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Mullein Moth

 We’ve seen the impressive caterpillar before and now here’s the adult. Extremely well disguised as a wood chip. Though not so much when I had to remove it from the rake and it hopped onto my jumper. The moth and caterpillar aren’t a problem on the allotment, as it mostly likes to eat buddleia or weeds. Does anyone else think the face looks like a baboon? Maybe it’s just me. I thought  it was going to have the word tufted in its name because of that impressive wedge hairstyle! But I was able to identify it through the  Butterfly Conservation website , where they have a good ‘ identify a moth ’ page
Recent posts

Kidney Spot Ladybird

It’s always a pleasure to spot (sorry) a new ladybird on the allotment. This little beauty was in the polytunnel enjoying the warmth I’m sure. I wasn’t sure whether it was a Pine, a Kidney Spot or a Harlequin so sought advice, through Twitter, from The Ladybird Survey. They confirmed it as a kidney spot ladybird ( Chilocorus renipustulatus) Ladybirds are generally welcome on the allotment as their larvae are good predators of aphids, though this particular bug prefers deciduous woodland and eats coccids (scale insects) so won’t find them on our plot, maybe go to a plot with fruit trees instead.

Gwynne's Mining Bee

**UPDATED** I originally identified this as a Yellow-legged mining bee, however my friend thought it was more likely a Gwynn’s Mining Bee, because of the face colour being darker, and received confirmation from the BWARS forum. It is a female Andrena bicolor. I spent a while trying to identify this little bee that was in the polytunnel. I could see that the legs were coloured yellow rather than stained with pollen, but the hairiness was leading me down a wrong id path (which I still got wrong originally!) The Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society is a very useful website and has confirmed that this is a female because of the thickness of her leg hairs. Andrena  bicolor  is not a rare bee, but still nice to see a different one amongst the bumblebees yesterday.

Ivy Mining Bee

 The ivy was literally buzzing with life last month. This is an Ivy Mining Bee ( Colletes hederae) -  a variety which has only been in Britain since 2001. This one apparently is a male which has less hairy hind legs than the females. It’s seen between September and November, with its emergence coinciding with the flowering of the ivy. Well, it’s certainly made itself at home and very welcome it is too. Here were some other ivy visitors on the same weekend. A green bottle fly - quite beautiful in close-up And a Sun Fly hoverfly. Ivy in a hedge really attracts the wildlife as you can see! Though the bee isn’t interested in pollinating anything other than the ivy.

Dock Bug

We’ve seen masses of these around the allotment this year. This is a late instar, close to being an adult. It seems that they’re very partial to raspberries, yellow or red, they’re not fussy! (Unlike birds which tend to leave the yellow fruits). The raspberries are covered in them but they don’t seem to be causing too much damage.

Very Hairy Caterpillar

 Jamie found this on our raspberry bush today. It looks like similar to a Pale Tussock moth caterpillar. But much lighter than any of the photos online show. Any identifications welcome! Thankyou.

Shiny Metallic Leaf Beetle

We haven’t found this particular leaf beetle before ( Gastrophysa polygoni ). On attempting to identify it, I discovered that it’s quite common in the UK and the most identifiable orange part is called the pronotum on beetles. It was tiny, maybe 3mm. It was in a wheelbarrow of manure, but I think it probably just landed there, as it’s more likely to be found in leaf litter or on knotweed, which we have on site (not Japanese knotweed). It was very shiny and bright against the dark manure. More info on this great website -  https://www.coleoptera.org.uk/species/gastrophysa-polygoni