National Insect Week 2010

National Insect Week comes but once every two years … and this is one of those years! Here in York I was involved in two NIW events.

‘The Wet, Weird and Wonderful World of Garden Insects’ was a co-production between Dr Dave Chesmore (Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society, bio-acoustics expert and local Moth Man), Duncan Sivell of BugLife and me.

National Insect Week 2010 at the University of York
National Insect Week 2010 at the University of York

Duncan told us all about the amazing insects that live in garden ponds. From Dave we learned all about the extraordinary sounds that insects make. And I treated our audience to a NIW Buzzing! show.

Moth Man Dave had done some moth trapping the night before in his garden, and we all enjoyed marvelling at the moths he had brought along. And some of the other insects too …

One of the larvae Dave brought along ...
A stag beetle larva that Dave brought along ...

Vicky Kindemba of BugLife had collected some pondlife for us, displayed in an aquarium, and it included – if you looked very carefully – a damselfly nymph!

This event took place at the University of York, and we had an interested and interesting audience raning from children through to retirees. I discovered, whilst talking with them afterwards, that we were in the presence of not one, not two but three Tansy beetle experts – nearly a world record! Tansy beetles are the ‘jewels of York’ – find out more here. Geoff Oxford, Roma Oxford and Duncan Sivell have all been instrumental in researching and protecting them.

No Tansy beetle experts at my second NIW gig, but a beady-eyed member of the audience noticed a Cabbage moth that sat through the show on the floor! This was a solo Buzzing! show that I put on as part of the York Cemetery Green Day. It was a stunningly sunny day and the audience was very enthusiastic.

Both my NIW events this year coincided with important football matches in the World Cup in South Africa. The York Cemetery event clashed with the crucial England v. Germany match, which might explain why there were many more women than men in the audience!

Thank you to the Royal Entomological Society for their support of our University of York event, and to the Friends of York Cemetery for their assistance at the Green Fair event.

Anneliese Emmans

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