Life changing

You’re the bee’s knees when it comes to protecting our bugs

You have helped save 20 species threatened with extinction, including the shrill carder bee, chequered skipper butterfly, ladybird spider and northern dune tiger beetle. Plus a further 200 species will be brought back from the brink thanks to £4.6M from National Lottery players.

But just how much do you know about the species you’re saving? We’ve partnered with Buglife to bring you the ultimate ‘how to’ guide to spotting bugs. They could be closer than you think...

How to find bugs

Invertebrates are practically everywhere – you don’t need to travel to a nature reserve to find lots of species. However, you do need to be observant, and knowing where and how to look is the real trick.

Here are a few tips:

  1. Don’t overlook the obvious bugs, but keep a keen and patient eye to spot the camouflaged ones too
  2. Many types of flowers are irresistible to insects
  3. Look under stones
  4. Rummage in leaf litter and in dead wood
  5. If plant leaves have been eaten, find the culprit
  6. Beside water is usually a happy hunting ground. There will be many types of insects there, and of course dragonflies in the summer
  7. Look in a pond for insects, on the surface and spot what lurks beneath
  8. It’s a good idea to start with a reasonably small group of invertebrates which are easily recognisable and for which there are good identification guides (for example dragonflies, ladybirds or butterflies)
  9. Photograph the ones that interest you. Many digital compact cameras have a macro setting so you can focus at close range. Leave the bug where it is, but take your pictures home to continue detective work there. As well as your identification books, there are many online forums that will help you to identify your pictures

  10. Start by learning the main types of insects and other invertebrates, before attempting to get down to the finer levels of species identification. How do you tell a beetle from a shield bug, for example? Or a centipede from a millipede?

  11. See more at Buglife

Happy hunting!

Credits: Shrill Carder bee. Photo credit: © Claudia Watts

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