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for the lifecycles of frogs, dragonflies and water beetles, and will also make it easier for creatures like hedgehogs and birds to bathe. Deeper areas (up to 1m) are essential too, as frogs overwinter in the muddy depths, breathing through their skin.The following
queen buff-tailed bumblebee, was examining the compost heap; I guess she was searching out a suitable hibernation site. Every now and then something else would buzz past: rosemary leaf beetles, green shieldbugs and ladybirds were all very active
been chewed.My interest in dead sycamores is in the insects associated with them. There are a whole series of rare beetles that feed on the black soot-like spores of the fungus. The largest is a whopping 4.5 mm long. Next time I pass I'll have to make
over from Europe.This is actually the second Harmonia to arrive 'new' to Britain. The cream-streaked ladybird, H. quadripunctata appeared in the early 1940s, and although it too is a large and obvious beetle, its spread was slower and caused far less
in there. There are no skaters. They were usually the first insects to arrive and we used to have a squadron of them zooming over the surface. This bunch took advantage of a drowning spider. And there are no boatmen or beetles yet either. But Saturday saw
pests for one blog; if we start on lily beetles or capsid bugs then I'll only get depressed.
.Down on the Rye everything is starting to look very autumnal and the leaves are building up into treacherously slippery mounds. The trees still hold some secrets though. In 1767, a 9- or 10-year-old William Blake saw an oak tree full of angels here. The angel oak
isn't very old, it's not more than 20cm in diameter at the base, but the bark is rough and gnarled enough to provide the odd nook and cranny for overwintering ladybirds.Surprisingly, these are not the recent alien invader Harmonia axyridis
pleasing than a plank of wood). The holes need to be at least 10 and preferably 20cm deep, with a diameter of 4-8mm. Mind you, if you live in Leicestershire, drill holes 15mm across and you might get the massive carpenter bee, Xylocopa violacea.
and runs right through until Sunday 14th.I've played a part in organising every show since developing the concept for this live gardening extravaganza back in 1993, and as it enters its 17th year I can honestly say visitors are in for a real treat this week