National Insect Week returns in 2020
One of the great things about insects, and invertebrates more generally, is that they can be found almost everywhere. Even in the 2 x 3m concrete jungle that is our yard we’ve got Marmalade Hoverflies -Episyrphus balteatus - feeding on some rocket that I’ve allowed to flower. For more information on this and the other 270 species of hoverfly in Britain see the Hoverfly Recording Scheme website.
I occasionally get Hawthorn Shieldbugs - Acanthosoma haemorrhoidale - coming in with the washing (see the fantastic British Bugs website for everything you ever wanted to know about true bugs), and I’ve found a fair few woodlice sheltering in my wellies when I’ve accidentally left them outside.
This goes to show how much you can find even in a small area, so I’d encourage you to get out of your house and see what you can find. If you’ve got a camera, take a photograph and post it on the iSpot website, a great site set up as part of the OPAL project, where people will help you identify the things you have found.
There are lots of contenders here – possibly the pretty red and blue rove beetle Paederus – very, very tiny amounts of its poison have been used to cure chronic ulceration in people. Ladybirds are pretty poisonous (and pretty) and can bleed foul-tasting poisonous brightly coloured blood from their knees.