Hummingbird hawk-moth, photo by Richard Brunton 1/3
Tree bumblebee on cherry plum, photo by Elizabeth Dack 2/3
Broad-bodied chaser, photo by Duncan Westlake 3/3

Summer survey to spot insects

Monday 01 June, 2020

Can you spot the messenger of good tidings, the creature of habit and the gardener’s helpful bumblebee this summer?
Following a new report which shows a drastic decline in insects, we are asking people to record sightings of three in Norfolk: tree bumblebee, hummingbird hawkmoth and broad-bodied chaser. The survey launches today and runs until the end of August.


Add your sightings to our wildlife spotter map

Authored by Professor David Goulson and published by The Wildlife Trusts as part of the Action for Insects campaign, the report found 41% of insect species now face extinction around the world, while population declines were widespread across other insect species. The report also highlighted the vital part played by insects in human food production and in their support of countless other birds, mammals and plants.

Britain’s dragonfly species are being threatened due to habitat destruction and the effects of climate change. Data collected by the British Dragonfly Society show that 36% of UK dragonfly species are in decline. Broad-bodied chasers are known to visit garden ponds, which can be a real haven for dragonflies and damselflies.

According to Professor David Goulson’s report, 23 bee and flower visiting wasp species have become extinct in the UK since 1850. Gardens can provide a vital nectar source for bees. Tree bumblebees first arrived in the UK in 2001, probably from mainland Europe, and seem to particularly like gardens and woodlands, often seen nesting in bird boxes.

According to Butterfly Conservation, many individual species of moth have declined dramatically in recent decades and more than 60 became extinct in the twentieth century. The hummingbird hawkmoth is anecdotally increasing in Norfolk, with more sightings being recorded. This day-flying moth feeds on nectar from flowers and resembles a hummingbird with its hovering flight.

Gemma Walker, Senior Community Officer at Norfolk Wildlife Trust said: 
“Insects are one of the key building blocks of life on which we and countless other familiar species from hedgehogs to garden birds rely. We have picked three insects which we hope people in Norfolk will spot in their gardens and on their local patch, and are asking all sightings to be added to our wildlife spotter map. 

“You don’t have to be an expert to make a valuable contribution to local knowledge of Norfolk’s wildlife. Recording wildlife is an easy way to get involved in wildlife conservation as it helps us to understand a species’ distribution across the county, and identify any areas particularly important or lacking in these species.

“Our spring survey looked for starling, yellowhammer and house sparrow and more than 6,400 records were added to our map! We hope people enjoy looking for insects as much. Add your sightings on the NWT website.” 
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