Farmers who are in the Green Low-Carbon Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS) have until Sunday, July 31, to have works completed on their bat boxes, bird boxes and sand/boxes for bees.

The aim of having bat boxes, bird boxes and bee boxes on the farm is to improve biodiversity in the farming landscape and replace habitats lost through changes in farming practice.

The Department has advised farmers that bat boxes cannot be on the same tree/stake/post as bird or bee boxes.

Bird boxes

Bird boxes must face north or north east and be placed over 2.5m above ground level. The tree or post it is on should also be marked.

There are two types of bird boxes: open-fronted and the nest box with hole.

Open-fronted are suitable for the robin, wren and pied wagtail. Meanwhile, there are different size specifications for the nest box with hole:

For blue tits and coal tits the nest box should have a 25mm hole. For the tree sparrow and great tit, 28mm will suffice, the house sparrow needs a diameter of 32mm. For starlings, a 45mm opening is required.

Bat boxes

Bat boxes are used between April and October and provide alternative roosts for bats.

Teagasc advises the following regarding the placement of bat boxes:

  • Place three boxes together at each location – tree, post or farm building;
  • Over 4m off the ground as bats need height to fly;
  • On a tree in south east, south west and north directions;
  • On trees with few low branches;
  • On south-facing buildings; and,
  • Away from lights.

Bee boxes

When it comes to bee boxes, they should be placed on a tree or post and at least 40cm off the ground.

They should also be protected from livestock. In the case of sand for bees, 1t of builders sand should be placed in each location.

Again, it is advised that the sand is fenced off from livestock and farmers should keep the receipts for buying the sand.