Ballygowan creates buzz in helping bees

Britvic Ireland’s Ballygowan facility in Newcastle West, Co. Limerick has become an official area of conservation for the native Irish honey bee. The commitment fell on World Bee Day, which aims to raise awareness on the importance of pollinators and their contribution to sustainable development. The move makes Ballygowan the only bottled water in Ireland that has made such a commitment in tandem with the National Irish Honey Bee Society (NIHBS).

The site is the biggest industry in Limerick to have a conservation area with over 40 acres of protected land, part of which houses five native Irish honey bee colonies as part of conserving the species. Bees play a major role in the plant and crop pollination. However, research by the University of Galway in 2023 found that the levels of the native black honeybee are in stark decline due to cross-breeding with non-native imports, known as hybridisation.

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The research indicates that the rate of hybridisation has risen from five per cent to over 12 per cent across five years. To support the Native Irish Honey Bee’s survival and future in the area, Britvic Ireland expanded long flowering meadows on the site from just over 2,700 metres squared to nearly 23,000 metres squared in 2022 and has allowed all meadows to grow year-round with overgrown shrubs cut back to promote fresh growth and wildflowers.

Pictured above are Kevin Donnelly, managing director, Britvic Ireland with beekeeper Cathy Cooper and Dr Keith Browne at Ballygowan’s Newcastle West facility, now an official area of conservation for the native black honey bee 




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