Celebrating creepy crawlies
Last modified: 19 June 2012
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 an ordinary 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 Surrey, the RSPB’s popular Farnham Heath nature reserve, which is part of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, has a huge variety of species to see.
Dragonflies to watch out for include broad-bodied and four-spotted chasers, southern and common hawkers, and the magnificent emperor dragonfly, as well as beautiful and banded demoiselles.
Butterflies that are currently flitting around the heathland reserve include the silver washed fritillary, white admirals and the rare grayling butterfly.
Other interesting insects include the ferocious green tiger beetles, the hornet robber-fly, which is the largest fly in Britain and the chirruping field crickets, which were re-introduced to the reserve two years ago.
For further information on RSPB Farnham Heath, please visit www.rspb.org.uk/farnhamheath
For further information about National Insect Week, please visit www.nationalinsectweek.co.uk