PARENTS

Insects In The Garden

24/10/2014 18:25 | Updated 20 May 2015

Ladybug on Child's Hand

I just love those days, when the children can happily spend hours outside in the garden (rather than being indoors systematically trashing every room in the house).

Even though we live in East London, we have a decent sized outdoor space, which just teems with wildlife. All those little bugs and beasties provide endless entertainment for two small children. Here are some of the ways we have fun with bugs...

Annoy a spider

OK, maybe this seems a bit mean, but I think it's alright as long as you don't do it repeatedly. You see, spiders like things to be spick and span – a tidy web is a tidy mind and all that. If you come across a big spider's web, go in search of a tiny speck of something – maybe a grass seed, or a little minuscule bit of a dried up leaf.

Chuck it in the web, and watch the spider as it rushes over, discovers it hasn't caught a fly after all, and then very carefully untangles the alien object from its web and throws it on the floor (you can almost hear it huffing as it does so). So fun.

Be kind to a bee

Most people know how very, very important bees and other pollinators are to, well, humans' very existence actually. So in between me signing petitions to protect bees, the girls and I always keep our eyes peeled for tired bees who might need a bit of help.

A tired bumble bee might appear to be dead, remaining completely still on the ground, or might be crawling very slowly. What it needs is some energy, a sugar fix.

It's important not to give bees honey (even though it might seem like the natural thing to do) because the honey in your cupboard might well be imported and contain enzymes which could be harmful to our native bees.

So, just mix up some sugar solution – two tablespoons of white sugar, mixed with one tablespoon of water. Then, using a teaspoon, put a little droplet close to the bee. It'll smell the sugar immediately, and if you're lucky, you'll see the bee's tiny tongue come out to suck up its energy drink.

After a little more time resting, your busy bee will fly away – and you and your children will have the fuzzy, buzzy feeling which comes from doing a bee a good turn.

Hunt for mummy woodlice

When Ruby was very tiny, she used to think that woodlice were very very small rhinoceroses.

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