This week, I’m speaking to esteemed entomologist Dr Ian Bedford about accepting the insects in your garden and learning to accept their vital role in the wider ecosystem. We talk about the how gardens can work alongside public spaces to provide habitats for beleaguered bugs, how we can reconcile growing food with welcoming bugs and whether reports of Insectageddon are justified.
About Dr Ian Bedford:
“I have been fascinated by insects and other invertebrates for most of my life.
Starting out as an Amateur Entomologist, studying and conserving butterflies on the South Downs, I went on to pursue a professional career as a Research Entomologist and ran the Entomology Department at the John Innes Centre in Norwich, until my recent retirement after 42 years. I can now follow my passion for all things Entomological at a more leisurely pace.
Following retirement I am continuing to visit Garden and Horticultural Societies to give talks on various insect – related subjects
(Please see the booking events list at the bottom of webpage)
In addition, I’m attending event days for Garden Centres, giving talks and arranging a Plant Pest Clinic for visitors and customers. I’m also invited to talk at a number of Garden Shows around the country.
I also speak on a number of radio shows and currently have the great honour of being the resident ‘Go To’ Entomologist for BBC Radio Norfolk, Suffolk and Lincolnshire. I also record a bug-related story each week for Toby Buckland’s Sunday morning show on BBC Radio Devon ‘An Entomologist Entertains’.
I’ve also featured on BBC Gardeners Question Time and appeared on TV shows such as BBC Gardeners’ World, Inside Out, Tonight, Horizon, BBC Breakfast, A to Z of TV Gardening, The Great British Garden Revival and even Harry Hill’s Alien Fun Capsule!”.
What We Discuss:
The species that most need our help at the moment
Some of the best and worst habits us gardeners have that either help or hinder insects
Plants that are fairly common but do little or nothing to provide a food source or habitat
Public and private landowners collaborating in order to establish a network of habitats
The ecosystems of our gardens and our region-specific species
Are all pesticides a no-no?
How can we reconcile the need for wilder areas in our gardens and landscapes with the desire to grow food plants?
Insectageddon – exaggerated or as bad as reported?
Roots and All 0:01
I’m Sarah Wilson and you’re listening to the Roots and All podcast. I’m here to help you get growing. Join me as I explore everything plant related both indoors and out and provide the information you need to create your perfect green environment. Hello, and welcome to this week’s episode of the podcast, and welcome indeed to our new Monday slot. This week I’m speaking to esteemed entomologist, Dr. Ian Bedford about accepting the insects in your garden and learning to accept their vital role in the wider ecosystem. We talk about how gardens can work alongside public spaces to provide habitats for beleaguered bugs. How we can reconcile growing food with welcoming bugs and weather reports of insect again are justified. I’m pleased to introduce you to Ian to because starting today, there will be a slot at the end of each episode where he talks about his bug of the week. It will usually be a bug that’s just emerged in your garden that week. Obviously this is more accurate for UK listeners. But hopefully it’ll be of interest to listeners outside the UK Because Ian often brings in wider issues. So when we’re going to be I started by asking Ian, which bugs most need our help?
Dr Ian Bedford 1:10
Well, I think within the bug world, we’re seeing massive declines right across the planet with really all of them need our help, because they’re all part of that food chain, which, you know, starts off really down with the plants and then you get the bugs that feed on those bugs that feed on the other bugs. And eventually, those are the bottom parts of those really important two chains and you know, which should exist in all our environments. So, the importance of maintaining these food webs, which are these two chains rather, which then linked together to make food webs is absolutely crucial to whether the ecosystems can be sustained into the future and we we have to all accept this and we have To realise that nowadays, all parts of our ecology have a role to play within the ecology and we can all do something to help and the days I think are gone, when you just pick up, you know, a kind of bug killer, the grower goes out and gets the most toxic product, he can just brand his crops because it’s the knock on effect to the rest of the ecosystem has to be taken account. So to answer that question, I think anything really in the book world needs to be helped at the moment to reestablish healthy food chains and food webs.
