This week, 22nd – 28th June, is National Insect Week. This biennial event, organised by the Royal Entomology Society, encourages us to realise and understand the importance of these small creatures. During the alternate year, the Royal Entomology society put on an Insect Festival – so look out for that in 2021.
There are over 24,000 species of insects in the UK. And, amazing as it may sound, there is actually less than one in two hundred that are considered as pests. They are thought to be one of the most diverse and ecologically important group of land-living animals.
Now I have to admit, I have a bit of a fear of some insects – some much more than others. For example Moths are a big no go for me! I don’t even like going in a room with one, and if it starts moving, then that’s me out completely! Spiders is another one. However, I have worked on this fear, and with time and more understanding about them, it is getting better. I know it is something I will have to continue working on, otherwise the fear slowly starts to come back. But I now have some appreciation for spiders and actually find them quite fascinating! So, even if you have a fear of a certain insect, there are plenty of others to look for from the 24,000! And you never know – increasing your knowledge, may help that fear!
If you want to learn more about ladybirds, then click here to read an article I wrote about them. They really do have some fascinating facts behind their name!
How can I join in with National Insect Week?
Find and indentify
There are many things you can do to take part in this event. However, the main purpose is to just have a greater awareness and appreciation of insects. You don’t need to go far to do this – your garden will be a haven to many insects. You may not realise it, but your garden, or even just plant pots on a balcony, make a vital contribution to the world’s biodiversity. It may take a bit of looking, but you will quickly find all sorts of insects are enjoying your garden. If you don’t have a garden, then why not go for a walk to your local park? This gives you the bonus of a walk and increasing your appreciation of nature.
If you are wanting to increase your knowledge even further, then why not see if you can identify the insects you find! There are some good apps and websites out there to help you do this, and I will be talking about this in another article. However, the Royal Entomology Society has produced some fantastic resources for you to identify common insects. They have a discover insect page highlighting the most likely insects you will find or if you want to learn even more then take a look at the Garden Entomology booklet!
If you would like to help Biologists and Entomologists understand where these insects are living, and the habitat they have chosen, then you can record your sighting online. All you need is to know what type of insect it was, where you found it, and when. Easy as that, and you will be helping to contribute to the Biological records!
Resources to increase knowledge
The Royal Entomology society, and the National Insect Week partners have also put together a whole host of resources. With a lot of home schooling going on at the moment, then I highly recommend you take a look. There are videos, activity packs, colouring sheets, poetry, podcasts – the list is endless. And if you don’t have time to do it this week, then why not save some resources and links ready to keep the kids (or even adults – they are activities for you too!) busy over the summer holidays!
When you spot an insect, why not take a photo of it and enter it into the photography competition. There are two categories, one for children and one for adults, so no excuse for the whole family to not get involved. To find out more and to enter click here.
And for those that have a creative streak why not contribute to the giant art project called the Insect Isles. By being creative, I don’t just mean being able to draw, although this is one option. However, you can also create a sculpture, bake a cake, take a photo, design a piece of clothing – anything that shows how insects have brought out your creative side! To help contribute to this fantastic project, you can submit a photo of what you have produced here.
Follow me on social media, whatsnottohike1, as I post an insect a day up to celebrate National Insect Week.
So, now is the chance to take a closer look in our gardens, parks, forests and even your homes (yes that’s true!) to appreciate and understand the role that insects play in our ecosystem and hence our lives! Enjoy National Insect Week, learn about insects and their conservation, as they are the little things that run the world!