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The warm humid evenings of late July and early August have brought out the flying ants again. These are the very common black pavement ant, Lasius niger. A few years ago we had a nest in one of our large plant pots and it was amazing to see
, and my brain just could not cope with the notion that a woodpecker could be up there.I now know (I've looked it up in books) that these glorious birds are after insects in the turf, as well as dead wood, and that ants are a firm favourite. So I
scale, Parthenolecanium corni, is a beast of curious form indeed. It hardly looks like a living creature at all, and more like a small wart on the plant stem. I noticed them for the first time when photographing ants running up and down the branches
the middle names, which we had to guess. It was all very tricky and they thought I was joking when I spelled out …A…N…T…. It took some vigorous arm waving to finish the message …O…N…Y…above the laughter.
Last weekend was the 2013 Garden BioBlitz, an online Twitter-originated collaboration to observe, identify and record garden wildlife. There is a special #gbb13 hashtag on Twitter, and a series of iSpot pages specially to put experts on hand to help