On Monday I joined staff and pupils of Perry Wood Primary School in unveiling a brand-new bug hotel in the walkway between The Hive and Crowngate Shopping Centre. A bug hotel is a human-made outdoor structure that attracts insects and smaller animals, to provide them with shelter and a safe place to live.
We live in a busy, changing and often increasingly urban and nature depleted world. We often hear about biodiversity loss, but we are also losing bio abundance. Quite simply if we don’t have enough insects for birds to eat, we’ll continue to see a decline in nature and we’ll all be the losers.
Yes, bug hotels are good for insects, but bug hotels are good for us too. They allow us to get closer to nature and learn about how balanced ecosystems and biodiversity work. They teach us not to be afraid of insects and give us a better understanding of their role in our ecosystem and what they bring to our gardens. Creatures such as ladybirds help to control aphids in our gardens and farmland. Other types of beneficial bugs are the pollinators. Solitary bees pollinate plants from ornamental flowers to food crops.
Very small children often have a fascination with tiny bugs, beetles and worms. But as we get older that childhood fascination sometimes gets extinguished and replaced with feelings of revulsion and a desire to stamp on and destroy the insects around us. Following the lead of Perry Wood Primary School, I now hope to better appreciate and remember the rich tapestry of life including worms, woodlice, centipedes, flies, silverfish, wasps, beetles, mice, shrews, earwigs, bees, lacewings and hoverflies and many, many more, quietly living often unseen just a few steps away.