Sunday, June 24, 2012

Insects in the garden

Insects are an important element in a healthy garden and play a crucial role in keeping the eco-system in balance here at La Pasera. OK there are some we would rather do without and discourage but on the whole things seem to be in balance so we must be doing something right. Not using chemicals must surely help the diversity of insect life we see.

The numerous visiting bees are wonderful and play such a crucial role in pollination. It is worrying to constantly here reports of their decline through pesticides and parasites. We have a pyracanthus bush which attracts hundreds of bees a day which in turn pollinate our fruit, vegetables and flowers. Other garden flowers serve as magnets for pollen collectors and pollinators.

We have some magnificent beetles around the place. Stag Beetles fly at dusk, whirring their way like miniature helicopters eventually coming into land and carefully avoiding two curious cats. Ladybirds, leaf, click and longhorn beetles fascinate as they make their way across vast distances, only to disappear into underground burrows or take flight in their search for food.

Butterflies and moths are a constant source of wonder with their camouflaged patterns or brightly coloured displays but they are so difficult to photograph clearly as they soon spook and take flight.

The pond and bog garden are havens for the wildlife and especially for insects. Spiders, water skaters, water beetles, dragonflies and damselflies are regularly seen going about their business, feeding, laying eggs or scavenging.

In the garden and the vegetable beds we occasionally get infestations of black-fly and aphids but it is great to see increasing numbers of ladybirds about this year which will help reduce their numbers. The birds have been very active feeding their young grubs and caterpillars, spiders and moths. The cycle of life is all around us.

The woodlice and other scavengers have been busily recycling our green waste and leaves, helped by the worms and beetles. Helping us to produce heaps of nutritious crumbly compost for the garden and rich peaty leaf mould that goes into our home made potting compost. Elsewhere, stick insects, glow worms, ground bugs, flies, crickets, grasshoppers and hundreds of other insects inhabit every conceivable nook and cranny.

With over 1 million different kinds of insect documented on planet Earth, you will never be short of something new to seek out and observe. Why not make a start in your own garden, you might be surprised with what you will find.


  1. This is lovely, well written and well photographed, and an absolute joy to nature lovers.
    I found myself nodding in agreement, as we, too, have a wild garden, with wild flowers and even trees largely self-seeded, and such a haven for so many insects that prefer our garden to the manicured and chemically treated gardens in our neighbourhood.

    The colour we have in the summer is astounding, and in the winter, well, it's a winter scence, but we know the escapes under rocks and amongst the ivy and in the tree bark our co-inhabitors have. Your photography is lovely, I am envious of your stagbeetles I haven't seen here in the UK for a long time.

    Thanks for writing this, absolutely heart warming.

    1. Many thanks for your kind words and lovely comment. The post was written by Ian who also took the photographs- he has a good eye. I am glad we also share a passion for the natural world.


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