In the past 80 years, the number of bees has been plummeting and two species of bumblebee have even become extinct in the UK. Bees are vital to the health of the ecosystem because they serve as pollinators — allowing flowers, fruit and veg to continue reproducing.
The UK countryside has changed over the years, reducing the number of wildflowers across the country, and with it the number of bees. BBCT works with farmers, policy-makers, and the public to spread awareness of bee-friendly planting methods to help bring our bees back in full force.
You can test how bee-friendly your garden is with the Trust’s Bee Kind tool, and you and your children can learn all about bumblebees over at Bumble Kids.
– The heaviest UK insect is the great silver water beetle, weighing in at about 25-30g.
– The smallest is the fairy-fly, an internal parasite of water beetle eggs, at 0.25mm.
– The Lundy cabbage flea beetle and the Lundy cabbage weevil live only along a strip 1½ miles long, 30 yards wide on the island of Lundy in the Bristol Channel and nowhere else in the world. They feed on the Lundy Cabbage, a plant that only lives on that island.
– Painted Lady butterflies make their yearly migration from North Africa and the Mediterranean to the UK each spring.
– When threatened, Ladybirds bleed foul-tasting poisonous blood from their knees.
– When a ladybird emerges from its pupa, it doesn’t have spots — the spots appear as the exoskeleton hardens.
– Bombardier beetles can produce sprays of boiling phenolic liquid in the face of predators such as shrews.
– Earwigs don’t go in people’s ears. Instead, their name comes from either ‘ear-wing’ or ‘ear-bug’ – referring their shape which is like a human ear.
– The complex folding mechanisms of an earwig’s hind wing have been copied to unfurl solar panels on space satellites.
– Insects are excellent at camouflage and mimicry – some caterpillars mimic twigs, and others mimic bird poo! Other harmless insects take advantage of our fears of bees and wasps, and colour themselves black & yellow to ward off enemies (even if they don’t actually sting!).
Joycelyn is a member of the Primrose marketing team.
She is a novice windowsill gardener but hopes to graduate to larger plants one day. She enjoys British food (despite its sometimes bad reputation) and British scenery.
At Primrose, when not tending to office plants, she deals with online advertising and social media.
Moles can cause a big mess in a garden, creating lots of little brown mole hills in an otherwise perfect, smooth, green lawn. Mole traps are a great way to take care of this problem; you can use tunnel, claw or spring traps. Follow this method to set them up for optimum results:
You Will Need:
Something long and thin to use as a probe (such as a screwdriver)
Something to firm the soil in the mole tunnel (such as the handle of a garden tool)
First, try to figure out where the main tunnel is – the brown patches on your lawn (the mole hills) are usually along small branches off the main tunnel. These side branches may be up to 6 inches long and may not be revisited by the mole, unlike the main tunnel. Therefore, it is best to place the trap within the main tunnel rather than in the side branches.
Try to find the most recent hills (to maximise the chance that the mole will pass through) and use the probe to gently and carefully press into the ground near where you think the main tunnel is. It may take a few attempts to find the tunnel as it won’t be very big – about the size of a golf ball. You will have found it when you come upon an area of the ground which offers little resistance when you press down gently with the probe.
Once you have found the tunnel, use your trowel to dig the soil out of the tunnel, creating a small hole which is big enough to fit the trap, though not much bigger. Clear away as much loose soil along the tunnel as possible and press the base of the tunnel (using the handle of a garden tool for example) to make it firm and compact, so the mole is less likely to squeeze underneath the trap.
When this is done, carefully set the trap and put it into the hole. You can test that it is working by using the probe to trigger it; then reset it and put it back into the hole. Put the turf back over the hole, making sure to cover any gaps where light could filter through while stopping any soil from tumbling into the tunnel.
Try to check the trap every day. If the trap has been triggered but you can’t see the mole, it is possible that it managed to find its way underneath the trap so you may have to adjust its position and make sure the base of the tunnel is still firm. Using multiple traps to cover the network of tunnels will increase the likelihood of successfully removing the moles from your garden.