Monday, 16 February 2015

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Unsung Heroes - in praise of small things

"The tiny creatures of the undergrowth were the first creatures of any kind to colonise the land. They established the foundations of the land's ecosystem (and) were able to transcend the limitations of their small size by bonding together in huge communities of millions. If we, and the rest of the back-boned animals were to disappear overnight, the rest of the world would get on pretty well. But if the invertebrates were to disappear the land's ecosystem would collapse. Wherever we go on land, these small creatures are within a few inches of our feet - often disregarded. We would do well to remember them"
David Attenborough

Make your own insect homes

As the Splore Festival gets closer and most of the insect homes are complete it is time to put some information on making your own insect homes. From researching the huge variety of insect homes people have built, means that they are probably as diverse as insects, well maybe not quite but anyway it means that you can pretty well use anything you want and be as simple or as complex as you want. From a pile of leaves left in a corner, rather than cleared away, to an architecturally designed home fit for a queen (bee). 

Materials again can be what ever that comes to hand, making homes for insects really involves looking at their habitat in the wild and replicating in some form. Insects are found everywhere in some form or other, at this point I was going to say apart from Antarctica, but having a quick look at Wikipedia shows that it does have an endemic insect species the Antarctic Midge, not an ant as the continents name suggests : ) 

Two Antarctic Midges

There are a few things that each home needs and like most of us one is to keep dry, of course there will be some insect species that like damp or moist areas but for many keeping the interior of the home dry will encourage them to stay. So using recycled and cleaned plastic bottles to provide a waterproof housing is fine, but it would need to be inside something to provide shelter from the sun. Rather than give lots of details, there is plenty of information about insect hotels and homes on the internet, but I shall add some ones here that I have enjoyed and show examples of many different types to be found.

But really the best way is to look at the insect you want to encourage and be creative in the way you copy the habitat, but really, really the best way is not to destroy the natural habitats in the first place.