Catering for the birds and the bees – in Boyle!

Boyle Men’s Shed has been providing bird, bat and bee boxes to farmers countrywide recently, under an agri-environment scheme.

  Glas introduced a scheme whereby farmers would receive a top-up on their payments for hanging 15 bat and bird boxes around their farms.

  Making such boxes seemed an ideal project for the 45 members of Boyle Men’s Shed, a group where men gather for work on meaningful projects, at their own pace, in their own time and in the company of other men.

  About ten weeks ago, Martin Connolly, its chairman, placed an advertisement for them on the website DoneDeal.ie. He was inundated with responses and, since then, the group’s members have been kept busy.

  “We had a couple of farmers coming from as far as Birr down to us,” Mr. Connolly, who lives at Great Meadow in Boyle, said.

  “We would make the wooden boxes in the shed (beside the courthouse in Boyle) and sell them on to farmers. We are non-profitable, so we did them cheaper than anyone else…to give farmers a bit of a hand.

  “We made over 200 and sold them to farmers all over the country.”

  The attractive boxes, which cost €250 for 30, are designed to attract various species on to farms, as Martin explained.

  “It’s to attract wildlife back into their areas, including solitary bees. They pollinate eight times more than honeybees, so farmers are trying to get them back into hedgerows for their crops,” he said.

  “The idea behind attracting more bats is that it keeps insects that they don’t want down.”

  The income yielded from the boxes has been spent on excursions for Boyle Men’s Shed members, such as fishing and clay pigeon shooting.