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Ireland’s 3rd National Biodiversity Action Plan was launched last year to cover the years from 2017 to 2021. It is easy to think that this Action Plan does not affect us here in the suburbs, but suburban gardens are a very important habitat and a haven for many insects, animals and plants. I am particularly thinking of the collapse of our bee and insect population in Ireland.

Insects are in decline and of the 98 Irish wild bee species, one third is endangered. Why should we protect the creepy crawlies which most people don’t like? Insects are important pollinators of our food; they provide food for many birds, bats and small mammals; they provide food for other insects and are decomposers - cleaning up dead matter.

We are constantly cleaning up, spraying, killing ‘weeds’ in the lawn, paving and concreting which leaves no space for wildness. Dandelions, clover and daisies provide food for starving bees. Dandelions are especially good early spring pollinator plants.

Choose flowers for your garden to support the bees, for example, open-centred flowers like, daisies, single roses, asters, buddleia and lavender. The County Dublin Beekeepers’ Association has a good list of bee friendly plants. We are all interconnected. Flowers feed the insects, birds need insects for food, we need insects to pollinate our food. Many of our birds are in decline because of the decline in insects.

Love your local creepy crawlies!!

Carol Newburn