Unknown Speaker 2:34
And when you say that the days are gone of picking up these sprays, do you think they have genuinely gone because people aren’t doing it or have they gone because we can’t possibly carry on like that and we need to change I
Unknown Speaker 2:48
think the information religion some has, has become more accessible now. And people are aware of the consequences of where, you know pesticides are being used and linked to There’s some serious diseases and illnesses that growers and uses of these pesticides have had. And we’ve seen some incredible disasters around the world with the pesticide companies where things have gone wrong, and there’s been leaks and yeah, people have died. And in fact, a lot of the chemicals that have been used in the past actually originated from the wars where they were used to kill soldiers. So I think people’s awareness to this and having to you know, be able to see the decline in insects within their own gardens and you’ve only got a drive down the road in your car now to see that, you know, the windshield This doesn’t get the amount of bugs splattered on it as there was a few years ago. So it is quite obvious that we have a problem and it’s all about teaching people what they need to do to improve this so the environment can really get back to normal and what’s really interesting I think, you know, in this days of lockdown with The traffic has been so, so much reduced, our roads are very rapidly seeing numbers start to rise with some spaces. So it’s a great indicator that, you know, it doesn’t take much to try and get things back on track again. So, you know, I really do feel that that’s an opportunity to ask Google to think about what they’re doing in the future and to try and check your weather in a garden to garden in a more environmentally friendly manner.
Unknown Speaker 4:27
And as somebody who is a champion of bugs, what do you think is some of the best and worst habits that us gardeners have that either help or hinder intellect?
Unknown Speaker 4:37
Well, almost certainly, it’s the
Unknown Speaker 4:42
thing when you first start to see your flowers and plants starting to grow in spring and they get aphids on them and so many people up and up until recently, it just said, right, where’s the bug killer? Let’s get rid of them. It’s killing them off. And they don’t think that they’re there for a purpose because Those first flush of insects that are actually sailed on the developing rosebuds are there to enable things like the blue chips to collect insects for their young. It’s all timed so that other organisms have a food source. So that’s one of the things you know, that I think people do wrongly, they, when they see something, they immediately think there’s kill it, rather than think about what its role in the environment is, and it goes with a lot of other things as well. You know, people worry when they see flying ants, for example, getting the summer Well, you know, what, that’s only the time when those ancestors released their new reproductive and, and it’s a great time for the birds which are actually due to migrate south again, things like the swallows Swift’s and the Houseman things to actually have a massive feed, and to really sort of build up their energies on these falling ends. So, you know, instead of putting pests in boiling water or a friend’s nest, which I’ve seen lots of people do Just let them be because it’s just a once or twice a year event that she’s part of nature.
Unknown Speaker 6:07
Yeah, so I spoke to somebody on Sunday he was talking about pouring boiling water on ants and oh, it’s a horrible thought. But I guess sort of switching from the the insects themselves and thinking about more the plants. And do you think there are many plants? Well, that you can think of that are fairly common, but do little or nothing to provide a food source or habitat and I guess I’m thinking more about the ornamentals that we might grow in our gardens.
Unknown Speaker 6:35
Yes, there’s been
Unknown Speaker 6:39
a trend I guess, not so much now because people are more aware of this but to buy flowers that big blooms, massive colours, but they’re these flowers, which often double blooms that with the insects can’t get any access to natural pollen. So really, all they’re doing there. Having these files which just look pretty at the garden, but serve no purpose for the pollinating insects, I mean, they might be okay for insects that feed on the leaves. But then again, you know, many people would think they got pests and want to get, get rid of them. So I’d always say go for the plants, which you actually see insects actively visiting and whenever I go to a garden centre and decide, you know, I’m going to buy some plants for the garden, I’m always looking around to see which things are in front of me. And which things are buzzing with the insects because I know then that when you bring them back home and planting your garden, you’re gonna, you’re gonna be doing some good for the good insects.
