They are among the planet’s smallest creatures, yet they have the power to change the world. Insects pollinate our crops, play a critical role in our ecosystems and provide food for many animals.
From microscopic bedbugs to giant cockroaches, there are millions of species of insects on Earth – approximately 10,000 in every square metre of habitable land. In the UK alone there are more than 24,000 different species. In short, it’s very difficult to get away from them.
So it’s no surprise a whole range of fascinating species are on our doorstep. Just look in your garden, says an expert who has been encouraging wildlife into her’s for more than 30 years.
Vanessa Cook, from Stillingfleet Lodge Garden and Nursery, is celebrating National Insect Week with a Wildlife Day on Sunday, June 29. “It’s a real coup that we have not one, but two, of the country’s top spider and mini-bug specialists here to lead spider and bug adventures in the garden,” says Vanessa.
“Doctor Roger Key is an entomologist and Doctor Geoff Oxford, from the University of York, writes books, papers and lectures on spiders. Both are passionate, informed and engaging, particularly with children, about a subject that either fascinates you or gives you the creepy-crawlies.”
Joining Vanessa and the Doctors are the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, the Yorkshire Butterfly Trust, the Selby and Yorkshire Wildlife Trusts, the Wolds Barn Owl Group, the British Arachnological Society, the British Trust for Ornithology, the Yorkshire Mammal Society and the Owl and Hawk Trust.
Between 10am and 5pm there will be spider walks, bug hunts, moth-trapping, bird-ringing, owl pellet dissections, bee-identification sessions and specialists offering advice on gardening for wildlife.
The Stillingfleet garden, six miles south of York, supports many insects – 144 species of moths have been found there.
Stillingfleet Lodge Gardens and Nurseries open to the public from April to the end of September every Wednesday and Friday and the first and third Saturday and Sunday of every month from 1pm-5pm.