Vote for your best bug

Macclesfield Express - - WILDLIFE -

WHAT’S your favourite bug? For those of us who sit out in our gar­dens on sunny days in­sects pro­vide much in­ter­est and en­ter­tain­ment.

And yet in­sects can cause ex­treme re­ac­tions de­spite the fact they are prob­a­bly 100 times smaller than we are.

The ma­jor­ity of peo­ple who are ter­ri­fied of bees, moths and flies have prob­a­bly never been ex­posed to them on a reg­u­lar ba­sis. Then we have to ask why are peo­ple scared of moths but not but­ter­flies? Is it be­cause they are crea­tures of the night?

In an at­tempt to high­light the im­por­tance of in­sects and to make them a lit­tle more ‘cud­dly’ the Royal So­ci­ety of Bi­ol­ogy has come up with a poll to vote for the UK’s favourite.

The idea is to stress the vi­tal role that the UK’s 20,000 species of in­sect plays in the en­vi­ron­ment and to high­light the threats to these crea­tures and the de­struc­tion of habi­tats.

The Royal So­ci­ety of Bi­ol­ogy has come up with its short­list of ten.

In our re­gion the main ones would be the buff-tailed bum­ble­bee, the small tor­toise­shell but­ter­fly, the em­peror drag­on­fly, the black gar­den ant, the green shield bug, the seven-spot lady­bird, the mar­malade hov­er­fly and the gar­den tiger moth.

I’m not sure that ants will be too pop­u­lar and, if they are, why not add wasps to the equa­tion? My favourites are bril­liant red and black bur­nett moths and com­mon blue but­ter­flies that ap­pear in spring.

How­ever, any kind of bum­ble­bee makes a welcome ad­di­tion to your gar­den and watch­ing big, chunky drag­on­flies cruis­ing along like fighter aero­planes is breath­tak­ing.

Of the Top 10 I think I’ll be vot­ing for the bum­ble­bee, not least be­cause these beau­ti­ful, busy and funny in­sects have suf­fered declines over the past cou­ple of decades.

I am en­joy­ing the de­scrip­tions of the in­sects by the Royal So­ci­ety of Bi­ol­ogy.

They go: l Seven-spot lady­bird – the Di­vine Mes­sen­ger l Gar­den tiger moth – the Woolly Bear l Small tor­toise­shell – the House Sit­ter l Black gar­den ant – the So­cialite l Buff-tailed bum­ble­bee – the Bees Knees l Large beefly – the Im­per­son­ator l Mar­malade hov­er­fly - the Gar­dener’s Friend l Green shield­bug – Kick­ing up a stink l Stag bee­tle – the Big Daddy l Em­peror drag­on­fly – Lord of the Skies

For more de­tails on each of the species, you can go to the poll it­self and vote at rsb.org.uk/ get-in­volved/ bi­ol­o­gy­week/favouri­teuk-in­sect-poll.

l● Clock­wise from above:Lady­bird; Buff-tailed bum­ble­bee; Tiger moth

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