Paul’s garden project

As part of the NHC project, I have been recording every species of invertebrate found in our Cambridge garden (at least the ones I have been able to identify) and at the time of writing the number found is 633. In order to maximise the numbers, we have been taking steps to encourage more by planting more native species. 3 years ago we ripped out a non-native hedge, replacing it with one composed of only native species. This has been a rich source of species not recorded before, especially Hemiptera (true bugs).

This year we gave over 5m2 of our lawn to creating a mini wild meadow by removing the existing turf and replacing it with wild meadow turf which was laid down in late March. By early June it had produced a healthy crop of flowers and grasses.

The Mini Meadow , early June

We have already had several new species, including a number of meadow specialist bugs such as the Bishop’s Mitre Shieldbug, Stenodema laevigata, Javesella dubia and Dicranotropis hamata.

Bishop’s Mitre Shieldbug (left), Stenodema laevigata (right)
Javesella dubia (Left), Dicranotropis hamata (Right).

Some of the wild meadow flowers contained in the mix are foodplants for specific species. Oxeye Daisies provide a home for a number of species such as the leaf mining moth Bucculatrix nigricomella and the rather attractive fruit fly Tephritis neesii, which lay their eggs in the flower head. Campion Moth caterpillars feed internally in the seed capsules of various Campions.

Tephritis neesii (left), Campion Moth (Right).

Two of the latest interesting finds from the meadow are the Longhorn Beetle Grammoptera ruficornis and an Ornate Tailed Digger Wasp.

Grammoptera ruficornis (left), Ornate Tailed Digger Wasp (Right).

I am expecting many more finds over the summer and autumn and will post the highlights here.