When it comes to protecting insects or bugs (which already sounds a bit annoying, frankly) we are faced with certain challenges. In advocating their case we can’t benefit from the cuddly effect which is often so helpful with other species, especially our closest relatives, mammals (although I’d rather face a wasp in the wild than a tiger, to be honest). Everybody would say, yes, I’ll donate another £3 to support Greenpeace or the WWF save dolphins, or tigers, or elephants or pandas. But wasps? Or hornets? Bees are perhaps one of the few exceptions. And ladybirds. But a lot of times we don’t even know their names. Suffice it to say, they don’t have a good PR, but we are becoming increasingly aware of the consequences and the damage we inflict on ourselves if we disregard them as part of our ecosystems. We need to work with them, not against them!
Even in our own little homes, there are a few low budget, DIY, easy-on-your-time steps you can follow:
#1 Bug hotels come in many shapes, forms and sizes. You can either buy them or make one yourself. I tried and I’m not particularly skilled in woodwork etc. (although my husband is and I begrudgingly allowed him to help me in the end). A little ramshackle will do however in the end, and this is the result.
It has been standing strong for over a year now, and it also used to harbour a toad in a terracotta flower pot last winter. The spot itself is probably too dark for some insects, others, however, will definitely prefer it to too much sunlight.
#2 Another aspect is a wild corner left in the garden, where we have left twigs, brambles and nettles. The dunnock loves it and fungi grow on the old wood. Mice, voles and toads and perhaps even bats (we do have a lot of them) can burrow there. Bats like old tree trunks of course, so I hope that some of them are just left after they have snapped after storm Ophelia in October 2017. They are colonised very quickly.
#3 Ponds – we have two little basins in our garden. In the spring, you can see it stirring underneath the pondweed and the duckweed when the little tadpoles are going through their miraculous stages of metamorphosis.
Of course, there is always a lot more you can do, but every little helps!