Insects

Insects found in the Country Park

Insects are everywhere and the Country Park is no exception. The larger, more colourful flying insects are easy to spot but the smaller, well camouflaged insects that fly less often, or not at all can be very difficult to find. There are, however, more than 20,000 insect species in the UK.  Butterflies, Dragonflies and Hover-flies have their own pages on this site so this page just has a selection of some of the other insects you are most likely to find around the park.

Bees and Wasps

Bumble-bee

The Bumble-bee is a familiar visitor to our gardens but is in decline due to the loss of flower-rich meadows. Several species can be found within the park.

Honey Bee

There are many species of bee in the park. The most familiar is the Honey Bee which sometimes nests in hollow trees.

Common Wasp

This is the most familiar of our wasps as it is abundant everywhere, even entering our homes. Although it has a tendency to sting it also feeds its larvae on a number of garden pests.

Hornet

Although larger than other wasps, the hornet is less aggressive. It nests in  a few hollow trees around the park.

Mason Wasps

Most Mason Wasps are black with plain yellow banding and narrow waists. They are solitary wasps and rarely sting. The various species are difficult to tell apart.

Gasteruption Jaculator

This parasitic wasp has a very long abdomen and the female (shown here) has an extremely long ovipositor which it uses to insert its eggs into the larvae of other solitary wasps or bees.

Beetles

Common Red Soldier Beetle

This is the most frequently seen of the Soldier beetles. Others have similar long rectangular shape but different colours.

Anthocomus Rufus

This distinctive beetle has a preference for the wet areas around reedbeds.

7-Spot Ladybird

One of our best-known beetles, the 7-spot is one of several Ladybird species to be found in the park.

Thick-legged Flower Beetle

Also known as the False Oil Beetle, it is a great pollinator of wild flowers. Only the male has the characteristic swollen thighs.

Malachite Beetle

Recognised by its gem-stone green colour and the two red spots towards the rear of its wing cases.

Spotted Longhorn Beetle

One of several species of longhorn beetles likely to be found in the valley, this one is easy to spot because of its bright colours.

Bugs

Common Green Capsid

Often seen on thistles, this capsid is, as its name suggests, fairly common.

Capsid (Grypocoris stysi)

Another capsid, this one has far more distinctive markings.

Leaf Hopper

There are many different kinds of leafhopper, a family of jumping bugs.

Dock Bug

Very common in the valley as its favourite food is the Dock plant.

Sloe Bug

Another member of the shield bug family, all of which have a shield-like shape.

Green Shield Bug

A common shield-bug, which is bright green all over, although it darkens in the autumn.

Crickets and Grasshoppers

Crickets and grasshoppers can be told apart as crickets all have antennae that are at least as long as their bodies. The young go through various nymph stages, usually smaller, wingless versions of the adult but often with very different colours. Grasshopper are usually only found in grass, whereas crickets can often be found in trees and other vegetation.

Common Green Grasshopper

Several grasshopper are quite variable in colour.

Field Grasshopper

Usually brown, but green, grey and reddish forms exist.

Roesels Bush Cricket

Fairly common in the valley, identified by the yellow border to its pronotum.

Speckled Bush Cricket

This bush cricket is instantly recognisable by its tiny black spots.

Dark Bush Cricket (nymph)

The adults are pale brown to almost black above and greenish yellow below.

Conehead Cricket (nymph)

Either the Short-winged Conehead or the Long-winged Conehead which are much the same at the nymph stage.

Other insects

Alder Fly

Alder flies are weak fliers and rarely move far from water where they breed.

Ichneuman Fly

One of a number of Ichneuman flies, all of which are parasitoids and several are nocturnal.

Scorpion Fly

Despite its name the Scorpion Fly is harmless. The male’s tail is longer and curls like a scorpion’s.

More Information

The Amateur Entomologists’ Society has a very informative website about insects
Insects of Britain and Norther Europe is an interesting Facebook group

More about Bees and Wasps (and ants) on the BWARS website
and UK Bees, Wasps and Ants group on Facebook

British Bugs is a good on-line guide to the true bugs of the UK

Download a free Field Guide to common Bush Crickets and Grasshoppers

Photos on this page by Peter Hunnisett