BAM Successfully Transplant Hundreds of Rare Bee Orchids

BAM has transplanted hundreds of rare orchids in what's believed to have been one of Ireland's largest plant transplant operations. 


A rare flower in Cork county is on the move.

BAM has transplanted hundreds of rare orchids in what's believed to have been one of Ireland's largest plant transplant operations. 

The relocation of the striking specimens of bee orchid was performed by BAM as part of the enabling infrastructure work it is doing for Cork County Council on a large site earmarked for housing at Water Rock near Midleton in East Cork. 

The remarkable bee orchid, which mimics the patterning and scent of a female bee, first appeared in Irish records in 1793 but in the two centuries since, there were just 479 records of it in the landscape. 

That all changed in June 2020 when environmentalists discovered at least 363 individual bee orchids on the verges of a road in the town. The discovery came about a year after the town adopted a managed scheme to support biodiversity under the All Ireland Pollinator Plan.

Experts described the recording as described as spectacular as the species is usually found in botanical hotspots such as the Burren in Clare and Bull Island in Dublin — and said it is proof that pollinator plans work.

While not currently a protected species in Ireland, BAM understood the value of the orchids to the local ecosystem, recognised the success of the pollinator plan, and worked with Cork County Council to transplant the orchids to a safe location along the Midleton to Youghal greenway.

Alasdair Henderson

Alasdair Henderson, Executive Director, BAM Ireland

“Species loss is a serious threat to our planet and our industry can play an important role in reversing this trend. An integral part of our sustainable strategy for 2023 is to have an overall positive biodiversity impact across all of our projects by 2030.

“This transplantation project is a great example of how BAM can achieve this by working together with Cork County Council and the people of Water Rock to preserve and enhance the biodiversity of their community.”

BAM was appointed to deliver the Water Rock works near Midleton last year which includes the construction of approximately 1.2km of a single-carriageway link road and approximately 300m of adjoining roads. 

The roads will include a surface water drainage and attenuation system, upgrading of the existing Cork-Midleton/ Midleton Northern Relief Road junction, services, public lighting, and landscaping. 

Chief Executive of Cork County Council Tim Lucey highlighted how it is possible to deliver large scale projects in conjunction with adhering to pollinator friendly practices: 

“The Water Rock development is a strategically important project for Midleton and the East Cork area. It is wonderful to see how a project of this scale can be delivered in conjunction with a sustainable and considerate biodiversity approach and, thanks to the support of BAM, every effort is being made to ensure that we help reverse the decline of our pollinator species.”