Insect ID Workshop

Can you spot anything wrong with the book cover shown below? (The answer is below the picture.)


Yes, the insect in question is a fly, not a bee.

In a similar vein, Guardian article about bees published last month was accompanied by a photo of a hoverfly, an error which they later corrected:


Stave Hill Ecological Park, which organises many fantastic events for nature-lovers, recently organised a free Insect ID Workshop – a fun way to learn about insects and avoid embarrassing errors like the ones above.


LSE Bees was represented by yours truly (Sroyon), and former president Amelia Sharman.

The workshop began with an introduction to the ecological park by site manager Rebeka Clark. Grant Smith and Dawn Scarfe of soundCamp played recordings of insect calls and gave tips on how to identify crickets and grasshoppers by sound. The field workshop was led by entomologist Mike Fray. We walked around the beautiful park, capturing insects in specimen jars which Mike then expertly identified (and then of course, we promptly released them back into the wild).

Mike taught us to recognise honeybees, bumblebees, wasps and various other insects including, most interestingly, hoverflies which mimic bees and wasps to deter predators. In our specimen jars we captured and inspected dozens of species of insects including red-tailed bumblebees, mining bees (which nest in underground burrows), leafcutter bees (which are solitary, not social like honeybees), Myathropa florea (a wasp mimic), bush-crickets, grasshoppers, ladybirds and crab spiders (which can change colour for camouflage).

The workshop ended with a BYOF picnic lunch in the park shed.

Meanwhile closer home, hive visits are continuing as usual. The nuc box, now headed by a queen imported from Slovenia, is doing well. We have added an extra tier to the cedar hive (the hive is a natural cedar hue but new tier is white, so the hive now sports a variegated look). Our rooftop garden has suffered a bit in the dry spell, so we watered it well, did a spot of pruning and used some dead lavender for our smoker (best smelling smoke ever!) Lastly and most excitingly, we are preparing for harvesting this summer’s honey this Wednesday (August 24), so we hope to see many of you on the Connaught House roof!

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