Encourage bumblebees, hoverflies and solitary bees on your farm

Bumblebees, hoverflies and solitary bees provide a valuable service to farmers, pollinating crops and contributing significantly to agricultural productivity. The guides listed below provide information on new ways to provide enough food and shelter for pollinators in a modern farming landscape.

Maintain or plant flowering hedgerows and on rough areas or along watercourses and boundaries

  • Allow hedgerows to flower. Cut on a minimum 3 year cycle
  • Allow at least one whitethorn/hawthorn in each hedgerow to grow into a mature tree

Allow wildflowers to grow around the farm

  • Allow them to flower – cut once a year in autumn.
  • Don’t fertilise these areas and remove toppings
  • Pull or spot treat noxious/injurious weeds in these areas

Provide nesting places for bees

  • Leave long grass below hedgerows, along lanes and in field margins, along banks of ditches and burns
  • Don’t cut these areas between March and October
  • Mining solitary bees require bare earth facing south or east.
  • Scrape top layer of soil and leave a soil bank– (not close to a watercourse)

Minimise artificial fertiliser use (complete an Integrated Pest Management plan)

  • Avoid spreading on field margins buffer strips and below hedgerows
  • Fertiliser prevent the growth of pollinator friendly plants
  • Use clover/peas/beans instead of fertilisers in some areas of the farm

Reduce pesticide use

  • Take care when spraying and avoid the base of hedgerows and headlands
  • Avoid non farmed areas where wildflowers could grow
  • Pull or spot treat where possible to control weeds
  • Avoid spraying on soil banks or stone walls

More information

Northern Ireland

The All Ireland Pollinator Plan:

Information including a 20 page booklet providing information on the actions to protect and encourage pollinators on your farm.

Farmland: Actions to  help pollinators


Scotland Farm Advisory Service:

Practical guides, with information on plant species that will provide food for pollinators throughout the year.

Practical guide for small farms

Practical guide for large farms

See also: The Nature Friendly Farming Network and Nature conservation

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