Help the Bugs in October

Insects are an important part of any ecosystem. Without them we would not have anything to pollinate our flowers, they provide food for our birds and mammals, they even help keep each other in check. We should be encouraging bugs of all kinds into our gardens.

Frosty Spider Web by Zsuzsanna Bird

Frosty Spider Web by Zsuzsanna Bird

In October pond skaters, whirlygigs and water boatmen can still be seen skating on the pond surface in search of food. They are all wonderful to watch and can be quite mesmerising on a sunny day.

Many butterflies, such as the tortoiseshell and red admirals, are still evident, as are hoverflies and ladybirds. Ladybirds and hoverflies are both fantastic at managing some of those less welcome bugs in the garden, such as greenfly. Hoverflies do not sting even though they look similar to wasps – this is just the scary camouflage they use to deter predators. You can plant marigolds around the vegetable patch to attract hoverflies as pest control.

Take a close look at your ivy at this time of year, you may be lucky enough to spot some holly blue butterfly larvae feeding away on it.

Whilst not many people relish the sight of a wasp, especially around those autumn rasberries, they are a great pest control and do eat many of the grubs which cause problems to a garden. They will still be around even in the last of the autumn sunshine.

As ever a slightly messy garden is always better for wildlife than a pristine over manicured one. Some piles of leaves or nooks and crannies with brash in is far better for your small garden friends than overly neat paving or lawns. Perhaps you can create a small meadow area which only needs to be cut once a year or a small woodland using well behaved trees such as spindle, rowan and crab apple.

7 Spot Ladybird on Fern by Zsuzsanna Bird

7 Spot Ladybird on Fern by Zsuzsanna Bird

Leaving small brash piles, creating piles of logs and twigs are all helpful to the garden bugs, you can plant them up with some woodland plants such as ferns, wood sorrel, wood anenomes and primroses to make them more attractive. Mosses and lichens will also form on them creating a wonderful microhabitat.

Rocks can also be a wonderful habitat where dragonflies can warm up in the autumn sun and where other invertebrates can hide from the brutality of winter.