The woodlands blog sometimes suggests ‘things to do’ that can help various national organisations build up a picture of how our wildlife, climate or ecosystems might be changing.
This week you might like to have a look at the buglife website. It is asking people to help find specimens of the world’s largest aphid – the Giant Oak Aphid (Stomaphis quercus). It is about the size of a coffee bean and feeds on English oak trees. It is guarded by special ants, which look after the aphid in return for honeydew.
The giant oak aphid is rare, perhaps in danger of disappearing altogether! The most likely time to see one is during August or September, on a sunny oak tree perhaps at the edge of a wood in the Brecklands, or near Colchester or Exeter – but can it be found elsewhere? Buglife would like you to go out and look for this aphid, its guardian ants and associated oak trees. If you think you might be able to help, then take a look at the Giant Aphid Hunt; perhaps you might also like to read about their London and Essex bumblebee survey or the oil beetle project.