Snug as a Bug - spring is here
In the autumn we asked you to take part in our Snug as a Bug campaign and make a cosy bug hotel for bugs to shelter in over the winter. Well, spring is here and it's time to find out which bugs 'checked in'!
Thursday 22 April 2010
Firstly a big thank you to the hundreds of individuals, families, schools and other groups who took part in the Snug as a Bug campaign and created a cosy bug hotel for bugs to shelter in during the cold, wet weather. The snows of winter seem a long time ago now but you may remember how hard the winter was for wildlife - thank you for playing a part in helping to look after your garden bugs.
Spring is here!
Finally we can safely say that spring has well and truly arrived! So, now you can take your bug hotel apart and discover which bugs took up residence over the winter.
|Queen bumblebees such as this Red-talied |
bumblebee (Bombus lapidarius) may have
hibernated in your bug hotel!
© Nicholas Vereecken
Important - your very own Spotters Sheet
Firstly, you will need to download and print your Snug as a Bug Spotters Sheet. This will enable you to record the numbers of different common bugs you find (such as spiders or ladybirds) while you are outside dismantling your bug hotel. You will need this sheet and a pencil or pen.
You might also want to take a tub or pot with a lid to temporarily catch some bugs, so you can meet your guests close up! If you do, make sure you release them later on.
|Bug Hotels provided a safe place for bugs to shelter through the cold |
Dismantling your bug hotel
Step 1 - Find an (old) sheet
Lay an old sheet (white or a pale colour if possible) on the ground outside. If you have some friends or family members to help you, might want to ask them to lift a corner each, to stop your bugs running off before you have a chance to count them!
|Step 2 - Move your bug hotel into position|
Very gently move your bug hotel onto the middle of the sheet. Try to disturb it as little as possible or your bugs may flee!
Step 3 - Take the lid off and start to remove the leaves and twigs
As you start to take the filling out of your bug hotel your guests may decide to depart, so be on alert! You should see them on your sheet and be able to note down what you've seen on your Spotters Sheet.
As you remove each handful of leaves, place them on the sheet next to the hotel and pick through them gently to find any bugs hiding. Note down what you find.
|Step 4 - Remove all the leaves and twigs|
Gradually take out all the leaves and twigs. You may find snails, millipedes, ground beetles and woodlice. Record how many of each bug you find on your Spotters Sheet. If you find any bug not on the sheet write down what it is and how many you find.
Step 5 - Tidy up!
Why not put the dead leaves on your compost heap or in your compost bin for many of those same bugs you've sheltered to breakdown and recycle back into the soil?
Keep your wire and lid for autumn when you can create a new bug hotel!
Step 6 - Tell us what you found
Time to come inside for a cup of tea or a glass of squash, and to fill out our online form - tell us how many of each bug you found and about any surprises sheltering in your bug hotel
Click here to fill out our Snug as a Bug results form!