Hovering Marmalade Hoverfly
Hovering Marmalade Hoverfly © Chris West 2011

One of the great things about insects, and invertebrates more generally, is that they can be found almost everywhere. Even in the 2 x 3m concrete jungle that is our yard we’ve got Marmalade Hoverflies –Episyrphus balteatus – feeding on some rocket that I’ve allowed to flower. For more information on this and the other 270 species of hoverfly in Britain see the Hoverfly Recording Scheme website.

I occasionally get Hawthorn Shieldbugs – Acanthosoma haemorrhoidale – coming in with the washing (see the fantastic British Bugs website for everything you ever wanted to know about true bugs), and I’ve found a fair few woodlice sheltering in my wellies when I’ve accidentally left them outside.

This goes to show how much you can find even in a small area, so I’d encourage you to get out of your house and see what you can find. If you’ve got a camera, take a photograph and post it on the iSpot website, a great site set up as part of the OPAL project, where people will help you identify the things you have found.

Sarah West, OPAL

York University
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