HARDINGTON WILDLIFE IN SEPTEMBER

The author - Mike Bickerton
After my comments on neonics last month, I must now point out that all is not gloom and doom, and some species of insects have done quite well this year. On the NNR I have never seen so many marbled white butterflies and six-spot burnet moths. Meadow browns and common blues have also appeared in good numbers. With bees, just one species, the tree bumble bee (Bombus hypnorum) has done very well. This species has only recently arrived in the UK and is spreading rapidly, now even being reported from the Shetlands and Iceland. Their lifestyle is rather different from other bumble bees, as they nest in holes in trees rather than below ground. In this country, they nest in bird nest boxes and holes and cracks in buildings and sheds. They emerge early in the year and now seem to be by far the best pollinators of flowers and fruit trees. Their sex life seems quite manic with multiple matings, two broods a year and several colonies sharing a space if there is room. Look up Bombus hypnorum on the internet. It is very interesting and you will find that they dislike and avoid oilseed rape, which could be keeping them away from neonics. Also butterflies on the NNR are in one of the few local areas, which have never been treated with pesticides.

I have searched unsuccessfully for glow worms in the village and have had no positive reports either. August is the best month to look for them, so I am still hoping!

Mike Bickerton, August 2017.