National Insect Week

This week is National Insect Week; an event that encourages everyone to learn more about insects. Organised by the Royal Entomological Society, and supported by many partner organisations, this year’s event is focussing on “Entomology at Home” with a virtual campaign ‘to celebrate the little things that run the world.’

A bee in flight

We previously shared a blog post about mini beasts with you, and there will be lots more mini beast content this week from our team.

The following is some suggested online resources to kick the week off and help you explore the world of the invertebrate even further. There’re lots more out there but these suggestions will give you a good starting point and help develop your interest. Your garden or a local outside space will be ideal places to explore.

As always, be sure to share any pictures you may take with us by tagging us on Twitter.

The Woodland Trust offers lots of online resources for learning more about wildlife. Some that you may like to start with for mini beasts include these on woodland invertebrates and also on beetles .

The Wildlife Trusts too have a wealth of information and activity suggestions. Become a wildlife explorer using their invertebrates page. Summer is a great time to spot caterpillars before they transform into butterflies or moths, and using their caterpillar identifier you can start to learn what some butterflies’ caterpillars look like.

Perhaps you’ve found something while out exploring your local area or playing in your garden or the park but you don’t know what it is? If you can, take a picture of it (or jot down some notes about important features to – for example size, colour, number of legs, whether it has wings – and use a site such as iSpot to help you identify your find! You might like to compile your pictures and any notes you make into a mini beast logbook. Then, you can look back on what you find throughout the year: what do you find in each season? How do the mini beasts you find differ from month to month? Which have been your favourite (or least favourite!) and why?

Fancy putting your hard work to good use? Why not become a Citizen Scientist! By sharing details of your finds with organisations and scientists – those who specialise in insects are known as entomologists – through services such as iNaturalist you can effectively help survey your local area’s mini beast population and develop important scientific knowledge. There’s a good list of further Citizen Science projects you might like to get involved with, including many in the north east, here.

An entomologis in the field

If you’re keen to learn more, the Natural History Society of Northumbria – whose aims include the promotion and encouragement of the study of natural history – has some great suggestions for activities, informative blog posts and online natural history talks available through their website.