6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Dorset Magazine today click here

5 bugs to look out for in Dorset this summer

PUBLISHED: 11:05 18 July 2017

Small cushion starfish (Photo by Julie Hatcher)

Small cushion starfish (Photo by Julie Hatcher)


Sally Welbourn of Dorset Wildlife Trust explains why bugs are the bee’s knees in her world

In this warmer weather you may notice there are more ‘bugs’ flying around in Dorset. Whilst they often are seen as a pest – batting them away from our face when we’re outside, or trying to persuade them out of our houses - bugs are essential to life on earth. Without them, the world’s eco system would collapse.

Bugs, or give them their official title - invertebrates (as they don’t have a spine), make up a great majority of animal life. There are 40,000 species in Britain alone. They are also intriguing: many of them can transform into something else, such as a pupa emerging as a beautiful butterfly, or are masters of engineering creating delicate yet strong structures like a spider’s web.

They are also brilliant pollinators. So next time a bee is circling your picnic, remember that every three mouthfuls of our food depends on pollination taking place. Imagine a world without strawberries, cotton, apples, peanuts, carrots, honey and chocolate? All these products are available to us because a plant was pollinated and could complete its reproductive cycle.

Even the smallest fly in the garden plays an important part in the food chain, allowing our favourite garden birds as well as badgers, frogs and even otters to survive.

So the next time you reach for the swatter or the spray, stop and take a closer look. You might find that pest is actually really rather beautiful, or simply imagine a world without chocolate – surely that’s scarier than a bug!?

5 bugs to spot

1. Glow worms

This is actually a beetle and not a worm, and can be seen in June and July. The females radiate a greeny-orange glow caused by a chemical reaction within the beetle. They are often seen climbing up plant stems to attract a male, who have large photosensitive eyes – perfect for scanning vegetation at night. The larvae and even the eggs can also emit light. The females glow for several hours at a time, but stop glowing once they have mated.

2. Starfish

Maybe not your traditional ‘bug’, but it is an invertebrate, and one to look out for at the seaside this summer. This five armed predator feasts on shellfish including cockles, mussels and barnacles. The small cushion starfish, pictured above, which is not a UK native was first found at Kimmeridge in 2014 and is thought to have appeared on our Dorset shores due to climate change. Starfish can live for up to 10 years.

3. Ladybirds

The voracious 7 spot ladybird will happily feast on aphids (green, black and white fly) which is why gardeners love them. It is also a migratory species, with large numbers flying in from the Continent every spring, boosting our native population. Its bright colours warn predators that they are distasteful, though some birds will still have a go at eating them! Adults hibernate in hollow plant stems and cavities, sometimes clustering together in large numbers.

4. Moths

There are 2,500 species of moth in the UK (compared to 59 butterfly species) and they play a vital part in the food chain as pollinators. Not all moths are drab, some UK moths are positively exotic – such as the magnificent Elephant Hawk Moth pictured above. This large eye-catching moth can be seen from May to July and is mostly active at dusk. Its caterpillars are very easy to spot: greyish green or brown, they have two enormous, blackspot eyes towards the head. When disturbed, they swell up to show these spots and scare-off predators.

5. Bees

There are 24 species of bumblebee in the UK, but sadly their numbers are declining fast. The honey bee is a well-known hive bee: semi-domesticated for thousands of years to produce honey, which is actually regurgitated nectar, for human consumption. The hive is made of wax ‘honeycombs’, each divided into a number of hexagonal cells that are used to rear young or store food such as pollen and honey. The first new queen to emerge may sting other potential queens to death, and will either take the place of her mother, or will create a new colony.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Dorset visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Dorset staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Dorset account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

Yesterday, 15:39

Edward Griffiths takes a fascinating walk through the history of this seaside resort

Read more
Friday, September 22, 2017

We don’t think photos of Dorset can ever get old. Here are 10 of the best shared on Instagram this week…

Read more
Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Helen Stiles seeks out the crème de la crème of deliciously stylish afternoon tea venues in the BH postcode

Read more
Tuesday, September 19, 2017

We round up some of the best events and things to do across Dorset this month

Read more
Tuesday, September 19, 2017

With Durdle Door, Brownsea Island, Jurassic Coast and a whole host of other stunning sights, Dorset is an amazing place for a stroll

Read more
Thursday, September 7, 2017

Situated on the banks of the Stour, this Blackmore Vale market town has successfully reinvented itself whilst maintaining a strong link to the past, writes Andy Greeves

Read more
Thursday, September 7, 2017

This September garden expert Toby Buckland is hosting a new Garden & Harvest Festival at Forde Abbey. He takes us for a turn around their famous gardens

Read more
Monday, September 4, 2017

Dorset is one of the UK’s best destinations for outdoor activities on land, sea or in the air. Visit Dorset reveals some of the more unusual ways of exploring the county

Read more
Thursday, August 31, 2017

From a cliff-top folly to the turbulent past of a castle and its village, Dorset Architectural Heritage Week is a great way to discover more about the county’s historic buildings, as Edward Griffiths discovers

Read more
Thursday, August 31, 2017

From a quirky secret garden to a plant lover’s paradise, these NGS venues offer some glorious late summer displays, and there are some garden masterclasses to inspire too

Read more
Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Helen Stiles experiences the multi-sensory delights of a tasting menu at Seasons at The Eastbury

Read more
Friday, August 25, 2017

From shacks on the beach to fancy dining, Sue Quinn shares her favourite Dorset places where you will find the freshest locally caught fish and shellfish in the country

Read more
Tuesday, August 22, 2017

This challenging coastal walk rewards Edward Griffiths with exhilarating views over Worbarrow Bay. He also visits a ghost village whose residents were evacuated in 1943

Read more
Monday, August 21, 2017

Vanessa Barlow writes about the coastline she calls home in her blog My Jurassic Coast. She talks to fellow Jurassic Coast lovers

Read more
Pure Weddings advert link
South West Life advert link
A+ South & South West
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Topics of Interest

subscription ad
subscription ad

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad
Dorset Magazine Application Link

Local Business Directory

Dorset's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search