Unknown Speaker 7:37
Actually, you mentioned trends and it may be think about the trend for planting grasses, particularly grasses from probably a North American climate. How are they for insects? Do they provide any use
Unknown Speaker 7:51
or do I think they do actually, because they can always be grown in amongst other plants. They offer some great Shelter In fact, only the last year I had a campus grass, which was a little bit too big and I decided to just slice it down and move it and as I was slicing through it, I came within a millimetre of chopping through a couple of frogs that were in the middle of it. And they obviously spent the winter there. So they provide a great habitat Shelton wants but also a lot of Farmer Brown butterflies. their larvae feed on grasses. And we think that we’re seeing more of these brown butterflies and people’s gardens now because they’re able to feed on these ornamental grasses. So again, that’s a good thing but the we need to be really really careful of is that when we buy plants to put in the guard, we can see the positives like I’ve just said about, you know, the shelter and the possibility that being a food plant for butterfly caterpillars, but we need to make sure it hasn’t been treated with long lasting systemic pesticides because a lot of the retailers have I’ve been selling plants that already treated with these pesticides to ensure that they haven’t got bugs on them when people come to buy them from their shops. And I know the year before last Sussex University undertook a study to look at some, all the flowering plants that were coming out of places the other big retail stores, the sheds the nurseries that they found, I think it was 76% that the plants that were being sold as good for pollinators even had the RHS stamp of approval contained near Nick neonicotinoid systemic pesticides. So that’s not only bad for the environment, I think it’s highly annoying as well, but you will be going out and spending good money on plants that you think are going to be great for the environment in your garden, but in fact, they’re actually providing a toxic environment for the pollinating species.
Unknown Speaker 9:57
Yeah, I did interview day goals and actually on the podcast and he was talking about that and and like you say it’s it’s it’s upsetting that people think they’re doing good and actually they end up doing harm. You know, and that’s not good. But talking about sprays. I wanted to ask you if you think that if we want to encourage wildlife are all pesticides a no no. And are any, are there any that are safe? I mean, some people think that garlic spray is a really good kind of, you know, insecticide, what are your thoughts on those?
Unknown Speaker 10:29
What Well, I’ve never come across I mean, I do a lot of talks to garden clubs and horticultural societies. And I’ve never come across anybody who’s had a good valid reason for using a chemical spray within a garden environment. There’s always a safe alternative for them to use. And, but if you did want to spray, there are certain things that are which are acceptable. Some of the soap based products, for example, as a product actually called them, SP planted the Your major has been used by many commercial growers and gardeners now because it’s a mixture of soaps that are plant safe and doesn’t cause what we call fire toxic damage. But it washes off small SAP sucking insects such as the aphids, the thrips, the spider mites wipe fly, and doesn’t harm any of the beneficial and more robust insects that are actually on there, feeding on them. So these are called Yeah, these sort of safe options. But the trouble is a lot of the products that you go into a garden centre, the buyer just simply called bug killer. And people think oh, well because it’s easily accessible from the shelf, and it’s got a nice friendly name, it’ll be fine. But if you look at the small print on the back and look at the active ingredient, you’ll actually be able to see whether it is a chemical or soap. And I think that’s what people ought to really do. You know, to actually scrutinise the backs of things. If they Don’t want something that’s such a broad spectrum killer, such as the pyrethrins, or the neonicotinoids, which sold a soft fire chlorine acid tamper proof, there’s a lot of these chemical names which are associated with those. And then they need to be told that and one of the things I’m trying to do at the moment is to get garden centres to, to join a little sort of group where we begin to set aside part of the garden centres a green area where customers can go in and they have total confidence that all the products that are being sold in the area are not harmful in any way to the beneficial life in the gardens. So they have the option they can go to the side and buy these broad spectrum pesticides if they wanted to. Go to the other side and buy the safe ones. Going back to what you said about the garlic sprays, you’re making your own things for me to endorse that on the radio or on a podcast will be illegal because you’re not allowed To actually supply the government some regulation the fact that people don’t go out and create these things which could potentially be very poisonous. I mean, we know that things like the castor oil plant for example, people growing their gardens is one of the most deadliest poisons in the sea it seems known to man so you don’t want somebody to think oh well get those seeds or crush them all up and boil off the the boil down the milkweed and then spray it on things because
Unknown Speaker 13:31
off the village will be dead.
