30 Days Wild – Day 3

I had high hopes for the moth trap this morning and I have to say I was a little disappointed, so rather than a moth, my insect from the trap for today is a true bug, a striped plant bug, proving once again that it is not only moths that are attracted to moth traps.

striped plant bug

Outside the Centre at Blashford we have a number of planters filled with plants chosen to attract insects. It is not just the plants that can attract then though, we also have a number of wooden posts with holes drilled in them which are used by nesting bees and especially mason bees. At this time of year the species using the largest holes is the red mason bee. These bees, about the size of a honey-bee make cells for each larva which they provision with pollen and then seal up with mud.

red mason bee

Around the Centre the gravel has been colonised by lots of plants that do well in well drained conditions, such as marjoram, dark mullein and hedgerow cranesbill.

hedgerow cranesbill

Where it is less trampled and perhaps not quite so dry the vegetation is taller and at this time of year the bright flowers of green alkanet are very obvious and popular with several of the smaller bee species.

green alkanet

Both this plant and the cranesbill are believed to be old introductions to this country from the near continent. A fair bit of out flora has been imported, by accident or design, much that has come from just across the Channel has settled in and now lives like a native. These species have often come with their own insect and other controls and so don’t get out of hand, unlike some introductions from further afield which have often left their escaped their natural controls, which is why they can do so well and out compete native species.