If you’ve enjoyed my Buzzing! book, you’ll know just how fascinating – and important – minibeasts are. You’ll also know that you can make an important contribution to science by recording the bugs you see. Scientists up and down the UK rely on us to tell them what bugs we see, so they can build up a nationwide picture of what bugs are where. Click below to find out how you can record the bugs you see. Who knows, you might even make a world-first scientific discovery!
You can record many of the minibeasts you see using iRecord. But I’ve added extra information below about recording particular minibeasts.
There’s also Nature’s Calendar, where you can record your Springwatch and Autumnwatch sightings of animals and plants.
Seen something you don’t recognise? Send a photo of it to i-Spot, where experts will help you identify it! Or try to identify it yourself using the guides at Buglife.
Please note: I try to keep the links on this page up to date, but they do sometimes chop and change without my knowing. If you come across any links here that no longer work, do email me and I’ll try to put them right as soon as possible. Thanks!
There are some 4,000 species of beetle in the UK.
If you spot a Rosemary Beetle, the Royal Horticultural Society would like to know about it!
Stag beetles are some of the largest beetles in the UK. They can grow to be larger than a matchbox. The Great Stag Hunt was launched in 1998, to record sightings of stag beetles in the UK, where they are a protected species. Have you seen a stag beetle where you are?
- Find out more about Stag Beetles here and here
- Record your Stag Beetle sightings
Ladybirds – see below
If you see a Tree Bumblebee, you can record your sighting with OPAL as part of their Bugs Count Species Quest.
You can record other Bumblebees you see using iRecord.
If you get really keen on bumblebees, you might want to take part in BeeWalk. This involves you walking a fixed-route of 1-2km every month, and recording what bumblebees you see.
If you want help identifying a bumblebee you see, use some of the links below.
- Find out more about Tree Bumblebees
- Record your Tree Bumblebee sightings at OPAL
- Find out more about identifying bumblebees at the Bumblebee Conservation Trust website
- Send a Bumblebee photo to be identified at BeeWatch
- Find out more about BeeWalk
By the way, the Bumblebee Conservation Trust wrote the Foreword to my Buzzing! book, and are fans of my Buzzing! CD:
‘Your Buzzing! CD is wonderful.
We put it on in the office when someone needs cheering up.’
Butterfly Conservation runs a series of different butterfly recording schemes. One of the best to take part in is The Big Butterfly Count. It only takes 15 minutes once a year, and is vital to help scientists understand which of our butterfly species are threatened and which are thriving.
Painted Lady butterfly
The Painted Lady butterfly flies here all the way from Africa. Let the Butterfly Conservation Trust know if you see any!
Small Tortoiseshell butterfly
OPAL is recording sightings of the Small Tortoiseshell butterfly as part of its Bugs Count Species Quest.
- Find out more about the Small Tortoiseshell butterfly
- Record your Small Tortoiseshell butterfly sightings
There are lots of different ladybirds you might come across in the UK.
- Find out more about ladybirds here
- Download a poster of UK ladybirds here
- Download a poster of UK ladybird larvae here
- Record the ladybirds you see at iRecord
If you see a 2-spot ladybird, you can record your sighting with OPAL as part of their Bugs Count Species Quest.
The Harlequin is an invader ladybird from abroad, with the potential to harm our native ladybird species. The Harlequin arrived in Britain in 2004. Has it reached where you are? I first saw them in York in Autumn 2007 (read all about it). Take a photo if you think you see one. The people at the Harlequin Ladybird Survey will tell you if it’s a Harlequin or not.
- Find out more about Harlequin Ladybirds here and here
- Find out more about how important Harlequin Ladybird records have been
- Record your Harlequin ladybird sightings at iRecord
There are day-flying and night-flying moths.
With climate change, more and more Hummingbird Hawkmoths are expected here. I’ve seen them – fleetingly – in my garden in York. Have you seen them where you are?
I was the first person to record Berberis sawflies in York (read all about it)! Will you be the first person to record them where you are? If you see them, the Royal Horticultural Society would like to know about it!
Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life