Helping to bring the buzz back into Letterkenny

THERE is a real buzz about Letterkenny this week as more than 100,000 native black honey bees have taken to the skies.
It is part of growing efforts to bring nature back into urban areas that will see beehives placed on flat root roofs around the town to increase biodiversity.
Phase One of the ambitious urban beekeeping project, which was launched by Letterkenny Tidy Towns on Monday, saw a ‘Polly Bug’ caravan housing native black bees installed at the roundabout at Creamery/Keyes Garage.
“The goal is to have one million bees flying the skies of Letterkenny,” Mr Mark Byrne said.
A wildlife ranger in Glenveagh, Mr Byrne also operates Byrnes Mobile Zoo/Irish Wildlife Centre from his home in Carrownasaul, Kilmacrennan.
“To quote Albert Einstein: If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have not more than four years to live,” he said.
Earlier this week, Mr Byrne placed the Polly Bug caravan on the roundabout at Ballyraine and by yesterday 150,000 bees were visiting the site.
“Growing up in Cork I can still remember hearing bees buzzing about as I walked down country boreens but that’s completely gone. Likewise, you used to have to regularly clean insects off the car windscreen but, again, that’s no longer the case.
“We’ve spent millions trying to protect species like the corncrake and yet we’re doing nothing about the pollinators. By bringing bees back into Letterkenny we bring pollination and biodiversity straight away.”
The aim of the project is to bring the native black honey bee back into the Letterkenny area. Phase one is the Polly Bug. Phase two will be to get beehives placed on flat roofs around the town while setting up an apiary consisting of five to ten hives makes up the third phase.
“If we don’t have the pollinators we’ll no longer have our coffee to drink while the kids won’t have chocolate to eat,” said Mark Byrne said.
“Our habitats are disappearing. Corners of fields where tractors turned are all being cleared now.
“But everyone can play their part. The next time you’re cutting your lawn try and leave a small area alone so that different types of flowers can thrive and grow.
“The Polly Bug can accommodate ten full hives and eight nucs. This will bring the pollinators straight to Letterkenny. It only contains three full hives at this stage.
“We will be asking members of the public and private companies to sponsor more beehives,” he added.

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