Hibernating insects

by Pippa Greenwood

I felt like the man on the moon looking down on earth and witnessing a catastrophe.

Spider on webA couple of years ago we replaced our PVC window frames with beautiful wooden ones. And last week I discovered that they have attracted a number of hibernating insects.

As the sun shone for the first time in weeks, I opened all the windows to let some air flow through the house. Suddenly there were golden brown centipedes, spiders, ladybirds and lacewings running about everywhere.

I felt like the man on the moon looking down on earth and witnessing a catastrophe. All the insects were enjoying the shelter offered by our wooden window frames, until I disturbed them, prematurely waking them from their winter sleep.

Having opened the windows, I didn't know whether I should immediately close them and risk crushing any insects, or leave them open to give the critters time to find alternative accommodation.

But it's great to see my windows are serving such a useful purpose - the PVC frames barely attracted any wildlife. It looks like there will be plenty of beneficial predatory insects and arachnids in my garden this year.

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Gardeners' World Web User 30/01/2009 at 14:50

am i being a little dense but i am trying to find reader chat sits where you can put any queries for help and advice

Gardeners' World Web User 30/01/2009 at 14:53

And I thought you were a nice person! No not really Pippa. It's great to hear that your lovely new windows are attracting such diverse wildlife. I had PVC windows fitted a couple of years ago & although they are easy to maintain. I can't think of many other advantages over wood. They feel cold, where as wood gives a cosy feeling to a room. The hibernating critters seem to agree.

Gardeners' World Web User 30/01/2009 at 22:28

Red Admiral butterflys always hibernated in my small bedroom until I had it made into a bathroom and the air brick was changed for an electric extractor, I have purchased some butterfly plants to encourage them to the garden once again as I don't see them as often as I'd like to.

Gardeners' World Web User 05/02/2009 at 09:08

I have to say that it's mice we have to deal with rather than insects! We've had a few of them over the winter.

Gardeners' World Web User 06/02/2009 at 17:38

If ladybirds like their hibernation site they (or their offspring) tend to go back to the same place year after year, which is fascinating! So the same might happen next year. I once worked in an office in a very old house and every winter, if you opened the windows (often to let hibernating queen wasps out too),I was showered with hibernating ladybirds. Many were sosqueezed into the frames it was difficult to close the window without squashing them. Try making a ladybird hotel up in the window, away from sunlight. Upside down paper cup stuffed with shreddings (a bit like a dahlia earwig trap outside) often works, but they may not move in now, might work next autumn. Are they harlequins or "ordinary". Might be worth checking the ladybird website!

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