For the Love of Insects
It is Insect Week this week 21-27 June 2021. It is an initiative to help us understand the importance of insects by The Royal Entomological Society
I love insects, always have done. One of my first books was The Observer’s Book of Common Insects and Spiders and my copy was published in 1966.
It is interesting to read it again now as it shows how some species have declined rapidly over a 50 year period. In the section on Woodland butterflies it states ‘The High Brown Fritillary also flies in woods during July, and in the heat of the day likes to haunt open clearings where thistles are in flower’
It was very common then but is now classed as Critically Endangered on the Butterfly Red List for Great Britain
Much of my artwork has a backstory and sometimes that relates to insects. Some insect species have evolved so that their larvae emerge at the same time as the plants they feed on. Because of changes in environmental and farming practices these are increasingly becoming out of sync so when the larvae emerge there is no food for them, and this has knock on effects up the food chain.
For example this year 24% of blue tit clutches failed due to weather conditions which meant that the oak tree budded later than usual so the winter moth caterpillars had nothing to feed on and so the blue tits had no caterpillars to feed themselves or their young.
One million species of insects have been identified worldwide but it is estimated that there could be 10 million different species in total. They are the largest and most diverse group of animals on earth and are responsible for pollinating plants and crops, they are food for other animals and they also feed on animals and plants and some are scavengers breaking down waste such as dead animals and plants.
My favourite insects have to be bees, I keep honey bees and I have learned about many other species of bee too. Can’t live without them…..none of us can.
Find out more about insect week here and maybe you can give them some love too.