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Celebrating creepy crawlies

Last modified: 18 June 2012

Southern Hawker Dragonfly

Next week is National Insect Week 2012 [25 June – 1 July], organised by the Royal Entomological Society to give an insight to the fascinating and diverse world of insects and to raise awareness of the important role they play in our environment.

The biennial initiative is designed to show why insects are one of the most varied and important groups of animals, with hundreds of species often being found in any back garden.

National Insect Week is supported by the RSPB and more than 50 other national partner organisations, all concerned about natural history and biodiversity.

Of the 13,400 species recorded on RSPB Reserves, more than half are insects. All the native British species of dragonflies, damselflies, cockroaches and earwigs can be found on RSPB reserves, as well as 77% of grasshopper and cricket species, 58% of beetles and 66% of butterflies and moths.

Samantha Stokes, from the RSPB in the South East said: “Insects are vitally important to the balance of our ecosystem.

“From eating pests that damage crops, to being a food source themselves for other animals, or pollinating flowers and making honey, some even help breakdown organic waste – insects carry out a variety of roles.

“There are those we love such as butterflies and dragonflies, and there are some we might be less keen on like wasps or mosquitoes – but none the less, they all have a role to play.”

In East Sussex, the RSPB’s popular Broadwater Warren nature reserve, set in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Beauty, has a variety of species to see.

At this time of year emperor dragonflies guard the pond edges, while southern hawkers patrol the tracks and trails through the trees. 

Butterflies to look out for include white admirals, the silver washed fritillary, and there's also the chance of spotting purple hairstreaks flitting around the tops of oak trees on sunny evenings - although they may take a bit of searching for with binoculars, they are very rewarding when you do spot them.

For further information on RSPB Broadwater Warren, please visit www.rspb.org.uk/broadwaterwarren

For further information about National Insect Week, please visit www.nationalinsectweek.co.uk

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