A different way of looking at bug busting!
As spring and summer finally arrive after a battering from the last throws of winter, National Bug Busting Day is coming up on the 12 June. A day highlighting the extermination of bugs (even head lice) might seem an odd fit for a conservation charity. However it’s a good excuse to raise awareness around declining insect populations in Europe. So while it might be great to see a reduction in head lice, the decline in other insects is not such great news!
Recent surveys in Germany and across northern Europe have shown that all types of flying insects have disappeared over the past few years, with butterflies and moths in the UK declining since the 1990s. This is of particular concern, given their place in the ecosystem and the wildlife that relies on them for food and pollination.
At Hatfield Forest we have attributed a general increase in numbers to conservation practices around habitat maintenance and creation. However, we have seen declines in some butterfly species, though others, such as the Red Admiral have increased over the last five years. So, while you are removing the habitat for head-lice this June, how about creating some habitat for other insects? This doesn’t have to be a concerted programme of garden management. Simple things like starting a compost heap, stacking dead logs in a shady corner or even buying a readymade bug house or wildflower seed mix for the garden can all help. If you want to be inspired there are plenty of bug habitats around Hatfield Forest. The education department even has a 5 star Bug Hotel. (Attached Image.)