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Catching moths in your woodland

Catching moths in your woodland

by Angus ~ 16 October, 2014 ~ one comment

Moths are attracted to the light and are largely nocturnal.  So a woodland owner can trap and identify moths - if they have the right moth-catching equipment.  Woodland owners, Heather and Rodney have developed a brilliant home-made moth trap, which uses a mercury vapour bulb and is powered by a generator.  This has saved them the cost of buying a commercial moth trap, (at a cost of about £200); it has also given them a trap which is much more suited to their needs.

Using this device, Heather has identified over 350 different moth species over the last couple of years, such as the large grey Clifden Nonpareil (see image below).  It turns out that moths are really important in woodlands as they pollinate many plants and provide food for small mammals, spiders and bats. Read more...

Floral visitors

Floral visitors

by Chris ~ 23 October, 2013 ~ 4 comments

Bees are (usually) frequent visitors to our gardens.  Gardening catalogues and websites are ‘always’ extolling the virtues of particular flowers / plants in terms of attracting insect visitors to our gardens.  These insect visitors are important pollinators – not just for garden flowers, but also for fruit trees and other soft fruits.  But is there any evidence about the ‘best flowers’ to plant for insect visitors – other than “opinion and general  experience”.

Now some research on this has been done by the Department of Apiculture at the University of Sussex.   The Department and Professor Ratnieks (which have featured in the woodland blog before) are involved in “The Sussex Plan for Honey Bee Health and Well being”. Read more...

bumble bee

Bees and bumblebees – neonicotinoids

by Lewis ~ 21 February, 2013 ~ 11 comments

DDT was used an insecticide at the onset of WW2, with great success in terms of controlling malaria and typhus among civilians and troops. After the war, it was available as an agricultural insecticide.  However, within a few years, there were warning signs that not all was well and in 1946, the Soil Association journal read as follows "By the wholesale use of powerful insecticides of which far too little is yet known, we may well be upsetting the whole balance of Nature. We are like schoolboys rat-hunting in a munition dump with a flame-thrower."

Some years later (in 1962),  Rachel Carson published ‘Silent Spring’ – which seriously questioned the use of organochlorines, such as DDT and warned of the dangers of the indiscriminate use of insecticides.  The use of these chemicals continued Read more...

Bees - and the weather.

Bees – and the weather.

by Chris ~ 23 July, 2012 ~ 10 comments

Bees are important pollinators, especially for crops like apples.  The UK apple market is estimated at some £320 M per annum.

Though current estimates vary, it is pretty much certain that this year’s apple harvest will be down, perhaps only 50% of that of a ‘normal’ year.  Though the trees produced blossom in plenty and all looked good for a ‘bumper harvest’ – it then rained and rained.

Because of the weather, there were few bees, bumblebees or other pollinating insects.   This has not been a good year for bees (or indeed, bumblebees).   Why?


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