With the warmer temperatures this month, you may notice more insects of all kinds: bees buzzing around looking for nectar from the colourful flowers, butterflies fluttering by, ants disturbing your picnic ... and of course, mosquitoes annoying you as you sit by the lake.
These creatures all have an enormous part to play in the web of life that sustains us. So we've chosen INSECTS as the theme for this month across the Duckworth Worcestershire Trust.
JULY is Dragonfly Challenge Month
There's another reason why we chose this month as insect month: we wanted to help promote an interesting and important initiative – the British Dragonfly Society's Dragonfly Challenge. Dragonflies and damselflies are vital indicators to the health of our freshwaters, which has an implication to the health of our natural world as a whole.
During the month of July, the British Dragonfly Society is looking for people to take part in this citizen science programme. They are asking people to help them track six species of dragonfly. No experience is necessary and there’s a downloadable spotter sheet and even an app to help.
For more information, and details on how to take part, visit the British Dragonfly Society's website.
We love bees
Although some of the insects out this summer can cause pain and irritation – and some, like horseflies, have become a particular problem with the summer's heatwave – we really do depend on most of our species of insects for our very survival. Of particular importance is the humble bee, the most important pollinator – and like many insects, its numbers have been falling dramatically in recent years.
The main reasons for the decline in bee populations are habitat loss, climate change and the use of pesticides, according to Friends of the Earth, who encourage you to take part in the Great British Bee Count, and urge you to call on your local council to take steps to protect bees and other pollinators.
Useful links ...
... and here are some links for you to investigate further ...
• An identification guide for British insects, from britishbugs.org.uk, an initiative set up by Joe Botting and Tristan Bantock.
• ... or this one published by Lewisham Council.
• An interesting article on the importance of insects for the environment, by Purdue University, USA.
• ... and insects can help the environment if they become part of our own diet! See this article from the website The Conversation.