Unknown Speaker 13:34
But so that’s that’s really the reason for it, but common sense prevails. So you know that if you’re, if you’re eating garlic, you can eat more. What harm Are you really going to do if you were to crush garlic up into a liquid and spray it on a plant well as your decision at the end of the day, and I think it’s also down to you to decide whether it works or not because having studied a lot of different types of natural products in my, in my time as a research entomologist, I know that there’s lots of other factors which govern whether they’re going to work or not. And that’s down to environmental conditions. And the particular pest it and the plant he or she trying to spray. Okay. And
Unknown Speaker 14:19
so I was thinking about gardeners and the advice that we get for our gardens. And I wondered if maybe we need to know more about the ecosystems that are specific to our gardens. So there are region specific species, and there are, you know, species of insects that need particular conditions. And sometimes we think that we’re just kind of because we’re applying this broad brush advice or Let’s plant lots of plants for pollinators. Let’s encourage bees, let’s encourage this, that and the other. I wonder if sometimes maybe we forget that we are part of a region that has a very specific ecosystem and sometimes we need To know a bit more in order to apply the right advice, do you think that’s a valid concern?
Unknown Speaker 15:06
Absolutely. I think that’s a very, very sensible question to ask actually, because you’re right. You know, in different regions, you get different, different ecosystems, different organisms that live within that. And the last thing you want to be doing is planting things to try and attract something that’s just never going to appear. You might as well put something in it’s going to help help the environment in that particular region. And I think it’s a case of actually standing back a little bit and looking to see what’s going on around the area. I mean, we’re I know we’re very close to a big lake. We’ve got some open fields where I know there’s a certain type of butterflies population there but we’re near the Norfolk broads, where the game has lots of insects wait which which like water so by building a pond in The garden very, very quickly, I started to see a dragon flies and the damsel flies, and those types of things coming along. So you can actually, you know, compliment and add to that environment by just stepping back and spending a bit, a little bit of time looking at it and seeing how you can actually add to which rather than creating something that’s just totally different to what’s there. So definitely do that. It’s it’s a very important thing. And I always look on the the gardens as being like little stepping stones as well, because one of the big problems we have now is with so many new houses being built and whatever it means that an area gets divided up into lots of little small locations, perhaps small nature reserves and things. And it’s very difficult for the wildlife within one nature zone to move to another one. And what happens over time, it’s because they’re also you get a lot of inbreeding that solid contains that Can everyone that geographically isolated, the population has become sort of different. And in the long term, you actually can end up with different what we call buyer types, which actually aren’t compatible and don’t interbreed. So you need to really make sure that the wildlife is moving between these different areas. And people are very much aware of the need for that. And I think with home gardens, you can almost use them as stepping stones between these wildlife zones. So by getting the environment right, the wildlife is able to move its way through into new locations. And we’re actually seeing them with things like these big highways that are being set up to enable the pollinators to spread right across the countries I was looking at when the other day that’s been set up in Wales, actually amazing. So yeah, definitely, that’s something that we need to make sure we can do. And everybody’s got a garden, or even, you know, to be honest, patio or even a balcony. There’s no reason at all why things can’t be grown in pots. Which actually complements the local environment? So yeah,
Unknown Speaker 18:05
yeah, I wonder if that might stray into very difficult territory? Because one of my later questions, which I’ll come on to now was, you know, do does there need to be a dialogue between public and private land owners? And do we need to be collaborating more so that we can increase that network of habitats, but then it kind of had me thinking or, you know, if somebody came along and said to somebody, oh, you know, we have got this public park, which you’re next door to, we feel that you should incorporate this, I can very quickly see that becoming a, you know, a real issue where people would feel that maybe the government or local authorities were interfering in their personal space, so I guess it’s more fun in a positive way for that collaboration to happen.
Unknown Speaker 18:51
Yeah, so I think that would cause a lot of potential problems, but it’s not to say that you know, the sides of the The roads can’t be managed properly by the Council so that they are grown with wildflowers and that they don’t chop them down at the wrong times of year because that’s one of the biggest problems that we’ve been having around here is that some absolutely amazing wildflower zones have been set up. Then you’re seeing all this, this life, the butterflies, the bees and everything in there. And then the next day you come along and somebody has gone through with a with these great big lawnmower things and cut it all down and taken away all the cuttings. And you think how crazy and all that effort has gone into establishing that so now I’m not gonna have to start to populate it. It’s just been killed off in an afternoon. So and looking on social media, I mean, I’m on on Twitter and you see a lot of pictures being similar people said, I can’t believe what’s just happened and there’s a before and after picture of where exactly the same thing has happened in other parts of country. So, but public pressure on on the authorities will hopefully enable them to have strategies which actually help the environment rather than work against it. And, okay, this is going to be the private landowners, which, like us, said, you know, you can’t dictate to them what to do. But I think there’s an awful lot of people who live in their own little houses with gardens who would welcome being part of that big jigsaw puzzle that that can help and then they can always add their little bit to this to to help them but it does involve people just working together as a community, or being aware of the facts.
