Wildlife Wednesday: It’s National Insect Week!

National Insect Week - Harlequin Ladybird

Garden invader: the Harlequin ladybird making itself at home on our apple trees.

If you love all things creepy, crawly, buzzing and flying then you’ll be pleased to know it’s National Insect Week! If you don’t then now is the perfect time to to learn to at least appreciate, if not love, our wriggly friends.

Celebrating insects and the many hidden benefits they bring us, National Insect Week throws into the spotlight all those tiny beasts that so often slip under our radar or are dismissed as pests or scary nuisances. It’s also a perfect excuse to get your kids outside again – hand them an ID book, camera or smartphone (more on this below) and send them out to grub for grubs for an hour or few.

We’ve been doing exactly that and with my trusty bug hunter at my side, I’ve been surveying what creepy-crawlies we have in our garden. It’s amazing how interesting the very little things around us are when you take a good close look at them and how many hidden dramas are unfolding under our unseeing eyes. We have found a lot of invasive harlequin ladybirds in our garden and been recording the finds on the ladybird survey app (see below) – until now I had not paid much attention to what species of ladybird we have, assuming they were all native. Roo has been getting involved too and spotted the good old native seven spot in our local fields – good to see they are still in the area.  We have more insect related activities lined up for later in the week too, so watch this space!

If you’re in need of some inspiration on how to get involved in National Insect Week then here are a few more ideas and don’t forget to add your own ideas or wildlife post to the comments and linky below to share some more!

  • Take part in an insect survey: you can count bees, butterflies, ladybirds and not only will you be able to learn new species and find out what’s in your garden but you will also be contributing to nationwide surveys establishing the health of our insects. Most are available for both Apple and Android but you can always fill in your results onlie if you don’t trust your kids with have a smartphone.
  • Join in with a local event: take your bug finds along to RHS Wisley to be identified, take a bug hunt in the woods with the Forestry Commission, take a guided nature walk or visit the insect zone at the zoo. There are loads of events on all over the country this week so get involved! You can find details of your local events here.
  • Build a bug hotel: the RSPB gives you all the information you need to create a 5* insect retreat in your back-garden.
  • Get gardening: don your gloves, grab your trowel and give your garden a wildlife make-over. Try out these tips for butterfly friendly gardening or check out the National Insect Week website’s gardening page for plenty of ideas.
  • Shake a tree: grab an old white sheet and lay it under a tree. Give the branch above it a gentle shake and look to see what insects have been living above your heads all this time!
  • Insect top trumps: Get your kids to draw pictures of the insects they find on small squares of card. On the back, get them to find out fun facts about their insects in the form of top trumps e.g. how big is it, how many other bugs does it eat, does it sting etc. then get playing!


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