Monday 29 May 2023

Everything's in Bloom but Where are the Insects?

The white flowering trees are in full bloom across Edinburgh at the moment and looking wonderful. These include Hawthorn



and Holly 

But where are the insects that should be busily feeding on these blooms? Given that it's generally colder than England and Wales, Scotland never has the number of insects that are traditionally seen down south, but this year there are very few indeed. Over the past few years, there has been a noticeable decline in many insects, but this year, the decrease in insect life is starkly obvious to anyone who pays attention. 

This patch of comfrey, alongside the Water of Leith, was buzzing with several species of bee this morning (Buff Tailed Bumblebees, Common Carders, Early Bumblebees, Tree Bumblebees and Honey Bees.)

but apart from that spot, and decent numbers of Seven Spot Ladybirds in a few places, there are very few insects about at the moment. I've seen a handful of Orange Tip butterflies, a small number of Speckled Wood butterflies, the occasional hoverfly and little else. 

I've seen people across the UK reporting similar observations on social media. This is a very worrying trend, not only for the insects themselves but for the birds and other animals that feed on them and for the insect pollinated crops we rely on for food. 

The insect conservation charity, Buglife, are looking for people in the UK to get involved in their Bugs Matter survey. You can find out more about all their surveys, past and present, here. And Buglife are running a 'No Insectinction' campaign to raise awareness of the plight of insects.

Are you seeing many insects in your part of the world? 


jozien said...

Today is cold here, 7 C at the moment, which, i checked historical weather for Whitehorse, tell me that is 2 degrees below average. It is also quite windy, so not many insects about today. I have not noticed a decline here in my yard (Yukon Canada). But i have been hearing about what you say. Have you recorded the insects over the years? Thank you for paying attention. And hopefully no use of pesticides in your yard, or whatever action or product is connected with the decline.

martine said...

Thanks for the link to Buglife, I had an interesting time looking at all their suggestions. We got very excited in my friend's garden last week to have a visit from a hairy footed flower bee:-)

Jenn Jilks said...

We don't have a problem with insects here! Sorry you do.

Sal said...

We were saying exactly the same, only yesterday! I do everything to encourage the wild life into my garden..the lawn is covered in daisies, groundsel, buttercups etc etc and I’ve recently planted other wild flower plug plants. We’ve not mowed throughout May and will continue the ‘no mow’ policy but just keep the edges trimmed. Yet, I sat outside yesterday and saw few bees, only one butterfly and little else. I lived in this area when I was a child and I recall there being grasshoppers all over the lawn, many butterflies and the constant humming of bees. It’s very sad. I’m in South Devon, btw.
I’ll take a look at Buglife! Thank you!😁

Crafty Green Poet said...

Hi Jozien, I'm glad that you've not seen a decline in insects in your yard. I have recorded insects over the years, particularly in our local cemeteries since the beginning of lockdown (when 2 cemeteries became our daily exercise route.) Two years ago, there were lots of insects in these cemeteries, now there are definitely far fewer. We don't have a garden ourselves, but as a member of the Friends Group of one of the cemeteries I helped make sure that no pesticides or herbicides are used there (except a very focussed application to get rid of Japanese Knotweed).

Thanks Martine, oh Hairy Footed Flower Bees are wonderful insects, glad you saw one in your friend's garden

Hi Jenn, glad to read that you don't have the same issue.

Hi Sal, that's sad, it's such a shame that even where people are making their gardens wildlife friendly, there are sometimes very few insects.