We have had some surprisingly mild days recently, and with the milder weather insects are suddenly out and about.
Standing in the garden on a mild day you notice them all around – tiny flies and also those gnats that like to congregate in groups. They find a sheltered spot and together perform their mad gnat dance in the early evening.
This is good news for all the insect-eating birds who are less interested in the food I put out now that other options are becoming more plentiful.
Even indoors insects are making their presence felt. I saw a lone ant on the kitchen windowsill, an early reminder of the procession of ants that like to come into the kitchen in the summer months.
I discovered another somewhat larger insect in the dining room. I heard a buzzing – very loud, almost alarmingly so. Peering behind a plant pot at the window I discovered a very large bee. It must have been a queen, woken up from hibernation by the milder weather.
I suspect it had been hibernating beneath the dining room and had found its way up into the house through one of the many tiny holes in this old house.
Fortunately, bees are pretty easy to catch with a glass and some paper and I went outside with my captive bee and placed it on the bench.
Removing its glass prison, it flew off immediately, high up above the gardens and away like a guided missile. I watched it receding until it was lost to view.
It will be looking for a suitable nest site and it seemed to have a clear idea of where it should go.
There have been worrying reports about the loss of insects, most recently a global scientific review which suggested that, on current trends, the world’s insect population could vanish within a century. With such dire predictions we should all appreciate the presence of insects in our environment (even the midge?!).