succession of bee–friendly flowers can bring real benefits. “It is important to have suitable flowers from the start of bumblebee active season right until the end,” he says. “For spring, the best are heather, mahonia and lungwort. In early summer, allium, thyme and meadow’s cranesbill are all good, while in late summer lavender, aquilegia, campanula, borage and scabious are attractive.

“Bumblebees are essential parts of our ecosystems, as well as being great pollinators that help us produce a huge variety of food. The good news is that it is easy for gardeners to help bees by making a few changes that should see their gardens buzzing throughout summer.”

www.bumblebeeconservation.org