In winter our six legged friends tend to go quiet – but where do all of the insects go in winter?
The smaller you are, the faster you lose heat and insects can’t use their food to heat their bodies like us mammals so they are stuck with the temperature of their surroundings. So when it gets cold there isn’t enough energy around for insects to keep active. So how do they survive?
Some, like grasshoppers and many flies, simply die off and rely on the eggs and larvae that they laid during the summer to survive and hatch out as adults in spring! Thats why the grasshopper can afford to sing all summer in Aesops fable
(thanks to Bird and Moon for this comic)
Lots of insects, like queen bumblebees, hibernate by going underground to shelter from the worst winter frosts, emerging in early March to start a new colony and collect pollen from the spring flowers.
Ladybirds sometimes cluster in swarms in good hibernation spots and can even survive frosting over! Thats why they occassionaly find their way the spaces around your sash windows!
Thanks to Ladybird expert Richard Comont of Oxford University for some cracking photos!
Follow the link below to invertebrate charity Buglife to learn how to make a bug hotel – a winter home for minibeasts of all kinds!
This is a great activity for all the family and uses those dead leaves littering the lawn. Children should be supervised making the hotel for their own safety, but will enjoy joining in!
If you know a keen bug hunter or want to get your kids out enjoying the great outdoors next spring – why not get them a bug hunting kit for christmas to see what moves in to your bug hotel
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It’s cold out there! And as you sit toasting your feet by the fire, snuggling deep into a duvet or layering yourself up with your collection of novelty wooly jumpers, spare a thought for our furry, feathery, scaley and crawly friends out bearing the brunt of the weather.
So what can you do to help your garden wildlife this winter?
TIP 1: Feed the birds
Flying takes a lot of energy and birds need to eat a lot to let them keep active during the winter. Lots of species fly south to avoid the worst of the frists but lots of species stick around all year and some even visit us just for the winter – flying in from even colder climes!
There are lots of comercial bird feeders and foods out there but for an afternoons fun and an energy packed birdy snack, why not make your own bird cakes?!?
- Porridge oats
- Bird seed
- Peanuts (unsalted, crushed)
- Dried fruit*
- Plastic cup or bowl to use as a mould
Melt the lard in a large pan and allow to cool but not set then add the other ingredients until the mixture is thick but still pourable.
Pour the mixture into your moulds and push the stick, with string attached, into the centre of the mixture so that it acts as an anchor. Then put in the fridge to set. Once set, you can pop the mixture out of the mould and hang it near to some cover (such as a bush or tree).
It may take the birds a couple of days to notice your bird cakes so its usually best to put out just one at first to avoid waste, but as soon as they catch on your garden will become the most popular cafe in town! All you need to do is sit back and watch and you can identify the birds you attract using a field guide – a great pressie for the budding birdwatcher!
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Posted in Bristol BioBlitz, tagged #greenbristol, Birds, Bristol, christmas, garden wildlife, hibernation, Insects, nature, wildlife, winter on December 11, 2012|
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Its a fresh and frosty afternoon in Bristol and a mad summer of BioBlitzes seems like an age away. As Bristol gears up to Christmas we’ve joined the Bristol Green Capital Blogfest to join the city’s finest environmentally minded organisations to help you have green, wildlife friendly festivities this year!
First out of the blocks was Wildscreen with a blog on Green Christmas Trees!
Watch this space for some tips for sustaining your garden wildlife this winter and we’ll be dispelling some wintery wildlife myths! But first, who can identify this berry munching winter visitor?
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