Unknown Speaker 20:39
Yeah, definitely. I mean, we Yeah, same thing around here this week. As soon as the council workers have obviously been able to work safely. They’ve just gone round. All of the vertices of the on the roads that were I drive regularly, and they’ve all been cut in the last week. So you know, take that, take it out all sorts of lovely stuff. But you know, it is a problem. And we do need to keep on badgering, I think. So thinking about our gardens and how they would form part of a wider landscape. I think one of the things that I I come up against occasionally is when people are growing food, and I think they’re a lot of people who grow food very much understand that growing the food is part of a wider picture and that they need to maybe fit their activities in with, you know, kind of how everything works on a grand scale. But there are definitely people I think he think, who feel that you know, having a lot of wildlife in your garden and growing food are not compatible. How do you feel about that?
Unknown Speaker 21:49
It does require a little bit of planning. And, but there’s never situation other thing which can’t be managed. You can get to the point. Where is it Very difficult to manage and I had that situation myself back in 2012 when my garden was invaded by a Spanish slug species called the Spanish slug which came in and basically just decimated everything I’m in one morning I actually collected 356 inch slugs off my lawn in half an hour. And they go right through my vegetable patch. They just destroyed partially everything. It was just amazing even in the greenhouse sitting on all the smartest eating disorders and it just had erupted with slugs and these things, had a very wide omnivorous diet. So basically, there wasn’t sort of certain food, they eat certain food they didn’t they just went through everything. But rather than cover my garden in slug pellets, which, you know, a lot of people told me I want to do. I just really started to pick these up morning and night by hand and it took a number of years to get on top of it, but the Spanish locks are still in my garden. Now. Very, very low numbers, but whenever I see one is collected and disposed of, it’s an invading species so I don’t have any problems in getting rid of it. In fact, it does actually eat native snails and slugs. So, you know, I tried to control it myself. I think I’m doing some good for my garden environment. But saying that I’ve also seen and that and it’s been reported to me by some other people as well that the birds are adapting to the Spanish like, and accepting it as possible new food source because one of his biggest problems was it produces so much slime that most of the slug predators in Northern Europe just wouldn’t touch it. Things like the birds, the reptiles, the hedgehogs because of the amount of slime produced but we’ve seen black birds picking them up and wiping them on the moon now. I had to wipe the slide off and then they fly off with it and so your nature has a way of learning and adapting And something is a massive evading problem actually, it can become a really good food source for certain wildlife. So where we have the slugs have been in low numbers and the Spanish slugs are they’re great, great for the black birds and the thrushes and I haven’t seen frogs have wiping them normally
Unknown Speaker 24:22
I want if that’s what I’ve picked up in the past and you cannot wash the slime off your hands however hard to try it takes ages they are really slimy. I wonder if that’s them.
Unknown Speaker 24:33
Yeah, well actually is a good tip for that because
Unknown Speaker 24:37
it’s slugs and snails make the slime they’ve got these, these liquid crystals that are inside their bodies and they have to absorb the water and that then they expand 100 times into slime, and that’s what forms the slime. So if you get the slime in your fingers, it naturally absorbs water so that’s why you shut up so the simplest way to get rid of slime is to put towels powder on your hands and just rub it and then it dries up the slime. Because you know if you get a slug that comes in doors and walks across the door slams across the carpet, it leaves a trail. Just Just vacuum up, it goes into dust. So, yeah, so that’s what happens when it’s dry. So used talcum powder.
Unknown Speaker 25:20
I thought I might have to break out the small finger.
