Getting to know Shelley the Snail

Shelley, better know as Cornu aspersum, haunts our dreams with their savage leaf destruction. So rather than be terrified of them I set out to know them a little better. There are over 200,000 species of land and seas snails and they first appeared on the planet 550 million years ago, equally at home in the tropics, dessert or deep water. The largest is the African snail with a record of 38cm long and the smallest is .8 of a millimetre. Shelley has up to 14,000 little teeth that rasp bits of leaf off. They can take about a week [...]

By |2024-01-27T13:57:33+00:00January 27th, 2024|Articles, Blog, Insects|Comments Off on Getting to know Shelley the Snail

Painted Lady Migration Patterns and other Migratory Insects

Every year, Southern England becomes the stage for a remarkable sight when 3.5 trillion flying insects, equaling the weight of 20,000 reindeer, migrate across the country! Among these insects are the Painted Lady butterflies, the subject of a recent discovery among scientists and butterfly enthusiasts.   The Painted Lady butterfly (Vanessa cardui) has a 4-7.3cm wingspan and often populates dry open areas. Every spring they journey from their overwintering grounds in North Africa and the Mediterranean region to the UK, Asia and Northern Europe. These butterflies obtain average altitudes of 500m, can reach 30mph in favourable conditions, and can do [...]

By |2024-01-27T13:31:15+00:00January 27th, 2024|Articles, Blog, Insects|Comments Off on Painted Lady Migration Patterns and other Migratory Insects

Sussex Bees

Bees are the golden angel-engines of nature. Under severe threat from our agricultural practices, you can provide them a safe haven in your garden or even better, get yourself a bee box and groovy white outfit! Here are some remarkable facts: They pollinate 76% of the world’s crops and add £690m to the UK economy each year. Every year a hive can produce up to 11 kg of honey, and to produce just half a kg they fly up to 55,000 miles to find the flowers! There are over 250 UK species of bee but are under threat from spraying [...]

By |2024-01-27T13:29:13+00:00January 27th, 2024|Articles, Blog, Insects|Comments Off on Sussex Bees

Planting for a Butterfly Garden

Seeing butterflies flitting around is one of the joys during the summer months. If you are considering a butterfly garden when landscaping your outdoor space, the plants butterflies prefer tend to be ones which are easy to grow.  Attracting butterflies in to your garden can be reassuring too, as they are good indicators of a healthy environment. They will also pollinate your flowers and help attract birds to your garden looking for food. Plants for a Butterfly Garden When landscaping a butterfly garden, you need to consider the larva stage of their life cycle as well as the adult stage. [...]

By |2021-06-03T11:02:26+01:00July 13th, 2020|Flowers, Front Gardens, Garden Art, Insects|Comments Off on Planting for a Butterfly Garden

Planting to Attract Bees in to Your Garden

The gentle buzz of the bee in the garden is a quintessential spring and summer sound. By pollinating plants and fruit they also provide gardeners an invaluable service while they flit between flowers. However, the number of bees in the UK has seen a dramatic decline in recent times, a fact which should concern us all.  When landscaping your garden or when planning this year’s planting scheme, there are a number of ways to help attract these vital pollinators. Image by shell_ghostcage from Pixabay  Planting Native Species First and foremost, you will want to grow a variety of plants which can provide nectar [...]

By |2021-06-03T11:02:12+01:00April 1st, 2020|Articles, Blog, Flowers, Garden Art, Insects|Comments Off on Planting to Attract Bees in to Your Garden

Spider Webs

  Quite a few people have asked me why there are so many spiders this year and why they are so big. A warm summer will increase the availability of food sources allowing them to put on more weight. The other reason is that as the Autumn has been so warm they haven't felt the need to go indoors and hibernate. So the males are still roaming around looking for females. Notes on Webs. Did you know that the tensile strength of spider webs is actually stronger than steel cables. Also a spider has at least three different types of [...]

By |2019-03-28T18:32:08+00:00November 9th, 2014|Blog, Insects|Comments Off on Spider Webs

ants and aphids

Some species of ants "farm" aphids, protecting them on the plants they eat, eating the honeydew that the aphids release from the terminations of their alimentary canals. This is a "mutualistic relationship". These "dairying ants" "milk" the aphids by stroking them with their antennae.[Note 1][21] Some farming ant species gather and store the aphid eggs in their nests over the winter. In the spring, the ants carry the newly hatched aphids back to the plants. Some species of dairying ants (such as the European yellow meadow ant, Lasius flavus)[22] manage large "herds" of aphids that feed on roots of plants in the ant colony. Queens that are leaving to start a [...]

By |2020-05-12T13:17:06+01:00July 23rd, 2014|Blog, Insects|Comments Off on ants and aphids