April update

Are you doing your bit for nature?

The 2016 ‘State of Nature Report’ discovered that the UK has lost significantly more biodiversity over the long term than the world average. It’s an ‘INSECT ARMAGEDDON’. A Rocha UK, the charity that runs the Eco Church scheme, publish a monthly e-newsletter. Below is a shortened version by Klaus Huber of an article they published in early March.
We all have a love-hate relationship with our six legged friends. Some bite, others sting and some look downright scary. Yet without insects, the planet would slowly die. Insects are critical for pollination; they also provide food for birds, which in turn are the main prey for many mammals – remove insects and you lose one of the key building-blocks of biodiversity.

If we are to rescue the UK’s insects, we are going to have to act incredibly quickly. Whilst a large focus is on our farmers and helping them to protect insects, we also need to act at home. Easy steps include:

Leave an area of grass uncut from March to the end of September. Long grass support a greater variety of insect species.
Leave a few patches of nettles, thistles and blackberry bushes; they may not be pretty and have spikes and stings, but they provide great habitat for insects.
Leave a source of water available all year round; either a small pond or even an upturned bin-lid. Insects need a regular supply of water to feed and breed.
Don’t use insecticides unless absolutely essential. When you use them, target the pest species and leave everything else alone.
Create a compost heap, with clippings, flower heads, non-citrus fruit peels etc. Composts can be great for insect life.
Let’s see if we can make 2019 a year in which the UK fights back to save our remaining insects.

Liz Stephens writes Simon Barnes’s book ‘Rewild Yourself’ gives good ideas on how to connect with the natural world e.g. plant a buddleia and find out more about butterflies as they love the purple flowers that come out in the summer. Can’t wait until summer when Lady’s smock and hedge garlic are great for orange tip butterflies and flower April – June.

The edible planter in Lamb’s yard has been adapted to help improve water flow in dry periods.