Unknown Speaker 25:27
Right. So I should make a note of that. Thank you. So you were talking earlier about kind of insects on windscreens and things and that is something that a lot of people quote as an example of, you know, invertebrate numbers declining. How bad is insect to get in? Is it you know, are reports exaggerated or is it really that bad?
Unknown Speaker 25:52
So that’s a difficult question to answer because I think it sells newspapers. Yeah. In fact, the game whatever it is, These sort of headlines, always popular. But as we’ve seen with this lockdown, insect populations are very quick to recover once you actually take out the fact that that’s reducing, I think the ban on certain long term pesticides you know, the neonicotinoids on field crops has been a great help because we’re now seeing so much killing going on in in the fields with those types of pesticides. But there’s also and it’s become clear with certain species that the climate is having a great effect on insect numbers as well. And I’ve been seeing this in particular with one butterfly species the small tortoise shell butterfly is the one of our most popular butterflies birds. And the year before last are quite a few in the garden so I grow badly is especially for those long term butterflies and then we had a spell which It became incredibly hot. It was just like, you know, the sort of temperatures you experienced in southern Spain. And almost overnight, the sport auditions disappeared. The butterflies you know, the peacocks and the, the Kevin whites on that. Fine they were around. But you also see the peacocks and the saltwater shells in southern Europe but you don’t see so much in Photoshop. So it was telling me that these butterflies are more of a temperate adaptive attempt. You know, both of us have adapted to a more temperate climate. So when the temperatures got past a certain level, it was they were uncomfortable. And I wasn’t sure whether they they died or they just saw hunkered down they go and just many insects go into a thing called Easter vacation when it gets too hot. They just close down. But the next year The same thing happened. There wasn’t so many small children as soon as we got the hot smell, they vanished again. So climate definitely has, I think, a role to play and what we’re seeing In the changes in if I’m when when something is lost
Unknown Speaker 28:03
Unknown Speaker 28:06
an ecosystem, it takes a while for the ecosystem to fill that space. But something will come along and we’ve seen that with dragonflies as well we’ve had some species of dragonflies which have been lost. And I think then the climate change, but other ones are coming in from Europe, there’s damselflies as well that they have been doing this and they replace the last pieces. So it’s quite a dynamic situation, I think, but governed by the environment. But it does also mean that we’re seeing problematic pests coming in. And when they move into a new area, like the Spanish flu, they come in without their own natural enemies, which they’ve evolved within their country of origin. And they can cause a problem for a while. And particularly with a virus transmitting whitefly that I was studying down in southern Spain, when I was Working as a professional entomologist, over the years that I was working with that it moved from, you know, Southern Portugal, along, you know, the sort of Andalusia area of Spain, right up north to southern Spain, just in the sort of 10 years that I was working there. So things are on the march into more sort of temperate regions, and I think because of the changing environment, yeah.
Unknown Speaker 29:28
Yeah, definitely things are changing and like eat it, which is fine if things as you say, can feel the need to adapt quickly enough. But the worry is, I guess that maybe they’re not. Okay, well, in thank you for that. That’s amazing. I just wanted to introduce your segment which is going to be added to the end of each podcast episode going forwards. And it is you talking about a bug of your choice? Would you just like to explain a little bit about it and maybe tell people you hoped they gain from listening to it.
Unknown Speaker 30:03
Unknown Speaker 30:05
part of my
Unknown Speaker 30:07
work since I’d sort of left professional entomology was to go out and talk to people about my world. But that also involves going out to garden clubs and garden shows, holding pest clinics and giving talks in the speakers tend to that. And I’ve been invited down to Toby backlands Festival, which is held in Padron castle in near Exeter. Every year, every sort of springtime and got to know Toby quite well. I’ve known him from some years previously, but so, you know, got really well and he then started to have his own radio show on Sunday mornings on BBC Devon. And it’s, well the moment is a four hour show. I’m not sure it’s gonna continue but there’s four hours but within that he wanted a little piece recorded by me about a bug He calls it the entomologist to entertains. So I just scratch my head and think of a bug which I could talk about and record a little. Yeah, one or two minutes session for him and send it down. And he’d play that out each Sunday morning. Well, I think we’re up to about number 65 at the moment, but it’s been going on quite a long time and, and the graphs are getting longer and longer. So I think most of them are about three and three and a half minutes now. But it’s great because it enables me to talk to people about certain bugs and hopefully a topical one to the time of year when, when the when the pieces broadcast and just explain a little bit more about them and hopefully get people to when they’re going out gardening and they go and look around them. And so think ah, I’ve heard about that on the radio. So it’s not just a little bug that real squash, it’s actually got a very, very interesting life stage. And it is, you know, it’s just making people aware of the fascinating side You know, the wonderful entomology that’s out there for us all to see in our gardens.
