Saturday, 10 October 2020

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.

Sunday, 27 September 2020

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.

Sunday, 30 August 2020

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!


Sunday, 23 August 2020

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 -

Sunday, 9 August 2020

Elephant Hawk Moth Caterpillar

I haven’t found anything worthy of a post to this blog for over a year, but this week I’ve been lucky and these finds definitely deserve a post.

At 7cm long, this is the biggest caterpillar we’ve ever found on the plot. What a great-looking creature!

Very snakey, to scare off predators.

And I found this younger one on Tuesday.
According to this site, they take about 2 weeks to change from green to brown, so it seems we have more than one elephant hawk moth caterpillar on our plot, though the eggs are laid singly.
Their favourite food is rosebay willow herb, which we have all over our poor Covid-Neglected plot, so Perhaps there are more hidden away with their good camouflage. They pupate over Winter so I hope we see some of the beautiful moths next year.

Saturday, 18 May 2019

Thick-Legged Flower Beetle

I haven't seen any new wildlife on the plot for a while so was pleased that this little chap stayed still for a photo.
Look at those legs! They are what identifies him as male.
A flower beetle (Oedemera nobilis) - pretty little thing. It lives on pollen, so no problem with him visiting the allotment site!

Sunday, 27 May 2018


We've seen damselflies in the greenhouse before, but this one is interesting as it's just emerged from the water and moulted its final skin to go from an aquatic nymph to a flying insect.
I'm guessing it emerged from our little pond as the skin hasn't quite been shaken off yet.
Looking at the British Dragonfly Society website I would suggest that this particular damselfly is a Ischnura elegans or Blue Tailed Damselfly - but I may be being fooled by that blue tail :-)