MORE THAN a third of Northern Ireland’s bee species are under threat of extinction, province environment minister Edwin Poots has warned, as he launched two new initiatives aimed at protecting pollinators such as honeybees and hoverflies.

The UK Pollinator Monitoring Scheme and All-Ireland Pollinator Plan 2021-2025 will allow communities, farmers and businesses to provide data and increase pollinator-friendly land management techniques.

Launching the initiatives at the premises of bee keeper Sam Baird in County Down, Mr Poots said: “Today is World Bee Day and it’s important that we raise awareness of our struggling bee population. Pollinators are declining at a worrying rate. This is mainly due to the reduction in the areas where they can nest and the amount of food our landscape provides for them. In particular, over a third of our bee species are threatened with extinction. That alarming statistic has led to numerous government and non-government organisations coming together to address the problem."