Unknown Speaker 32:06
A very big thank you to Ian. I hope this advice has helped you to see the bug bigger picture. I’d like to mention that this episode marks the second birthday of the podcast. If you’re enjoying the show, and you would like to help me celebrate and give a birthday present to Roots and All, please do leave me a rating and review wherever you listen to podcasts. And that would be hugely helpful to me and to other people who are looking for podcasters it will raise the profile of the show. And now I’d like to unveil the new feature of the show bug of the week. Here’s Ian talking about some tiny critters that have just started appearing in my house and on my clothing this week for carpets,
Unknown Speaker 32:41
commonly seen on plants and bushes throughout spring and summer, little blobs of froth that we rather amusingly call cuckoo spit. Unlike the name suggests, though, the blobs of froth don’t come from a cuckoo or in fact the mouth of any other creature that come from the rear end. The length of the group of SAP sucking insects that be called frog hoppers and all froghoppers are no bigger than a quarter of an inch in length, and have pointed heads on tapered bodies that resemble the shape of a frog. They also have powerful back legs propelling themselves into the air, however, 13,000 feet per second to travel 150 times their body lengths in just one hop. This 10 different species of froghoppers Britain, and all apart from one that’s red and black. The adults earthy brown in colour, making the point hard to see when they appear during late summer to mate and lay their overwintering eggs on the plant stems before they die. During spring, the eggs will hatch into little limbs that are usually pale green in colour, but very delicate and vulnerable to predation. Such a project protect themselves, they each create a frothy blob of cookies spit To live within, formed by mixing expelled air into the waste fluids they excrete was feeding. connectivity for coppice can be found on a vast range of plant species throughout the countryside and gardens. But they never invest plants in large enough numbers to cause any significant damage. And if cooking spit is deemed unsightly, a quick squirt from the garden hose will quickly remove it, along with the nymph. However, in recent months, Britain’s 94 coppers have become the focus of attention from the UK plant health authorities. And government funded research is now underway to record a map for locations where native froghoppers can be found in Britain. The purpose of this study is to understand their population dynamics and to be prepared should a bacterial plant disease called Xylella appear in the UK in the future. Sinaloa bacteria can be acquired and transmitted by froghoppers if they feed on an infected plant. This disease has been causing serious problems within Southern Europe and on other continents for quite some time. Some olive groves been particularly affected.
Unknown Speaker 35:19
Xylella has not been recorded in Britain, the
Unknown Speaker 35:23
measures are in place to prevent the importation of certain plants and diseases that might be carrying the disease. And of course, knowing more about the distribution of our native photocopiers should sila ever appear in Britain will be of great value, should we need to prevent it spreading in the future?
Unknown Speaker 35:42
Thanks for that, Ian. Thanks to UT for listening. Let me know what you think about the new segment. And don’t forget, if you’d like to provide feedback and podcasts, please feel free to email me podcast at rootsandall.co.uk. Have a great week. You can download or listen to the podcast direct from the website. www.rootsandall.co.uk where you’ll also find my blog and a sign up form for the newsletter, which gives you a weekly roundup of content. Plus the inside scoop on things like upcoming guests, or you can subscribe wherever you normally get your podcasts. Email me with comments and feedback at podcast at www.rootsandall.co.uk Follow me on Twitter Roots and All Facebook Roots and All uk and Instagram
Unknown Speaker 36:25
Roots and All pod but Please
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also check out my Patreon where you can make a one off donation or take out a monthly subscription to help support my work because if you like what I do, please help me to continue doing it. Even if you make a one off donation of a pound. Trust me it all helps and I will be immensely grateful. So please go to patreon and search for roots
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