Tag Archives: insects

Huge moth that went ‘extinct’ 50 years ago is back in Britain

The Independent reports a striking blue moth that was thought to have gone extinct in Britain 50 years ago has now recolonised and is breeding, conservationists have revealed. The Clifden nonpareil – whose name means “beyond compare” – is one of the largest and most spectacular moths native to the UK.  

It has a wingspan that can reach almost 12cm and a bright blue stripe across its black hindwings, which gives rise to an alternative name of the blue underwing. These moths have always been rare in the UK. 


Clifden nonpareil photo by Tony Morris under creative commons.

National Trust defends killing wasps in its cafe despite catastrophic insect declines

The Independent reports the National Trust has defended killing pollinators despite catastrophic declines, describing its wasp traps as a “last resort” to keep visitors safe.

Matt Shardlow, chief executive of conservation organisation Buglife, has previously advised the National Trust on this issue and says he gets calls from people “outraged” that public sites are using traps.

He told The Independent that leaving out traps out actually increases the number of wasps.

Photo by zaphad1 under creative commons.

Bees kept for honey are killing wild species by spreading disease

The Independent report nineteen per cent of flowers sampled near domestic beehives had viruses on them. Beekeepers could be fuelling the worrying decline of wild bees, new research suggests.  Wild bumblebees can contract diseases from domestic honeybees if they share the same flowers, according to new US research which suggests domestic beehives should be kept out of areas home to particularly vulnerable pollinators.

Butterfly previously extinct in England bred in forest

The BBC report a butterfly that became extinct in England more than 40 years ago has been bred for the first time in a secret forest location. 

The chequered skipper was always scarce but died out in 1976 due to changes to woodland management. The new offspring are from Belgian adults released in Rockingham Forest, Northamptonshire last year.

Chequered skipper photo by John Flannery under creative commons 

Wild flowers turn the A630 into a bee road

The Times reports a strip of central reservation in an industrial zone in a rugged former mining town is not the first place you’d imagine to find an oasis of nature but that is what Rotherham has managed with a “river of flowers” along eight miles of roads. A blend of cornflowers, poppies, fairy toadflax, marigolds and more have washed an otherwise urban landscape with a spray of colour.

The project has been widely praised on social media, not just for its appearance but also for its help to the ailing bee population, as well as the local authority’s budget, which has saved £23,000 by no longer having to regularly cut back the plant life.

Bug hunt: Volunteers needed to spot insect’s ‘spittle’

The BBC News ask ever seen a blob of foam on a plant and wondered how it got there? The frothy spittle, sometimes called cuckoo spit, is actually a telltale sign that an insect known as the spittlebug is feeding on a plant.

Scientists are calling for thousands of volunteers to help record sightings of spittle and spittlebugs across the UK. The information will be used to map the distribution of the insect, in a pre-emptive strike against a deadly plant disease.

Photo of spittle from spittlebug by John Douglas under creative commons.

Dozens of bee species extinct or on verge of disappearing across UK

Many species of bee are on the brink of extinction in parts of the UK – and some types have been lost entirely, a report has found.

Climate change, habitat loss, pollution and disease are threatening the pollinators, the analysis of 228 species concluded.  Many are battling to keep up with the changing face of their landscape and increasingly hot weather.

It discovered that 17 species were regionally extinct – including the Great Yellow Bumblebee, the Potter Flower Bee and the Cliff Mason Bee – with 25 types threatened and another 31 of conservation concern.

The bee’s pollinating services are worth £690 million a year to the UK economy.

London to build seven-mile ‘bee corridor’ to boost dwindling numbers of pollinators

The INDEPENDENT reports more than 97 per cent of UK wildflower meadows have disappeared since Second World War. A London council is growing a seven-mile long “bee corridor” of wildflowers in an effort to boost the numbers of pollinating insects this summer.

Brent Council in north London is sowing 22 wildflower meadows in the borough’s parks and open spaces, which together will form 50,000sq m of new flowering spaces and stretch seven miles in length. The council said it believed the initiative to be the first of its kind in the capital.

‘Bee saviour’ sugar cards could save starving insects

The Guardian reports if you’ve ever felt a pang of pity for a starving bee struggling on the pavement in front of you, then help may soon be at hand. Or more precisely, in your wallet.

A community development worker has invented a credit card-style reviver for bees containing three sachets of sugar solution, which can be placed beside the insect to feed it.

Dan Harris, 40, is now crowdfunding to produce the “Bee Saviour” cards after the success of his prototype, with community groups and businesses in his local city of Norwich, including the Book Hive bookshop and a local pub, pledging to stock the £4 bee revivers.

Each card contains three indentations containing a beekeepers’ formula, secured by foil-backed stickers which can be peeled off.

Photo by Jim Smart under creative commons.

Help with Bee fly Watch 2019

The arrival of spring means the return of bee flies . And that means Bee fly Watch 2019 has begun!

Above is the dark-edged bee fly, photographed in Normandy a couple of weeks ago.

You can help these fascinating furry flies by taking part in this survey.  Found out how to get involved on this page on the Dipterists Forum.

They will be on the wing through to June. You can see them often hovering over flowers and using their long proboscis to feed on nectar.

And please remember to let us know of any interesting sightings you have in Normandy as well.