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National Insect Week returns in 2022

Trees for insects

Tree insects can be easy to explore, if you know how. Have a look at the wildlife species pages of the Woodland Trust website to learn more about the insects and invertebrates that you can find on trees.

Brightly coloured yellow and black striped Cinnabar moth caterpillar clinging to the stem of a flower

© Lynne Garner

Cinnabar moth caterpillar, Tyria jacobaeae, on Ragwort flowers.

To get started, find a tree that has plenty of leaves. The best equipment for this is a white or pale umbrella, so you can see things easily, and a thick stick or walking stick. Hold the umbrella so that the handle is pointing upwards towards the tree, like a satellite dish. Using your stick, gently tap the branches. Ladybirds, caterpillars and aphids will be knocked off into your umbrella ready for you to look at.

A close up image of a green aphid giving birth to live young

© MedievalRich at the English language Wikipedia

An aphid giving birth to live young

Trees are often teeming with insect life. You only have to look at the number of birds that feed in the trees to know that.

Why not try different species of trees to compare your catches between them? Some insect will only live on certain types of tree. If there are flowers on the trees then make sure you have a look for insects flying from flower to flower, feeding on nectar and pollen. Bees, for example, don’t just collect nectar and pollen from flowers close to the ground, they also like the flowers up high.

Did you know?

Most important food chain link

Every day blue tits and house martins feed their young several times their own body weight in insects.

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