Recently “On the Verge” volunteers have been thinking a lot about insects, especially since we had the renowned writer Dave Goulson giving us a wonderful talk in Seaford about the theme of his latest (highly recommended) book “Averting the Insect Apocalypse”
We learnt more about how long insects had been on Earth (400 million years!) and the staggering diversity of insects on Earth (a million different species including 300,000 species of beetle alone!) Dave showed us some extraordinary and beautiful examples. Some we can find right here in Seaford.
Insects are not just interesting but essential to life as we know it. They pollinate ¾ of the crops we grow, control pests, recycle all sorts of organic materials, keep the soil healthy, and are a vital source of food for birds, fish and other creatures.
It was depressing to hear just how much insect populations have declined across the world over our lifetimes, and worryingly there are gaps in the data as many species, and locations are not carefully monitored. The extensive use of pesticides in agriculture and our gardens and the plants we buy, have undoubtedly played a part in this shocking decline.
Encouragingly we learnt that we can help to reverse this catastrophic decline so that populations of insects start to recover. There are steps we can take to encourage insects, by providing food, shelter and space.
Even a small garden can be a haven for insects, and consequently for other wildlife. If we don’t have a garden, we can join local groups (such as our green space champions) working to improve biodiversity. Leaving grass in verges and parks to grow longer and wildflowers to flourish and avoiding pesticides in our towns, will all help insect populations to recover.
We recently helped with some wildflower planting and learning activities at Chyngton school which will help insect populations there. Young children often have a fascination with bugs, that we sometimes lose by the time we are adults. If you are planning an event in Seaford, we can now lend equipment including insect and other spotting guides, magnifiers, and surveying equipment (funded by the “Ouse Valley Climate Action” lottery fund). Please get in touch to find out more.
In June we will have meetings with Buglife who are helping us with various projects including pollinator workshops and evaluating potential habitats for insects. This will help us in local green spaces and our own gardens, to ensure that insects have everything they need to survive and thrive.
Do let us know what insects you have spotted round Seaford!
First published in Seaford Scene in June 2022
You can now share your sightings or questions on the new “Renaturing Seaford” facebook page.